TSS Showcases Talent to College Recruiters
- Created: Tuesday, 13 January 2009 11:15
The snow did not deter a number of colleges from traveling to Vancouver from as far away as Texas to attend the 1st Annual TSS College Showcase. US schools such as Rutgers University in New Jersey, George Mason University in Virginia, Oregon State in Portland, and others spent the weekend watching 32 talented girls play soccer in the hopes of finding future players. The event was not exclusive to US schools as the players also enjoyed the watchful eyes of UBC, Uvic, Langara College, Concordia, Qwest University, and Douglas College.
"This was a first for us at TSS," said Brendan Quarry, the academy's Assistant Director of Girls Programming. "It all started from a phone call really. One of our staff coaches, Craig Smith, happens to coach the Ottawa Fury in the W-League. While speaking to a US college coach, he said there was some real talent at the academy and they should come up for a visit. Once they agreed, we thought 'hey, let's invite some other players as well'. Before long, we realized we had a unique opportunity to gather together a strong group of players and showcase them to schools."
The weekend began with a 2 hour training session at the Sportstown indoor soccer facility in Richmond, BC. 32 players were invited from ages 15-17. Players were invited from the academy's top training group as well as those from outside the academy, including provincial players, NTC players, Super Y players, and others.
"We really wanted to invite a variety of talent," continued Quarry. "At TSS, we feel there are many good players out there, some of whom have not received much exposure. This event helps players from all backgrounds to play at the college level."
After the Friday training session, various Canadian schools spoke to the players as a group, providing information on their soccer program. Players then had the opportunity to attend a college recruitment seminar presented by girlsCan, an organization spearheaded by Ciara McCormack, a successfull Canadian player who played in the NCAA for Yale University and now plays professionally in Norway.
With the weather wreaking havoc across the Lower Mainland, TSS was fortunate enough to find a turf field clear of snow. The 32 select players were divided into 2 teams as they played a full 11 a-side match on both Saturday and Sunday night. Meanwhile, college recruiters stood under tents, leafing through player profiles as they watched the players compete. The cold weather, however, did not stop the players from playing a high tempo match, nor did it seem to dampen the recruiters' enthusiasm for the event.
"This was a great showcase event," said Diane Drake, Head Coach of George Mason University in Virginia, a division 1 school. "As you can imagine, we attend quite a few recruitment events every year. The TSS Showcase is now officially part of our circuit. The standard of players was impressive, the event was very well organized, and the indoor facility was terrific. We'll be back next year."
With the success of the showcase, TSS is already talking about plans for next year's event. They hope to broaden the number of schools invited, as well as the type of schools.
"Securing a full-ride scholarship to a division 1 US college gets a lot of attention. And while there are definitely those who can end up playing in that environment, it is certainly not the only opportunity to play at the college level, " Quarry explained. "There are many opportunities to play for different types of schools whether they're Canadian Universities, Community Colleges, division 2 or division 3 US colleges. We want to reach out to a broad section of schools so the majority of these talented players have the chance to play at the college level."
View photos from the showcase.