College coaches want best talent

Aspiring footballers will get a chance in Cayman next week to show off their skills to prospective US college scouts.

The Cayman Islands Scholastic Football Association in conjunction with the United States’ based Elite Sports, Inc. presents the first Annual 2009 College Football Showcase.

It’s on April 22-26 and is a first in the Cayman Islands. The College Football Showcase, which will involve numerous Under-17 football games and seminars, has been organised to assist the islands’ young student-athletes who are approaching college age, in successfully navigating the United States’ college identification and selection process.

A majority of students and parents believe talented high school student-athletes are actively recruited and offered full sports or academic scholarships by colleges and coaches in the United States. The reality is that only two per cent of these student-athletes are recruited by leading college coaches, leaving the remaining to recruit themselves through self-directed efforts.

Through this special college-recruiting event, prospective student-athletes will have the opportunity to display their athletic talents over a four-day period under the watchful eye of numerous college coaches from the United States.

Through the seminars, players and parents will learn how to develop a personal action plan that meets college academic as well as athletic requirements. In addition, the event will assist players in determining the right college or university offering these scholarships.

Topics covered in the seminars include new admission requirements; availability of financial aid and family contributions; National Collegiate Athletic Association and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics eligibility and what it means; what college coaches look for in student-athletes; how to get noticed and recruited by college coaches; parents’ role and responsibilities; and how to construct a resume and cover letter.

‘This is a great opportunity for college bound students to get noticed by US college coaches,’ said Mark Scotland of CISFA.

‘This is the first time an event such as this is taking place. Performing locally should take some of the pressure off the players, while giving the coaches a first-hand opportunity to meet and talk with the players, their parents and coaches.

‘CISFA is hoping that this event will be well received and become an annual fixture on the sporting calendar. This is a small step in developing the sports tourism product for our country.’

CISFA is a local organization dedicated to improving opportunities for and preparing student-athletes interested in furthering their education through football and academics.

To achieve their goals, CISFA is partnering with Elite Sports, Inc., a sports management company headed by Everton ‘Sarge’ Edwards, former women’s football coach with Florida International University and current coach with the United States’ Women’s Olympic football programme.

In 2006, CISFA organized local youth football camps with a contingent of coaches and personnel from Chelsea Football Club. Since then it has been involved with the annual summer football camps sponsored by LIME and the Ministry of Sports.

Universities and colleges participating in the 2009 College Showcase include Barry University, Flagler College, Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, Rollins College and Stetson University from Florida; King College from Tennessee; Thomas University from Georgia, University of Portland from Oregon; and Williams College from Massachusetts.

It’s possible to follow in the footsteps of some notable Caymanian footballers such as Lee and Anthony Ramoon, Ariel Tatum and Tevon Levein who, through their phenomenal athletic talent and academic prowess, gained scholarships from various NCAA and NAIA institutions and earned their Bachelor degrees. It is by no means an easy road, but one that is certainly within reach for Caymanian youngsters.

For further information on the CISFA’s inaugural 2009 College Football Showcase, please contact Mark Scotland at 916-2625 or via e-mail at mark-[email protected].

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