Simplifying the college leap

About 27 years ago Charlie Adams was in a similar boat to many youth in Cayman.

He was looking to take his passion for sports, in particular basketball and football, to the college ranks.

Like many young people he made the mistake of thinking he could sit back and do nothing while coaches came after him and as a result a college sports career passed him by.

‘I was a high school basketball and soccer player. One of my regrets in life is that I did not play college sports,’ the 47 year-old Mississippi native said.

‘My family and I had no guidance. We didn’t know how to go about the process.’

Fast forward to today and Adams is on a mission to ensure a similar story is not written for young athletes worldwide.

Adams is the Senior National Educational Speaker for the National Collegiate Scouting Association.

He was in Cayman recently hosting a sports seminar entitled ‘College Recruiting Simplified.’

The seminar, hosted by the Department of Sports, served to educate young athletes and their families on the key tips to American college recruiting.

For the most part the seminar was a success as some 100 people showed up and many of Cayman’s promising sports talents listened to Adams.

In Adams’ eye it’s all about making sure young people and their parents know their options and get significant help paying for tertiary education.

‘I do this because it can change lives. I have seen the scouting association connect college coaches to good kids and educations become paid for, or at least a lot of it paid for.

‘One mother sent me a note one time saying the association had been a godsend for their daughter, who is now getting $20,000 a year to play at a college in Illinois. Before, she probably wouldn’t have even gone to college.

‘It is a passion of mine. I do it because there is a need for it. Families need to be educated and inspired.’

For Adams that passion for helping young people in their road to college got its roots in his background as a sports broadcaster.

Even though Adams earned a degree in Education from the University of Mississippi sports was always his first passion.

‘I was a sports anchor at TV stations across the US where I saw what a great experience college sports were for athletes at all levels, whether it was division one or a small college.

‘As a sports anchor, I was always intrigued why some young people played college and some did not. I came to find out that many didn’t because they didn’t know how to connect with college coaches.

‘That inspired me to move my career towards helping and educating families on how to go about the recruiting process.

‘I learned about the scouting association, which is based in Chicago and joined their outstanding team of recruiting experts.’

From there Adams, who is based in South Bend, Indiana (home of the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish), would travel across the US looking to touch people and change lives.

‘I first started working with families in 2001. A former sports-caster of mine had a company and he asked me to work for them while I was a sports-caster. From there I got onboard with speaking full-time since 2008.

‘I have delivered ‘College Recruiting Simplified’ in such locations as Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Cincinnati, Ohio; Nashville, Tennessee; Atlanta, Georgia; Juneau, Alaska, and small places like Akron, Indiana.’

The seminar gave Adams’ his first trip to Cayman and based on the feedback he has received he is eager to return.

‘This was my first trip and I am determined to come back. The people are so genuine, nice and caring.

‘I have talked with Collin Anglin of the Department of Sports and he wants to work it out where I come down more often to do recruiting seminars.’

For Adams his speaking tour is far from over as he has a number of stops before year’s end.

‘Before coming to Cayman I was in Miami. From here I go to Alaska and then I will be speaking primarily near where I live in Indiana in November and December.’

An interesting part of Adams’ story is he lives what he preaches. Son Jack, 16, (eldest of three kids) wants to be a cross country runner.

Adams already has Jack on the recruiting process, garnering interest from a number of college coaches.

Ultimately Adams is eager to see young athletes in Cayman get a leg up in the college recruiting world.

‘If anyone has an athlete that has the physical abilities, the academics, and the commitment to play college sports, an evaluation of them can be done to see where they stand.

‘I also suggest ordering the new book entitled “Athletes Wanted” at athleteswanted.org. In my opinion, it is the best book written on recruiting.’

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