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About RichlandsAlum
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    A complicated man, nobody understands me but my woman. Can you dig it?
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    Your imagination
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    Chinese arithmetic
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  1. Getting some personal insight into college recruiting

    Latest update in our experience.... Boy made the varsity team (kind of a big deal -- only one other sophomore was invited to join the roster as a field player). Coach actually gave him a choice of playing another year of JV (getting as much playing time as he could possibly want and serving as team captain) or accepting a spot on the varsity team (with the assumption that he probably would not see a lot of game time this season). Son chose the varsity option mainly because he thinks he can benefit from the more intense training requirements compared to JV. While I still don't harbor any illusions of stardom -- and I'm personally skeptical about his status as a recruiting prospect -- we do realize that several doors of opportunity still remain open to him. If he manages to break into the lineup this year, I guess we will have to get extremely serious about this whole business. And I was in the process of typing that I don't think we're near that point when yet another "personal invitation" to attend a low level Division I "elite level" camp found its way into my email Inbox. With regard to the camp invitation angle.... He has some pretty extensive plans for this summer (a church mission trip and a trip abroad through school) which will basically prevent him from following up on any of the camp invitations. So our game plan is to contact the programs that might interest him and advise them that although he's not available this summer (for spiritual and academic reasons), he'd still like to be considered. If they continue to communicate with us past that point then he'll whittle it down to a few camps that he might actually attend during the summer of 2019. If it seems like we're adding obstacles of our own to the process -- admittedly we are. Some of that is an effort to manage expectations (and minimize potential disappointment down the road). Some of it is testing the guidance and role of the Lord in this whole process (the "if it's meant to be" angle). And some of it is due to the fact that he's like most 15 year old kids in that he doesn't really know what he wants to do next week, let alone the next 4-6 years of his life. And ultimately it is his decision. If all of this is extremely tedious or not very informative, I apologize. Also don't want to come across as bragging about my kid (although I am certainly proud of him and his two younger brothers). But I'm getting a firsthand look at a process that is allowing me to test some of my own theories about athletic recruiting. I still think that recruiters are more influenced by things like physical size than they are by actual "on the field" performance.
  2. Thad Wells Heading to Tarheel State?

    Assuming this is true, that is a pretty good area and school district within the overall Charlotte area (just my opinion). If we hadn't chosen to move back to Virginia, there's a pretty good chance that my wife and I would have wound up there. Perhaps the best endorsement I can give it is that our first dog (who was a fantastic little hound) was a Mooresville native. Bought him from the former MHS principal who happened to live right behind the school complex.
  3. Getting some personal insight into college recruiting

    Just stumbled upon it this morning, so I haven't really given much thought to the methodology behind it. I'd be curious to know how they define "actively recruited." I'm assuming that it relates to the states of origin for actual Division I athletes which is then processed against the total number of high school participants in each state -- but that's not obvious. As things stand now, my son has legitimate invitations from over two dozen Division I soccer programs (and that list is growing). Frankly, I'm not smart (or experienced) enough to know if that means he is being "actively recruited."
  4. Getting some personal insight into college recruiting

    I swiped this link from another message board: https://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/2017RES_RecruitMaps-Final-20170613.pdf Doesn't really play directly into my personal situation (beyond the fact that Virginia is one of the more active states for producing Division I talent in soccer), but I thought it was kind of interesting.
  5. Favorite area places to play/see a game, past and present.

    Handley High was set up and developed back in 1922 with a beginning endowment of $1.2 million from the estate of its namesake. Pretty good piece of scratch if you can get it. (Although there is some debate that this provided justification for lower relative funding from public sources and subsequent disparities among localities in Virginia.) Family friends of ours had a son who attended and graduated from Handley -- very impressive programs all around. The nature of the campus (e.g. the lack of overhead lighting and the apparent tight design standards) is probably directly related to the culture of the institution, which is certainly unique.
  6. What is going on with Richlands

    This thread (and the ongoing discussion in "Richlands @ Graham" elsewhere) reminds me of an old radio commercial from WRFX in Charlotte. Something along the lines of, "The competition says we suck. We'd just like to thank them for listening."
  7. Getting some personal insight into college recruiting

    Latest installment in our experience... a report from the "college showcase" event which was held this past weekend. Starting with my son's performance (based on my opinion, but trying to be objective). He didn't stand out or really do anything to distinguish himself, but he also didn't make any mistakes. Played pretty solidly and consistently. Made some good plays -- but nothing at "wow factor" level. He was the only sophomore playing a field position for his team. Another kid in his class plays goal keeper -- and he is also a solid prospect based primarily on his build and his speed -- so he also participated in the event for our team. I noticed one of his club teammates on another team during the weekend. But this was otherwise geared exclusively toward upperclassmen (and particularly seniors). So although he didn't attract any personal contact from any college coaches who might have been there (and more about that in just a moment), it was a good experience for him and it did confirm that he can hang with the older guys and at a higher level of competition. I'm not really sure how valuable this event was relative to the manner in which it was billed and promoted. The weather was brutal (high in the low 20s both days with considerable wind chill). Based on the forecast, a lot of registered teams bailed out and I can only assume that some of the coaches and scouts who had planned to attend may have changed their plans as well. And even that last point was compromised a bit, as the final list of programs scheduled to be there were all Division III schools with the exception of Liberty University and a community college in North Carolina. LU's presence was a bit of a one-off -- if they had staff there, it was probably only because the event itself was in Lynchburg. Overall, I don't think the event did much to advance the interests of kids who are serious about playing college soccer (and this event provided effectively no access to play for scholarship programs). But since I don't have anything else to compare it to, I don't want to judge it too harshly. And I'm positive that the weather turned some colleges away that might have turned up otherwise (and who may have been there previously). Team-wise, I thought it was really beneficial for our high school program. Our high school team approached it as a tournament against serious and dedicated players, and they performed really well. We lost a match against a very talented travel team from Northern Virginia and came away with two wins in our other matches (against a local travel team and a pretty good prep school team). The guys played really well together and seem to have some good chemistry heading into the spring VHSL season. Coach remarked that we may take our licks this year during the regular season (the level of competition for soccer in the Seminole District is very similar to that in football), but we could be poised to do very well in the postseason at the 3A level. And the future is looking very bright overall. Back to our personal-level perception and experience, it was a confidence booster for my son. The fact that he stepped in and played well without any obvious jitters or breakdowns as a sophomore leads our varsity coach to think that he'll only get better in this type of setting. And in terms of the nitty-gritty of the process, schools basically indicate interest by inviting players to their individual program camps. Boy already has invitations in hand from programs beyond the level of those who were present this past weekend -- but we confirmed for certain that it's because of his physical and academic profile. Coach says there's nothing wrong with that -- in fact, it's rare for a kid at my son's age and level to get that kind of attention. So it's a gift -- up to him to decide how he wants to use it. I'm also noticing the dynamics of a couple of other kids in our program. Without saying too much (because I don't think it would be appropriate), I believe that they're both more talented and athletic than my son. But I don't think they are getting the same level of attention simply because of the size and academic angles involved. So I'm gravitating toward an opinion that how hard you work and how talented you are may not be as important as how you're physically constructed when it comes to athletic recruiting. And although my own family stands to benefit from this personally, it bothers me more than a little bit. Only slight shift in my son's plans is that he'd entertain a scholarship offer to play soccer in college if it comes from a school that interests him academically. But he's still planning to make his college choice based almost exclusively on academics. (Which is somewhat ironic given my observation from the previous paragraph.) Probably won't be much more to report until VHSL soccer season rolls around. But I think this past weekend probably gave us a glimpse of what to expect on the pitch this spring.
  8. Getting some personal insight into college recruiting

    Thanks for the kind words. The brutal truth is that I have very little idea about what I'm doing as a dad. But I pray a lot, I have good kids, and my own parents and in-laws (who were/are absolutely brilliant) are available to help us out when we need advice or actual physical assistance. The other thing that I have alluded to but haven't really mentioned outright is that his interest in playing college soccer waxes and wanes. When he first started hearing from colleges, he was understandably excited. When I explained to him that it was primarily because of his size and speed, he was actually offended. I then had to explain to him that those factors at least opened doors for him in a way that most players (including those who may actually be a lot more talented) will never experience. It's all a lot to digest for a 15 year old. We do have a level of comfort based on other factors that we can always draw from in this process. We will have the ability to send him to just about any college he'd like to attend -- will require some sacrifice in certain cases, but we can probably handle it -- and he apparently will be able to choose from some attractive options. And from a spiritual perspective, Jesus is his savior -- so we know that the longest term issues are already well in hand. Ultimately we do give God the glory and credit -- and I must confess my shortcoming for not acknowledging that foremost in this thread from the very beginning.
  9. Getting some personal insight into college recruiting

    New development. Kid just received his PSAT scores. 94th percentile. Soccer just dropped several notches as a factor in his plans for college. Now will be interesting to see how much this factor affects the recruiting angle. I'm assuming that it can only be positive. Once again I thank God for his mother's (apparently) dominant genes.
  10. Getting some personal insight into college recruiting

    The roster of coaches attending the showcase next month is in a constant state of flux. While previous listings indicated otherwise, as of today it says that the three specific coaches we were monitoring will not be present. Still subject to change between now and January 6th. Mainly hoping that at least one of them will show up so we can test the usefulness and value of the communications up to this point. My theory is that if they show up and make some direct contact with my son, then that lends some gravitas to their statements of "We're really interested and want you to join our program." On the other hand, if they show up and we don't get that kind of response, we'll know that it's all just form letters and junk mail (at least for those specific programs). Will provide a report back after the showcase with thoughts about that experience. (And the nature of that report will vary widely depending on which coaches show up.) In the meantime he's playing indoor soccer this winter. My personal estimation is that he's not exactly setting the world on fire or really distinguishing himself in comparison to any other players in that program. But maybe that in itself provides some commentary with regard to the value of performance versus profile.
  11. Getting some personal insight into college recruiting

    Still getting very random pings from small colleges, but now starting to hear from larger ones as well. Just received an invite to an ID camp from an American Athletic Conference school today. Also received interest from a college in England through the recruiting service (which seems an unlikely outcome, but is the kind of rare thing that you just have to check out). Boy is playing in his first "showcase" event next month -- which includes a few coaches who have already been in touch with him. Will be interesting to see what (if any) kind of effort they make to actually contact him as part of that venue. And we aren't tipping them off about his participation -- we want to see if they find him. I'm still thinking that most of the attention he is receiving is simply because he matches a recruiting profile (big, quick, and has good grades). My theory is that if he doesn't get some personal attention from the coaches who have contacted him in connection with the event itself, then that's an early litmus test of how realistic his chances are of playing at the next level. We will also probably get to test the real value of travel ball as it relates to the college recruiting process. Things are a bit up in the air with the club and team for which he has been playing the last four years. He was already planning to try out for another club's elite level team just to see where that might lead. We think his chances of being invited to join are a long shot -- it's an extremely exclusive team that participates in an extremely high level league -- and there would obviously be some serious travel and expenses associated with it, so from a practical sense we're completely fine with the notion that it won't happen. If that doesn't pan out, his best option is probably to "play up" for the older team at his existing club next fall. But there is also a very strong possibility that he could play for a team that competes almost exclusively in tournaments. In our area, most of the better teams are involved in league play (Blue Ridge Soccer League or Skyline Club Soccer League). So one thought is that playing for a "vagabond" club might actually put him at something of a disadvantage in terms of the travel ball part of the recruiting equation. While it's exciting for him and kind of fun for us, I'm approaching this realistically And I'm still sticking with my prediction that he hangs up his competitive cleats and winds up at Tech. I may be off about his major. Some days he likes chemistry better than physics.
  12. Getting some personal insight into college recruiting

    We're still pretty early in the process (obviously, since he's a sophomore). Digested version thus far is like this: 1. Signed up with online recruiting service (offered free through his travel soccer team membership). Started getting pings from random small schools all across the country. 2. Talked with varsity soccer coach for honest assessment of the boy's future in college. Coach says he's definitely got an opportunity to play Division II/III. Division I is a long shot for anyone, but my son will at least get some looks because of his size and speed (which confirmed one of my previous assumptions about the process). Also said that he would make a point to promote my son to colleges. 3. Had honest conversation with the boy about his level of interest. Gave him hypothetical option to consider.... If he had to choose, would he go to Virginia Tech with the knowledge that there is little to no chance that he could play soccer there? Or would he go to on ODAC school primarily because he would have a chance to play? He said that he'd probably choose Tech -- but he at least wants to explore the options available to him. 4. After playing in the tournament last month, he's received some communication from scouts who referenced our team's specific results and who noted particular plays that my son made (it's obvious that they actually had eyes on him). Three of these are from Division I schools (albeit ones in lower tier conferences). In the mean time, the random pings are becoming more focused and a few ODAC schools in particular are really stepping up the email/mailings. We've also gotten a couple of cold calls from coaches. Right now we are at the point where we are evaluating which ID camp invitations to consider for the summer. The current mix contains the 3 or 4 Division III schools that are basically within our area and a couple of Division II schools in North Carolina. My son is also thinking about signing up for Tech's open soccer camp just to see if it leads anywhere. While playing soccer for any ACC school obviously looks like the longest of the long shots, that's the soccer option that is most attractive and which he wants to at least explore. But on that last note, he's also understandably intrigued by the interest of the Division I schools that have actually reached out to him. My prediction right now is that he will enjoy playing soccer through high school, but will ultimately give up playing to go to Virginia Tech and major in physics. But he's already a certified game official and he's helping to coach some of the youngest players in our club and our local Rec association, so I've told him that he can continue to have a future with the sport in either of those roles if he wants one. (Although, to be somewhat ironic, his coaching and officiating experience also stand out on his recruiting profile and probably enhance his attractiveness on paper.)
  13. My oldest son (a high school sophomore) is starting to get some attention from college soccer recruiters. I think it's mainly because he looks good on paper -- he's 6'3", he's relatively fast, and he makes really good grades (takes after his mother, thank God). But communications have picked up quite a bit since his travel team played in a tournament last month that was billed as being a magnet for scouts. The Division II and III levels are a definite option, but he's also attracted attention from some lower tier Division I schools. Sorry to brag about my kid, but I'm posting this with the thought that I can share some of what we experience in this process (which is new to me) and I'd also be interested in the opinions and guidance of folks who have been through it themselves.
  14. Local College Thread

    Not complicated at all. The wrong hiring choice in 2013 is biting them.
  15. It appears that at least one of the beneficiaries of the original mistake this weekend (let's call them "Team A") was quick to bring the error to the attention of the VHSL -- primarily because they had no desire to participate in the playoffs. Seriously. When notified that they were scheduled to receive the 8th seed in the region (despite the fact that they won fewer than 3 games), they made a point to protest immediately. The team that "benefited" from the correction (we'll call them "Team B") is now heading into the playoffs knowing full well that they don't really have any business competing at this level and that they are likely to get blasted by the #1 seed (which already happened during the regular season). You can't make this stuff up.
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