photo supplied by FIT
I’m Allie Modica, a senior midfielder playing lacrosse at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida and I will be blogging my experience in lacrosse and collegiate athletics this 2017 season. Just some background, I was a high school All-American, and won four state championships at Vero Beach High School and then went up north to the University of Connecticut and played lacrosse at the Division 1 level my freshman year. After a lot of snow and a tough injury, I came to Florida Tech and found the perfect environment-the beach, an emerging D2 lacrosse team, a coach that believes in me and a school that challenges my academics. Since my time here starting in 2014, I have made huge leaps on the field- SSC Player of the Year, All South First Team Member and Second Team All-American last season. I will be sharing my insights, experiences and provide some advice in this blog series on recruiting, hardships, collegiate athletics and the balance of it all.
This month, five years ago (CRAZY!), I made one of the most important decisions of my life and I was only 17 years old! I committed my life to college lacrosse after the rigorous process of recruiting. From being a quiet, fragile and naïve freshman in 2011 to a year later having to know if I wanted to continue playing in college, it was overwhelming to say the least. Basically I had to decide my future as a high school sophomore…
Recruiting is not a fair process – how are high school juniors, sophomores and now freshmen expected to make the most well informed decision regarding the rest of their lives? If you’re going through a hard time don’t worry, you are not alone! College questionnaires started flooding my email early on and I had no idea what to do. Exciting yes, of course, all young players want to know a college out there wants them, but scary nonetheless. Since that moment, my life changed from carefree and no worries to having to be on the top of my game at every tournament and game I played -that’s a lot of pressure.
So I started making extensive lists on schools I liked, emailed hundreds of coaches, with some minor breakdowns along the way, and had a few interested colleges in the fall of 2012. I visited the University of Connecticut and after meeting everyone and experiencing the environment I loved it and ended the search right there, calling a few weeks later to confirm my commitment. But what players today fail to understand, as did I, is lacrosse is not the only thing in your life. You have to love the school, the people, the coaches and everything that comes with it.
Think to yourself, “If I wasn’t playing lacrosse would I still love it there?”
Everyone knows a player’s ability and lacrosse skills are important for a recruit, but there are other aspects that will make the greatest difference, and allow you to really stand out to the college scouts:
Personality: Coaches are not only recruiting you as a player but as a person, they want to find a kid with a positive attitude that they can work with . . . a kid that can gel with the team and understand that coach’s vision, because each one varies.
Belief in Yourself: At every camp, tournament and practice you have to be confident in your abilities even when you’re not feeling so hot, because everyone’s as nervous as you. Stand out, be loud, take risks and play the game you love and enjoy it! A positive attitude and self-confidence goes a long way and the coaches notice it.
Grades: If you’re going to be on athletic scholarship, you first have to get in to the university! Don’t settle for sports to be the only thing you do in life; it’s weird, but there is life after lacrosse! Keep your grades up so you can succeed at the next academic level.
Research: Compose the ultimate guide for yourself to stay organized, and be persistent in your efforts to get a coach’s attention through emails and phone calls. I remember emailing coaches twice a month just to keep my name out there for them to remember. Do homework on the colleges you are interested in and learn as much as you can!
Exposure: I was a member of two club teams in high school, one local and one on the national level (XTeam) where I could be seen more easily by coaches. I encourage playing in major tournaments and attending camps from the universities you really like to get yourself out there and talents shown. You will also get better playing with and against the best players in the country and the games prepare you for playing with new players in college.
Lastly, TIME is your best friend. Some other person’s recruiting process will look different to yours, don’t put pressure on yourself to make a decision so quickly. Take your time, talk to people (family, coaches, friends, players) and make sure you’re doing what’s best for you. The absolute best player I have ever known started getting recruited her freshman year and waited until her senior year to choose her school, not because she had no offers (she had tons) she wanted to take her time and pick the best fit for her. The paperwork does not have to be signed today, so breathe and remind yourself you have more time to think, make visits, write emails and play.
Although arduous and so time consuming, this process is the first taste of reality a player will experience. Recruiting led me to the most rewarding four years of my life. Technically I was recruited twice, each slightly different, yet both have made me the person I am today. It gave me the experience and opportunity I would redo again any day. Talking to teammates and learning about their experiences, I recognized there is no traditional route. Everyone’s recruitment will be unique, it may not be perfect or the way you expected it to go, but you will find what you’re looking for and end up right where you belong.