For those players looking to play soccer at the next level, the GSI Tournament in Overland Park, Kansas, is one of the best in the Midwest. According to the GSI College Showcase webpage, more than 600 collegiate coaches from Divisions I, II, III, NAIA, and NJCAA were invited to scout players with 200+ College Coaches in attendance this year. It was certainly a great opportunity to get seen by coaches from around the region.
For players who have chosen to not play beyond youth soccer, or for those who are still undecided, the tournament still offered something special: premier competition from all around the Midwest, world-class facilities with pristine turf fields, and another great chance to get out and play soccer with friends outside in November.
As for the team’s performance this weekend, the teams represented TC well against the best regional teams. Combined, TC had 3 wins on the weekend and 6 losses. But in showcases, there are no championships. Just three games to show off their skills and hard work in front of prospective college coaches—the scores don’t matter so much as how individuals played the game.
Some TC players were approached after games by college coaches. Other college coaches talked with our TC coaches about players. It’s possible that some TC players will be emailed in the near future. Other players might be scribbled into recruiting notebooks—players to keep an eye on in the future or, even better, to call when their recruiting rules allow them to.
To play college soccer. It’s a question that our youngest players, and their parents for that matter, aren’t likely thinking about. Right now, soccer is just a good way to have fun, stay active, and make new friends. But here at Tri-City, the end goal of the Select Program is preparing our players for college soccer and beyond.
If you’re reading this and thinking, “Gosh, I’m not looking for something that serious for my child,” don’t worry. Fun and enjoyment are integrated at all ages—it’s why they are playing. Most kid’s drop out because the sport is no longer fun. But as players get older, some start to find enjoyment in taking their game more seriously. As such, we are committed to developing our players so that they are prepared for that next level, if they should want to play. And if a player’s goal is to be a great club or high school player, the curriculum certainly supports that too.
Let us explain. The Select program is designed from the top down. We asked first, what are college coaches looking for out of a senior player in high school (U18)? Then we work backwards: what do we need to focus on at U16 to get our players to that desired level at U18? What do we need to do at U14 to achieve those U16 goals? U12 to get to U14? So on and so forth. Knowing the end-goal for our U18 youth players provides us with a structure for what to teach our U9 players.
This structure is the backbone to our long-term player development curriculum. The development of the player is the primary concern. Focus is on providing an age appropriate soccer education with logical progressions throughout a player’s youth soccer career. Part of that preparation is giving players opportunities to get seen by college coaches when they reach the older ages.
Several of TC’s last class of players went on to play in college. Some stayed locally to play at Concordia. Others went further to play at the University of Minnesota Crookston, University of Jamestown, and Hannibal LaGrange University, among others. Some of our current TC players have already committed to NDSU, Concordia, and Jamestown and more should soon follow.
Until then, our players will keep working hard and improving their skills—preparing for their next game or tournament or showcase. We’re proud of our teams and how they continue to represent our club so well at tournaments. Keep up the good work and, as always, Go Storm!