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RECRUITING: The Albertson approach
by Bryan Alvarez, January 2nd, 2009 8AM
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The Albertson Fury is one of the most decorated girls teams competing at Disney's Soccer Showcase. The four-time Eastern New York champion has 14 players who have already made verbal commitments to play at NCAA Division I programs next season. Fury manager Michael Bruh and coach Paul Riley give advice on how players and parents should approach college recruiting, a key element to major tournaments such as Disney's Soccer Showcase.

 The Albertson Fury is one of the most decorated girls teams competing at Disney's Soccer Showcase.

The four-time Eastern New York champion has 14 players who have already made verbal commitments to play at NCAA Division I programs next season (see below).

Team manager Michael Bruh has already had two sons go through recruiting process -- Adam was a co-captain at Michigan and Danny just finished his second year at Oneonta State -- and daughter Molly is headed to George Washington.

He says young players and their parents should concentrate on finding the right college first and foremost.

"It's all about the school, not the soccer, not the coach," he says. "You must find the school that matches your child academically: where she/he will thrive, not just survive. I know the truth about college soccer; unlike club soccer, it is not about your kid, this is about the coaches' career, their health-care benefits, their mortgage, their family. Your child is there for four years and runs through their system."

Bruh says players and parents should visit as many colleges as possible to get a feel for their setting (large vs. small, urban vs. suburban).

"Find out how the academic support is. Do the kids use it? How important are academics to the coaching staff? If your kid's going to play professional soccer, it's one thing. But for 99 percent, it is all about what you want to do in life and what school gives you the best opportunity."

Fury coach Paul Riley says players must pick the right tournaments to get exposure from college coaches.

A club coach must have the experience to make sure the academic bases all are covered.

"That's how you become aware of things like the NCAA clearing house," Riley says. "This is how you make sure that kids are eligible to play. You have to make sure that kids have the core classes and graduate from high school. The adviser at the high school can put them through the clearing house."

His other advice is to begin the college process early and begin by looking at local schools.

"Visit 12 schools in your freshmen year, eight in your sophomore year and six in your junior year. Then you can make a decision. Also, if you wait, how are you going to visit 20 schools in your junior year?"

After that, look at the players the programs you are interested in are recruiting.

"It's best to go to school where you fit," Riley says. "If you're a goalkeeper and they just recruited an All-American keeper, that might not be the best school for you."

Riley says college is the end game.

"At the end of the day, it's about getting the kids to college. When a kid comes up and tells you that they made it to Duke, or another big name school, it's a great feeling. I get more teary-eyed over that than winning a state cup."

Jenny Butwin (Yale)
Molly Bruh (George Washington)
Vicki DiMartino (Boston College)
Sam Falk -(Miami)
Brittany Farriella -(Hofstra)
Kathy Gualotuna (deciding among two schools)
Dominica Hodak (Maryland)
Danielle Ippolito -(Loyola)
Dianna Marinaro (South Florida)
Meredith Maguire -(Johns Hopkins)
Carolyn McNamara (Buffalo)
Emily Pape (Binghamton)
Genna Pepe -(Lehigh)
Alexa Purdy -(NYU)
Kim Rose -(Dartmouth)
Jasmyne Spencer -(Maryland)
Kelcey Zacarese -(Drexel)

The Disney experience:

Michael Bruh: "Disney is probably the most organized tournament in the country. At the DWWS, the fields and location are so special. Only Surf Cup is even close to Disney. They run an amazing tournament as well: having every team at one location in San Diego is unique. But there is nothing like the Disney facility anywhere in the U.S."

Paul Riley: "We've been there every year since the tournament started. The club has been there about seven or eight years now. We like to go to the same tournaments. It gives the kids some consistency. Also, it gets them used to playing in front of college coaches. After this tournament, we're going to Las Vegas to play against some of the California teams."

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