(East Brunswick, NJ; November 22, 2019) The Elite Development Program (EDP Soccer) has expanded its Pathway to College™programming through a series of new partnerships with organizations that both assist high school student-athletes in identifying the colleges and universities that best fit their aspirations in the classroom and on the playing field and, also, connect college soccer coaches with talented youth players.
“EDP’s guiding principles include a good game every week, sensible travel, safe playing environments where respect is shown for all participants and attendees, and emphasizing that youth soccer is a Pathway to College™”, explained Steve Shilling, founder and CEO of EDP. He continued: “EDP’s commitment to players and their parents is to provide to them through Pathway to College™ programming services that facilitate high school student athletes finding the best higher education opportunities for their specific circumstances.”
Alan Shilling, President of EDP, added: “We know that over 70% of youth soccer players will go to college, while only about 5% will play soccer in college. Consequently, EDP continues to develop partnerships to serve both sets of student athletes.”
EDP’s new Pathway to College™ programming includes:
United Soccer Coaches --- EDP is a strategic partner of United Soccer Coaches, the largest soccer coaches’ membership and advocacy association in the world. EDP’s specific focus is as the “Official Supporter of College Coaches, helping United Soccer Coaches in providing digital tools, newsletters, and educational opportunities for college coaches. Since attending college and possibly playing in college are so important to youth soccer players, EDP is investing in supporting college soccer coaches.
SoccerScout --- EDP is partnering with SoccerScout to make available SoccerScout’s industry leading online college matching software to all players, parents, coaches, and clubs participating in EDP leagues and tournaments. SoccerScout uses proprietary algorithms to match high school student athletes with colleges and universities that fit each student athlete’s personal profile. SoccerScout also helps families with financial planning for college as well as facilitating student athletes communicating with college coaches and vice versa.
ScoutingZone --- EDP’s series of college showcases provide opportunities for youth players to demonstrate their abilities in highly competitive games while being scouted by college coaches. ScoutingZone, EDP’s online recruitment software partner, helps college coaches organize their showcase scouting schedules, tag and make notes on prospective college athletes, share that information with other coaches in their program, have real-time access to player and game information, and be in full compliance with NCAA guidelines.
Next Level Video --- EDP’s official video provider of game film and highlight reels for all EDP showcases is Next Level Video. Games for boys’ and girls’ U16-U19 brackets will be filmed in high definition and further enhance recruiting opportunities for college-bound players and team development opportunities for club coaches. College coaches registered and in attendance for EDP showcases will also have access to the footage.
Hudl --- EDP’s official video analysis and exchange solution is Hudl, The choice of over 2,600 DI and professional teams across multiple sports, Hudl takes video of game footage and provides performance analysis of teams and individual athletes. For student athletes interested in competing at the collegiate or even professional levels, Hudl products can provide useful performance related data as the student athlete works to improve their performance and, also, share through video clips their skill level with college coaches.
“These new partnerships supplement and complement EDP’s existing Pathway to College ™ programs, creating value added opportunities for participants in EDP’s leagues and tournaments,” offered Andy Roderick, Director of Business Development for EDP. He continued: “EDP will continue to look for additional ways with additional brand partners to support youth soccer players, their parents, and their clubs in connecting with colleges and universities. EDP believes youth soccer provides a wonderful vehicle for student athletes to grow, develop, and prepare for their future.”
Other elements of EDP’s Pathway to College ™ programming include:
EDP Showcases --- EDP offers four college showcases each year in which top youth teams fielding high school age players compete in front of hundreds of college coaches scouting for prospective student athletes.
US Youth Soccer Conferences managed by EDP --- The top regional competition in the US Youth Soccer developmental system is found in the US Youth Soccer Conferences. In the East Region, EDP manages these conferences, which attract scouting visits by college coaches as well as play in opportunities into the US Youth Soccer National League, which is the highest level of play in the US Youth Soccer developmental system.
EDP informational materials to college coaches --- EDP distributes a variety of informational materials, including league and tournament updates, a newsletter for college coaches, social media, and a college section on its website, intended to feature and highlight youth players competing in EDP leagues and tournaments and inform college coaches scouting for players.
EDP informational materials for youth players and their parents --- www.edpsoccer.com/college has a section devoted to providing information about the college selection, recruiting, and application processes. This section will continue to expand with additional materials being provided by EDP’s new partners referenced above.
In addition, the EDP Foundation, which is funded by EDP, provides initiatives that support EDP’s Pathway to College ™ programming:
Higher Education Scholarships --- In 2019, EDP will award up to six $2,500 scholarships. The Foundation will award scholarships to qualified student athletes that graduate high school and continue their education at a college, university or trade school. The Foundation will select those candidates who – through a written application — demonstrate a commitment and respect to the game, their teammates, coaches, referees and opponents.
College Campus Experiences --- Players get a preview of college by playing an EDP league game at a college field or stadium, experiencing the feel of campus, and even setting-up a campus tour to help them prepare for college life.
College Soccer Opportunities—Sponsoring and funding college combines and showcase tournament feature brackets to increase opportunities for players and college coaches to connect. The EDP Foundation co-sponsored the 2019 EDP College Combine, covering participation fees for all players. The Combine involved 128 players, 64 boys and 64 girls, so each participating player got much more watch time from college coaches than they would at a normal youth tournament.
Player and Parent Education --- At EDP Showcases, the EDP Foundation sponsors educational sessions to explain to players and parents the college recruiting and application processes. Since there are not enough college soccer scholarships available for everyone, the emphasis is on encouraging high school age youth players to focus on doing well in their academics. The EDP Foundation educational sessions enable parents and players to meet college coaches and even international soccer club officials and get advice from them.
College Nights --- Working with one or two clubs at a time, the EDP Foundation will arrange for an in depth look at the college selection and application process, including the athletic recruiting elements, with student athletes, their parents, and their coaches.
Peter Gooding, Chair of the EDP Foundation, explained the Foundation’s interest in assisting the majority of youth soccer players, not only those who will play soccer in college, as follows: "Whenever I speak to youngsters, I make it absolutely clear that I'm not talking about athletic scholarships. I'm talking about a group of colleges or universities that you as a student athlete might like to go to that has academic programs that you are interested in." He continued: "If a player is lucky enough to make the college soccer team, so be it. That’s great! But, more importantly, I'm counseling high school age players to take college seriously and to think about life after college because soccer might not be the main component."
Overall, as evidenced by the new partnerships announced and existing initiatives, EDP continues to expand its Pathway to College ™ programming as an added benefit to all the players, parents, and clubs that participate in EDP leagues and tournaments.
Founded in 1999, Elite Development Program Soccer (EDP) is one of the largest organizers of youth soccer leagues and tournaments in the U.S. EDP operates youth leagues for boys and girls ages 9-19, conducts a Futures program for players ages 7-11, and operates U20/23 men’s and women’s leagues. EDP also runs over 20 tournaments each year. The key emphasis for EDP’s leagues and tournaments is its Pathway to College™ programming which enables soccer players to reach their full potential with an emphasis on attending college. More than 3,500 teams participate in EDP’s leagues and more than 170,000 players compete in EDP tournaments annually. For more information on EDP, visit www.edpsoccer.com.
About EDP Foundation
The mission of the EDP Foundation is to enable young soccer players to reach their full potential on and off the field, with an emphasis on college or educational opportunities, by providing a full range of the highest quality soccer-related experiences. The foundation aims to empower each player by creating connections to help him or her achieve their goals.