“Some of these young players and I hate to say it, especially boys, all they focus on is soccer. We want to make it clear that soccer provides a pathway to get to where you want to go. It’s not the end-all, be-all. So if you want to go and play professional, but you forget about quality grades and taking the right classes, you might end up being a junior who is not prepared to get into the school of your choice because you weren’t paying attention to academics,” stated Ellis Pierre, Director of Coaching of the Maryland Rush Montgomery, who recently hosted a College Night workshop presented by the EDP Foundation.
Pierre continued, “Some players do not have a realistic idea of what level they can play and it’s our job to help them with that. A University of North Carolina and those types of schools, assuming they have 24 or 28 players on their roster, are looking for the six to seven best players in the country or if you take a look at Florida State, who has a bunch of international players as well, they are taking the best six or seven players in the entire world. Our kids have to know realistically if they fit into that category, does that school fit their profile? And as coaches, we want to make sure that we give them realistic expectations of where they are going to play. I tell the kids all of the time, you are not making a four-year decision. You are making a forty-year decision. This decision, if done right, will stay with you for the rest of your life.”
This EDP Foundation event, hosted by the Rush, provided a program and lecture run by Milton and Peter Gooding.
Milton Gooding said concerning the event, “The EDP Foundation truly enjoyed the College Night evening with Maryland Rush Montgomery . The staff, parents, and players were very accommodating leading to an evening that was rewarding for all involved. Most of our programs are to help raise players' consciousness about what they’re going to do when they graduate and preparations for that. Our emphasis is on higher education whether that be a four-year school, a two-year school, junior college, culinary institute or a trade school. Regardless of their end goal, we want these players to have help and guidance on their journey to higher education. That’s our aim. That’s our goal. We can’t thank the Maryland Rush Montgomery enough for hosting us.”
For Pierre, events hosted by the EDP Foundation are more than just an informative lecture.
He says, “This event is critical, especially for our high school-age kids. We know that the entire recruitment process can be stressful, confusing, and downright tragic for some of these kids because they just do not know where to go. We want our players to have not just a good soccer education, but also make sure they have quality soccer-recruitment education as well. That’s not just about their soccer ability. It’s about educating parents. Educating the players on the process about being recruited, educating them on the difference between looking at a Division I, II or III team and educating them on the difference of what it means to be highly recruited. Maybe there is a player who may be looking for a school above their “paygrade” and the coach likes them but doesn’t love them, so to speak. We want to make sure that players are approaching the recruitment process properly. We want them to know that they don’t need to worry. We’re trying to provide that relief and comfort of information in education seminars like this one.”
The EDP Foundation, which is entering its fourth year, awarded six $2,500 academic scholarships in 2019 and will award six more in 2020. (Read more about EDP Foundation scholarships)
The Foundation's mission is to enable young players to reach their full potential on and off the field, with an emphasis on college or other post-high school educational opportunities by providing a full range of high-quality, soccer-related experiences to empower each player to achieve their goals.
The Maryland Montgomery Rush College Workshop is one of many that the EDP Foundation hosts, to speak with players and parents for life after high school and on their “Pathway to College™.”
Pierre concluded with, “It means a tremendous amount to us, for a company like EDP to reach out and collaborate on an event like this. It demonstrates a consistent level of commitment and dedication to youth soccer by EDP. We have never had a league do anything like this before. It’s not like they did this for 50 clubs, it’s for us. That just shows you the kind of consistent level of dedication and transparency and access that our club feels we have with EDP. If we have a problem, we jump on the phone and make a call or hop on our computer and send an email. I will tell you this right now, in a short period, EDP is sure to get back in touch with us and address our concerns. So, for EDP to come here and send staff here to do something like this just for our club, it means a tremendous amount.”
Learn out more about the EDP Foundation College Nights program at www.edpfoundation.org/collegenights.
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.