International Athletes Changing the face of College Sports

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How International Athletes are changing the face of College Sports:

Over the past decade the number of international athletes playing college sports in the United States has tripled to well over 11,000. In many sports, most notably tennis and soccer, international players can swing the balance of power and even change the way the game is played. One of the earliest and most memorable international players was the University of Houston’s Hakeem Olajuwon. He grew up playing soccer in Nigeria, came to America and led the Cougars to three basketball Final Fours, before going on to a stellar NBA career. It is especially important for international athletes to understand the rules and regulations of playing in America. Of the 490 incoming athletes penalized for amateurism violations in 2009, 434 were foreign students.

Football is even getting in on the act. LSU and Alabama played for the BCS National Championship in 2012, each had a prominent player from overseas. Florida State star defensive end Bjoern Werner is from Germany. Last season players from England and Switzerland are expected to compete at both starting offensive tackle spots for the Seminoles. FSU football coach Jimbo Fisher says “foreign players are often more mature,” meaning they are ready to play sooner.

There is some controversy, however, associated with the influx of foreign athletes. Some coaches believe it makes for an uneven playing field, forcing them to recruit foreign athletes to compete. Baylor, for instance, won the Big 12 women’s tennis title without a single American player on the roster. Is this depriving American athletes of opportunity or raising the level of competition? The same arguments have been made in other sports, especially soccer, where nationally-ranked programs like UCSB have had key players from Germany and other countries. Proponents of the flood of foreigners into college soccer say it has made the game better, with more technical and accomplished players.

If you’re a foreign-born athlete who wants to play college sports in the United States the issues that face American athletes are the same ones in play for you. The process doesn’t have to be a mystery. It still comes down to understanding the academic requirements and getting exposure, most often through a great highlight tape. 1 Dream Sports provides both collegiate eligibility requirements, as well as the exposure college coaches are looking to help you earn an athletic scholarship and compete at the next level. If this is your 1 Dream, Live It.

 

International Athletes Interested in Attending College in the U.S.

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International Athletes:

It’s crucial for international students to know and understand the different requirements needed to attend college in the U.S. For non-native English speakers, this includes taking the TOEFL exam. The TOEFL is an English-language test that students and athletes must take if they plan on going to college in the United States.

Colleges and universities across the country use the TOEFL for their international student admissions. The TOEFL is a cumulative exam of four language skills: writing, reading, listening, and speaking. English comprehension is the key to academic success in the United States, so the test is designed to test the level in which international students can read and understand English. The TOEFL test is available in both paper and internet-based versions, in countries all over the world. It usually costs $160-250 US and is offered dozens of times throughout the year.

As an athlete, the NCAA and NAIA do not require the TOEFL as part of the submitted scores in order to be eligible. But, in addition to the TOEFL (that is required by colleges and universities), you will still need to take the SAT or ACT exam, which is required to compete at the NCAA and NAIA levels. The TOEFL does not take place of either the SAT or ACT so it is crucial that you plan on taking the TOEFL as well. You will need it to be admitted to any school that you want to compete for.

International athletes also have to acquire an F-1 Visa and SEVIS Form I-20, which can affect their ability to earn an athletic scholarship. International student-athletes who get an athletic scholarship should know that if the amount of the scholarship is less than the amount needed for the I-20, students will need to supply extra forms of financial aid. The cost to attend college in the U.S. is very expensive so international athletes need prepare to contribute financially even with an athletic scholarship, or if you lose the scholarship.

Contact College Coaches First: College coaches here in the U.S. will not find you on their own. Since you do not live here in the States, they do not have the same access to your competitions as they would with domestic athletes. That means you have to work twice as hard to get their attention. Start looking at the various colleges in the U.S. and send coaches your information. It’s the best way to gain exposure from other countries!

Use Video: Video becomes exponentially more crucial for international athletes. Most U.S. college coaches do not have the budget to come watch you compete internationally and most of the time you can’t afford numerous trips to the states. So a good highlight video and game footage are very important for international athletes to gain interest from college coaches. Make sure your video will get their attention!

Do Your Research: Coming to the U.S. for college is a lengthy and complicated process for international athletes. It is also very expensive. If you and your family do not have the means to afford at least part of the cost of attending college here, it may not happen for you. Partial scholarships can help, but unless you are an international elite athlete, it is unlikely you will earn a full scholarship. Be prepared to do your research to help find any opportunity you can.

Follow the blog to stay tune for more high school recruiting information, covering all sports both male and females. Registration to 1 Dream website opens in June, athletes will have the opportunity to create an on-line athlete profile which will serve as their player website. Users will have ability to update; video, stats, schedules, recommendations and other key features that will draw college coaches attention. If this is your 1 Dream, Live It

 

http://www.1DreamSports.com (Preview)

http://www.HoopDreamsBasketball.net

 

Breaking Down Campus Visits

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Visiting a campus can be a make-it or break-it point when trying to make a decision on a particular university. There are several ways to visit a campus: camps, unofficial visits and official visits. We will explore the importance of each and the different aspects of a visit that you should focus on. Camps put on by athletic departments and universities are a great way to build a personal relationship with a coach early in the recruiting season. After you’ve done the research needed to know what schools you’re interested in find out if they offer a camp in your sport. These camps are run by coaches and current members of the team.

 

Attending these camps allows coaches to get a first-hand look at your skills and work ethic. They also get to know you as a person so they can determine how you would fit into their program. You can send a coach as many tapes and stats as you want, but allowing them to see you in person for a week is the most valuable piece of recruiting you can do. Camps are a great way to spend a week on campus getting to know the area, staying in their dorms, and getting to know the coaches on the team. Not only is a coach getting to know you better, but you are really taking the school for a test drive as well. As you determine which schools you’re interested in you’ll want to visit the campus before you put it on your final list. An unofficial visit is a visit that you take on your own and pay for. Unofficial visits can be taken at any time and you’re allowed to take as many unofficial visits as you like.

 

Unofficial visits are a great way to explore a school on your own timeline and creating your own agenda. If you’re being offered an official visit it means that a school is very interested in you. This is a great opportunity to see a school and meet a team through the athletic department. Be careful that you choose your visits wisely–you get 5 and only 5. You’ll want to make sure that your visits are used toward schools that you are strongly considering and not for schools that you just want to visit.On an official visit the school will pay for the visit by providing or reimbursing you for transportation, meals, lodging and entertainment (within reason). This is a great way to judge the priorities of the school by seeing what they choose to show you during your visit. The visits can only be 48 hours so it can be a very jammed-packed trip. NCAA Division I & II programs can only offer official visits. Until next time 1 Dream, Live It.

Questions To Determine If Prospects Interested In Your Program

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After speaking with several respected D1 coaches I’ve found that asking great questions, and getting a prospect to open up about truthful & useful information – is one of the foundational keys to being successful as a college coach.

 Ask your prospect a question that assumes something negative.

Here’s an example:  Let’s say you’re in a situation where you’re recruiting a prospect from two states away, and you’re competing with a program that’s closer to their home. Your prospect just isn’t giving you any insight into what they’re thinking.  

 Ask your prospect, “My assistant coach and I were talking over the weekend, and we’re kind of thinking that you’re probably going to end up at (name the school that’s close to them) because it’s closer to home.”

 

Now the ball is in their court, and when you think about it, there are only a few possible reactions that they can give you (and by the way, I’d recommend asking this over the phone or in an active email or text message conversation that you’re having):

 

  1. They will disagree immediately with you. “No, coach, that’s not a big factor. That’s not really important to me at all, actually. What’s it’s really coming down to is…”

 

  1. They will reluctantly agree with you.  “Yeah, I think that’s the way we’re leaning coach…I just didn’t know how to tell you, but since you brought it up I think I am going to stay closer to home.”

 

  1. Or, they will not really say anything in response. In which case, you can take that as a bad sign because if it wasn’t true, they will usually want to jump in and correct you.

 

The goal of asking this type of question is to jump-start a serious conversation that moves the process forward. You want to be dealing in reality with each one of your prospects and this technique is a great way to generate honest feedback. Good luck to you and your staff during this competitive recruiting season.

1 Dream,

Live It

Muammar Gaddafi’s Point Guard

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US basketball player Alex Owumi signed a contract to play for a team in Benghazi, Libya, in 2010; he had no idea that his employer was the the most feared man in the country. Nor did he guess the country was about to be descend into war. Visit the article at http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-25933297.

“I don’t regret going to Libya. In life, just like in basketball, you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to make bad plays. But God has a plan for everybody – you could go left, you could go right, you’re going to end up on his path at the end of the day.”

1 Dream,
Live It

Targeting Your Best-Fit Colleges

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Almost every high school athlete thinks about what schools will want them to attend their collegiate institutions. But there’s another question that’s just as important: what schools do you wish to attend? The “Best” schools, with the biggest names and the most storied athletic programs aren’t for everyone. Here’s a checklist of the most important things to consider when targeting collegiate institutions:

Location

What part of the country are you interested in and how much does temperature matter? Where would you feel safe? Do you want to stay close to home, get as far away as you can, or are you flexible? Environment: do you want to be in the heart of the city, at a school like Michigan or USC? Out in the country, at a place like Washington? In the suburbs, classic college towns like Gainesville, Huntsville or Lafayette? Be aware that you may feel differently after a year or two than you do today, you might adjust quickly to a new place, or decide you wish you’d made the jump and left your hometown. Try to keep an open mind.

Academics

Sports are a big part of an athlete’s college experience, but that’s not the only part. Ultimately, college is a place to get an education and academics are a crucial consideration. Look into whether a college has a strong program in your 1st choice are of study. It may even be worth your time to take a look at other programs you’re interested in, in case you change your mind. Most importantly, ask yourself about any potential school: do you feel like you could succeed there?
There are a few schools that are athletic and academic powerhouses – Stanford, for example – but there are also a lot of academically elite schools where athletics are a ticket in the door. On the other hand, there are some big athletic schools where the academics are weak. Remember: your degree will be with you for the rest of your life.

Athletics

How do you want your college athletic experience to be? Is it a way to pay for college, make friends and build character, or do you hope to go pro? Does the division level matter to you  (DI, II, or III; NAIA; NJCAA), and is the division you are targeting realistic for your athletic and academic qualifications? Would you stay if the coach left (this can happen – don’t choose a school for the coach.

Playing Time

The more competitive your school, the less playing time you are likely to get early on. Unless you’re one of the top 0.1% of recruits, you probably won’t start your first year as a football player at Alabama, a basketball player at Duke, or a softball player at Arizona State. You may never get a chance to start at all. Which is more important to you – playing time or being part of a top-tier program?

Size

Are you looking for a small, tight-knit group at a small college, or a massive student body like you’d find at a Big Ten or SEC school? Big schools can be intimidating at first but provide a chance to do a lot of exploring; small schools tend to foster a strong sense of community. Consider whether you would prefer big lecture halls or small seminars. Size has nothing to do with how good the school is – great schools come in all sizes.

So now that you know all the above – what are the schools that fit what you’re looking for? Good Luck!!!

1 Dream,
Live It

NCAA Recruiting Terminology

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Before you start the recruiting process it’s a good idea to review some of the recruiting terminology. As you start getting information from colleges you will need to know why coaches can and cannot do certain things. The NCAA has rules in place that limit a college recruiter’s exposure to high school athletes. Knowing what these terms mean will help you understand the recruiting process. For more information visit the NCAA.

CONTACT:
A contact is classified as a face-to-face encounter between a college coach and the student athlete (or their legal guardians or relatives) where more than a greeting occurs. Anything beyond a hello is considered a contact. Another form of contact occurs when a college coach has any contact with you or your legal guardians at your high school, or any other location where you are competing or practicing.

CONTACT PERIOD:

College coaches are allowed to have in-person contact with you or your legal guardians. This period means coaches can watch you compete anywhere, and the coach can write and make telephone calls.

DEAD PERIOD:

The college coach cannot make in-person contact with you or your legal guardians. This prevents the coach from making any evaluations of you whatsoever. However, the coach can make telephone calls to you or your legal guardians.

EVALUATION:
This is the process where a coach watches you compete in a game or practice, and makes note on your athletic abilities.

EVALUATION PERIOD:
It is permissible for the college coach to evaluate your playing abilities at your high school or any other place where you are competing. During this period the coach cannot have off campus in-person contact with you or your legal guardians. The coach can still make telephone calls to you or your legal guardians, and you are allowed to make campus visits during this period.

OFFICIAL VISIT:
Any visit to a college that is paid for by that university. You and/or your legal guardians will have your transportation to and from the college paid for. Also paid for by the college will be your room, meals (three per day), and entertainment expenses. Generally you will receive three free passes to that college’s home game the weekend you are in town.

QUIET PERIOD:
During this time a college coach cannot watch you compete at any location. It is allowed for the college coach to make in-person contact with you or your legal guardians if it occurs on the coach’s campus. The coach can still make telephone calls to you or your legal guardians, and you can make visits to college campuses during this time.

TELEPHONE CALL:
An electronically transmitted voice exchange is considered a phone call. That includes videoconferencing and videophones. Emails and faxes are not considered a phone call.

UNOFFICIAL VISIT:
Anytime you or your legal guardians visit a college campus that is funded by you. You can take as many unofficial visits as you would like. During dead periods you cannot speak to any of the coaches while visiting the campus. Three free tickets to a home game is the only thing a coach can give you during an unofficial visit.

Early signing have already begin February 5 for the following sports; football, field hockey, soccer, track & field/cross country. Basketball and all other sports early signing starts on April 16. Athletes and parents use this time to educate yourselves on the recruiting process, as your student athlete prepares to make one of the most important decisions of their lives when choosing a college. If this your 1 Dream, Live It!

Utilizing Your Resources

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I would like to give the high-school athletes and others whom may find this information useful, a personal experience and lesson I’ve learned being a collegiate athlete. You should develop good relationships with your trainers, strength & conditioning coaches, assistant coaches, advisors, instructors, of course alongside of your head coach. Not only should you just develop those relationships but utilize their resources as well. In college will be some of you guys closest times, some will follow the same career path, while many others will go their separate ways. What I later found out was that the necessary things needed to succeed on the professional level, was right around me and available on the college level as well. You should take advantage of your staff, utilize your trainers for development, stay well conditioned, get your high-school coaches reaching out to college scouts, recruiters, college coaches, schools he may have good connections with.

Your trainers & strength coaches has direct contact and communication with your head coach, what you do on the high school level will get out to college recruiters and institutions. Take advantage of your advisors, ask about placement for summer internships for chosen profession, gain working experience that is needed and most of the time requested by employers while your still in college. Look into job opportunities that you would probably consider if you weren’t playing sports. Use sports as a marketing tool to get where you want to go, in the end that’s what your being used to do. Coaches are looking for players that are going to be an asset to their program and institution. That’s why it is important to handle yourself accordingly on and off the court, you don’t just represent your self once you commit or sign to a university. Now you represent you, your family, your school, and their brand; and when your actions affect the team or institution on or off the court in a negative or positive way, it is a reflection of their brand. Be on your best performance; handle yourself as a professional, meet as many people as you can, get involved in organizations, plan for the future. You don’t have to wait to be great, be ready and prepared now. Use the people around you and they will help get you where you need to be.  To Dream, To Do, To Trust!

1 Dream,

Live It

SAT Changes Starting 2016

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Many students and parents are confused about which test should be taken to apply for colleges, let alone the changes made to them. First, I want to just give a brief description on the difference between the SAT & ACT test. The ACT is an achievement test that measures what a student has learned in school. The SAT is more of an aptitude test, testing reasoning and verbal abilities. Now let’s discuss some of the changes that have been made to the SAT and ill share which test I believe is better for the students based on my experience. I will list the four important changes below: It’s important not to spend your time worrying about how colleges will view your performance, you should work on improving your performance on the test regardless of your old score or test.

Here are the four big changes on the “SAT:”

1. The Writing Section

The biggest change on the new SAT, is the addition of an entirely new scored section on the test that covers grammar and English sentence construction. This section is titled the “Writing” section; you will receive a separate score for your performance in writing. It is scored on an 800-point scale and includes an objective component as well as a short writing assessment known as the “Essay Section.” In the past, SAT writing was a separate subject test structured very similarly to the current writing section. Now that the subject test has been integrated into SAT Reasoning, colleges will look to the Writing section to determine a student’s skill with the English language.

2. Length

The SAT has become something of a marathon, and many students complain about “brain strain” after such a long test. The only way you can prepare for the length of the test is by practicing under the timing conditions that you will experience on test days. Most studies show that practice testing is the single most important factor in SAT preparation, you certainly do not want to be among the people who are not prepared! So, the best advice I can give you about handling the long time of testing is to practice for it.

3. Harder Math Section

The College Board decided that the math section on the SAT was a bit too easy as many students were scoring perfect scores, leading to test grade inflation. In turn, the College Board decided to make the SAT Mathematics section slightly harder, including topics from Algebra II and geometry. However, the changes were very minor, and actually, unlikely to severely affect the majority of students taking the test. Still, you should be familiar with topics up to Algebra II including factoring, simplification, and solving for roots of quadratics.

4. No More Analogies!

One of the big changes you should be pleased with is the decision to remove analogies from the SAT Critical Reading section. Analogies were questions that tested you both on your knowledge of vocabulary and your ability to logically compare the meanings of words. The College Board has replaced the analogies with sentence completion questions. Sentence Completion questions test a student’s knowledge of vocabulary in context, which is considered more appropriate of a student’s knowledge.

Finally, the difference in how they score the SAT & ACT I believe shows why more students rather take the ACT vs SAT. The SAT has a correction for guessing. That is, they take off for wrong answers. The ACT is scored based on the number of correct answers, with no penalty for guessing. Based on my experience, students have a higher success taking the ACT rather than SAT; the changes included in this document goes into affect in 2016.

1Dream,

Live It

Your High School Coach’s Role

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As a prospective student athlete aspiring to play on the collegiate level, one of the problems that many high school athletes face is understanding their coach’s role. Your coach is responsible for taking care of the development on the court or field, but getting an athletic scholarship is ultimately YOUR responsibility. Your athletic ability is what earns you a scholarship, but the recruiting process requires a lot of work off the playing field that your high school or club coach in many cases can’t dedicate the time to. It’s easy for coaches to “help” standout athletes reach the collegiate level because many times those athletes are already on coaches’ radars. The best coaches should not only focus on their athletes receiving a scholarship but also ensure that they have met the academic requirements and qualifications by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

In order to avoid the headaches and frustrations that families experience from placing unrealistic expectations on your high school coach, it is critical to gain clarity on which aspects each party is responsible for. Every high school coach plays a critical role in the recruiting process, even if they lack experience guiding student athletes through it. To better your chances of reaching a college level you must put in the individual work during your off-season. Get involved in a club/aau/travel program, get copies of your game film, create an attractive highlight video & consult with a third party that has experience of the recruiting process.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that communication about the recruiting process between the student athlete and the high school coach is essential. Arranging a meeting with your coach is a great initial step towards opening the lines of communication which will continue throughout the student athlete’s entire career. As long as everyone involved, is on the same page regarding who is responsible for which recruiting requirements, everyone will be comfortable with what needs to get done and make for a more enjoyable experience. Finally, it is not your coach’s responsibility to find you an athletic scholarship, it’s yours. Take the first step.

1Dream,

Live It