Empire Prep Girls’ Soccer Players Look For College Connections

Posted By Press Democrat Staff Writer Michael Coit:

In a North Bay first, college soccer coaches are coming to Santa Rosa to look at some of the region’s top girls prep soccer players for a weekend of workouts and games this month.
The action begins with a so-called college identification camp where coaches run players through training sessions and games at Trione Fields on Jan. 29.
Later that evening, the Empire’s best players — many coming off the camp — meet in an all-star game at Elsie Allen high, the first such contest in several years.
The college coaches have another opportunity to evaluate players the following day at a series of matches featuring top level youth club teams from Santa Rosa, Marin and the Sacramento region.
Santa Rosa United Youth Soccer Club is hosting the event. Girls high school players who want to participate in the camp can go to www.srunited.com to register or call 541-7627. The cost is $90.
“Santa Rosa United is excited to host a girls college player identification camp for serious soccer players looking to play college soccer,” said Josh Sterling, the club’s college coordinator. “Our list of college coaches is growing weekly.”
While individual colleges will hold camps to look for players, the Santa Rosa camp is expected to bring together 20 or more coaches from colleges at all three NCAA competition levels and NAIA schools, primarily from the West.
The camp — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 29 at Trione Fields — features a pair of two-hour sessions run by the college coaches. Expect to be challenged on technique, tactics, speed and strength.
Making the most of the gathering of players and coaches, the soccer club is organizing the Empire all-star game. Players are selected from the region’s all-league ranks and will be divided into competitively balanced teams. The game is set for 6:30 p.m. at Elsie Allen high.
“These college coaches are here so it makes it worth their time to see the high school players,” Sterling said.
Completing the girls high school soccer weekend are a day of games between teams from the Under 16, 17 and 18 levels of top division youth soccer. Santa Rosa United, Marina FC, Placer United and the San Juan Soccer Club (Sacramento) each will field three teams for the matches Jan. 30 at Trione Fields.
Some players will participate in all three events, providing great exposure to the college coaches in attendance.
Top seniors could already be committed to college teams, yet the camp and games allow them to show coaches they are staying in shape. Yet many of the region’s best may not have decided with February the deadline for signing with collegiate programs.
“They’re all recruitable. It’s just finding the right fit,” Sterling said.