At the start of the year, we held a competition to become an honorary FirstPoint USA blogger, a competition won by soccer player, Corrie McDonald, 18, from Cornwall. Corrie is still a FirstPoint USA client, and has been through the majority of the FirstPoint process. Corrie will be writing monthly blog posts for us, with first hand experience and advice about each stage of the process.
This month, Corrie discusses the initial athletic assessment, how she felt it was and what advice she would give to anyone going to one in the future:
The early stages of the FirstPointUSA process are definitely nerve-racking but nerves arenít always bad! If you donít have them, it almost shows that you donít really care enough. I applied online in the December and received a letter in the post early January offering me several different dates and venues to take place in an athletic assessment.
My assessment took place at the London Soccer dome (David Beckham Academy) near the O2 arena. The dome is really easy to get to as North Greenwich tube station is only a 2 minute walk from the entrance. When I walked in to the reception of the dome everything seemed a little daunting; the room was quite large and yet it was full of teenage boys! My nerves are kind of off the scale by now, Iím looking around and Iím definitely the only girl that I can see in the room.
The FirstPoint staff soon entered and told us to form a line so we could register with them and hand in our C.Vís. If you are asked to bring paper work such as a C.V or a passport photo, make sure you bring it. Print off a couple of copies and check you have them at least twice before heading to the assessment. I remember a couple of guys forgetting theirs and I know that it delayed things for them.
After registering, everyone was lead to another room where Nicola Pitticas held a presentation telling us more about FirstPoint USA and scholarships in general. There was a question and answer session at the end and the boys were then showed to the changing rooms. As soon as the boys started to leave, Nicola came up to me and explained my options. Being the only girl, she didnít want to MAKE me play football with 200 boys so gave me the option to attend a different assessment with more girls or give it a go then and there. Nicola assured me that I didnít have to do it and was very supportive of my decision either way. Perhaps I was more nervous than I wouldíve been, the assessment being all girls, but I saw this as an opportunity to show everyone what I was made of!
I got changed in a separate changing room and was the first to arrive on the pitch so talked to some of the staff, started warming myself up and kicking a ball about. The soccer dome is absolutely freezing by the way! Which is perfect for playing football as it prevents you from overheating, but as you take those first few steps in to the dome you will regret not taking gloves (I did). I remember taking a shot as the boys started to come out and hearing one of them say ďI canít even kick a ball that hard!Ē That was a bit of a confidence booster! We were placed in to teams and started to warm up together. All of the staff were adamant that everyone needed to warm up and stretch properly to prevent any injuries. The boys were really good and didnít treat me any differently (why should they when they were trying to make themselves look as good as they could?). My nerves had started to sort themselves out now and as soon as I got in to the games, I forgot I even had them.
After three games, varying in length of pitch size and time, we were all gathered together and told we would be taking part in a fitness test. I donít think this happens at every assessment but you have to make sure that you are fully prepared for it. The most important thing you can do to prepare yourself, and I really canít express this enough, is to get your fitness to the highest possible level you can. Skills of course help, but to stand out from the rest, you really need to be able to run around the pitch for 90 minutes +.
The whole experience of the assessment was incredible and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to pursue an athletic-academic career out in the states. The staff at FirstPoint USA are really quick to get back to you, my assessment was on the Wednesday and I received a phone call from my consultant on the Friday of that week. Each staff member takes care of you and is doing everything for your benefit!
†We'd just like to thank Corrie for taking the time to write about her experiences and contribute to our blog!
Do you have what it takes to play your sport†and study in the USA?†Register today for†a UK assessment with FirstPoint USA†and find out!