Last week, FirstPoint USA was delighted to host the University of Washington's NCAA Division I men’s soccer team at Townhead Park as part of their pre-season tour in Scotland.
A fantastic day of action-packed football in Cumnock kicked off with the Huskies going toe-to-toe with Scottish Championship side Ayr United, resulting in a fair but hard-fought 1-1 result before suiting up in the afternoon to take on the FirstPoint USA select team in a special one-of-a-kind exhibition match.
The FirstPoint USA select team made up of current and former soccer clients provided a very different test for the Washington team, and the game did not disappoint. A closely-contested 5-3 thriller provided the perfect curtain call on a great day of competition, comradery, and valuable experiences for both sides, one that neither team will soon forget.
Andrew Kean, Founder & CEO of FirstPoint USA spoke on the magnitude of the event at Townhead Park for both sides:
"These types of pre-season tours are so important for the players, both personally and as footballers because it provides a great opportunity to gain invaluable exposure to different cultures and playing styles, and with the two games they featured in today, they've been able to test themselves against both a professional side as well as an exhibition team of varying ages and levels.
For our athletes who are yet to start their soccer journey in the States, it's a great way for them to get a sense of what's to come and how important it is to prepare themselves for the challenges of college soccer".
Jamie Clark, veteran Head Coach of the Washington Huskies Soccer Team provided invaluable insight into how overseas experiences can help the players grow:
“You come to places like this, where towns and communities are built upon a true footballing culture and it just means that little bit more to the players. It provides a lot of growth and development opportunity for young guys, some of whom have never even set foot outside of their home country before so it’s a special moment for us all to share together”.
Jamie continued, speaking on the long-standing relationship between the University of Washington and FirstPoint USA:
“To me, FirstPoint has been a leader and one of the true pioneers of bringing international players over to the USA, educating overseas markets on sports scholarships and my own relationship with the company goes way back. Andrew Kean and I have known each other for a long time, he and my father have some history from their time at the University of Cincinnati and Stanford respectively.
The proof is in the pudding with FirstPoint. There have been so many good players come over from the UK and across the world and really leave their mark on college soccer in the States”.
Speaking on the general culture and makeup of college soccer in the states, Jamie provided a great insight into what a typical day in the life looks like as an NCAA Division-I men’s soccer coach:
“A huge part of what we do is helping teach and be a positive influence on the best part of 30 young men’s lives, so mine and the rest of the coaching staff’s job first and foremost are to make sure that stuff away from the soccer field is right. Helping to ensure our student-athletes are on-track with their schooling, that they have good living habits, and are taking care of themselves.
In the morning, that’s always the first thing we check in on, we spend a lot of time scouring for new players throughout the day and between that, we’re a bit of a catch-all. We’re always trying to market and grow the team, which can include anything from crowd-sourcing to fundraising, and then by around lunchtime, we’re into the heavy preparation stage of practice-planning ahead of our training at 2pm every day. As part of this, we review video footage of our own team and opposition and pick out what we can learn from that, we run all of our drills and game simulation, fitness, and shape, and then ideally, we’re all ready to head home for around 6pm”.
For any prospective football players hoping to secure a soccer scholarship and make the most of the opportunities available, Jamie gave us a sneak peek into some of the key things a coach will look for when scouting and recruiting players:
“We generally find how you do one thing is how you do all things, mostly. And what I mean by that is if they’re a good student, that usually means they’ll be hard-working, dedicated, and focused off the field, which translates in the same way to on-field activity.
That said, some of our players haven’t even really thought too much about what they want to get out of the educational side, so it’s also about general life habits, how you respond to instruction, praise, and criticism, and how you communicate with others. The intangibles are just as important as skill and ability in the makeup of a successful team".
Securing a soccer scholarship with FirstPoint USA
As the world’s leading sports scholarship consultancy, we have over 20 years of experience in recruiting and placing soccer players in some of the top programs in the United States, and through close-working strategic partnerships, our vast international scouting network is perfectly equipped to onboard the very best talent.
FirstPoint USA has a dedicated team of specialist talent management consultants who have assisted thousands of young soccer athletes to propel their athletic and academic careers through successful partnerships with top U.S institutions. In addition to this, we also have robust processes and support tools in place to help you understand the intricacies of your scholarship options, so we’re with you every step of the way.
For more information on the life-changing opportunities for young men and women that a soccer scholarship in the USA can provide, why not schedule a call with one of our specialist consultants today.
FirstPoint USA is an international scouting service, providing recruitment services to hundreds of NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA member institutions seeking to identify the very best in overseas talent, both male and female.