When ball is life, all else comes second

Ysabelle Punzal, Feature Editor

Exhausted by the hours of practice and stressed by the increase in pressure, having college recruiters watching their every move is a lot to handle. Planning to play in college, some athletes have devoted their lives to these sports.

“I have been playing soccer pretty much my whole life. [Playing in college] has always been a dream,” said senior Bridget Carbonneau, who was recruited by Cal Poly Pomona to play soccer. Carbonneau currently plays for Sequoia’s girls varsity soccer team and a club team.

“It was so crazy to hear the words come out of [the coach’s] mouth,” Carbonneau said. “It was just amazing to be able to breathe because it has been such a crazy year. Telling my parents and having them say ‘I’m so proud of you!’ was awesome.”

Getting recruited is not as easy as it seems. Athletic Director and girls soccer coach Melissa Schmidt notes that the most important step is student outreach.

“Usually, it’s the kids who are really working on reaching out to colleges, and then inviting those colleges [to see them play],” Schmidt said.

Sophomore Caitlin Dulsky is not even close to having to worry about college, yet is already communicating with coaches as playing basketball in college is her goal. Dulsky is currently shooting guard for Sequoia’s girls varsity basketball team.

“It wasn’t until my freshman year where I was like ‘I can actually do this. I have to start planning ahead and getting ready for recruiting,’” Dulsky said.
Commitment is key when one hopes to continue playing in college.

“During basketball season for school, [I play] everyday except for Sundays,” Dulsky said. “On the weekends, I have tournaments and then in the summer, it’s everyday of the week. Then, a bunch of travel tournaments.”

Some athletes have been forced to sacrifice activities so they focus on their one sport. They have little time to breathe or with most of their time spent on the court or field.

“I missed prom last year,” Carbonneau said. “I had two games in San Diego, [so] I felt like I could sacrifice prom [to have a coach] see my games. I [also] miss birthdays and multiple different events [because] soccer is always the number one priority.”

Similarly, junior Kian Mirkia, who is on the boys varsity baseball team, had to make sacrifices to get better for college.

“This year was when I first decided that I want to play in college. I realized I had to put my main focus on baseball, so I quit basketball,” Mirkia said.
Senior Joe Adams also made the decision to sacrifice other sports, shifting all of his time into soccer.
“I enjoyed playing water polo and lacrosse [for the school], [but] for me to get to the next level [I needed to be] fully focused on soccer,” Adams said.
Adams currently plays for Sequoia’s boys varsity soccer team and on a club team.
Students also receive pressure from trying to impress college recruiters and from coaches encouraging them to work harder.
“We have multiple tournaments where basically 200 colleges come,” Carbonneau said. “Having your coaches scream at you and seeing [colleges] from the sidelines is very nerve-wracking.”
Within the college recruitment process, one must look into what level they hope to play at and what programs are offered for that sport.
“The most important thing for kids to think about is what’s important to them,” Schmidt said. “Finding the best fit for them [is key].”