Contrary to popular belief, a college visit to an American Division 1 University is usually given for athletes that go above and beyond their capabilities not only in the competition arena, but also in the classroom. However, with a short season, and limited knowledge of college recruitment, for the EF Academy boys’ varsity soccer team, this opportunity was assembled based on the desire congruent with privilege.
On October 22nd, 2017 the Boys’ Varsity Soccer team from EF Academy New York boarded a bus around 9 am, and headed toward Long Island University, Brooklyn. The trip consisted of players from countries such as: Algeria, Brazil, Spain, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Vietnam, China, Norway, Germany, and Angola. As the bus arrived at the LIU Brooklyn campus, the team were greeted by the ladies senior keeper, Erin Harbinson, and the men’s Head Coach, TJ Kostecky.
Coach Kostecky and Harbinson both walked with boys toward the LIU-Brooklyn athletic facility into one of the university athletic team student-athlete conference rooms. On the walk over, four stories above the LIU state of the art enclosed soccer facility, the boys team were able to witness LIU-Brooklyn alumni playing in a friendly alumni match.
After a brief introduction, given by Coach Kostecky’s, about the men’s soccer program, the boys then were given an orientation from an Admissions Counselor on student life while pursuing a degree as a Division 1 student-athlete at LIU-Brooklyn. Following the orientation, the boys were given a campus tour of LIU Brooklyn, viewing: the wellness recreation and athletic center, the arts building, student café, and the residential dorms. In conjunction with the admissions orientation and the student life campus tour, the team was also invited to go watch Long Island University men’s soccer team take on Robert Morris University. Between the end of the campus tour and the scheduled men’s soccer game kickoff, a few of the boys all decided to cross the street for lunch at a newly renovated indoor market, while others walked a bit further to settle with the occasional “Chipotle” or even “5 Guys Burger.”
Around 1:00 pm the team met and sat amongst each other, devising tactics, analyzing positions, and overall enjoying the experience for the start of a LIU-Brooklyn’s Division 1 soccer match against league rivals Robert Morris University. Some of the EF Academy players were fortunate enough to receive free food from the LIU-Brooklyn Athletic Booster Club, while also, managing to snag a soccer ball from the home bench for a team “Rondo Possession” off to the sideline of the field. Once the final whistle was blown, the score was 1-0 in favor of Robert Morris and the broke back out of the stands to continue their “Rondo.” Shortly after, I spoke with men’s Head Coach, and he stated that he would like to: keep in touch in respect to recruiting purposes, attend one of EF Academy’s future matches, as well as, come to visit EF Academy in the near future (February 2018).
The boys then said their goodbyes, and we all boarded the bus heading back to EF Academy New York in Thornwood. From the College Coach’s program introduction, to the admissions orientation, to the campus tour, to watching a Division 1 college soccer match, to sum it all up in one word according to the underclassmen starters, (Taegyeong Kim, Taehyeon Lee, and Aaron Kaltenmaier) the experience was: inpiring. Since the trip, five players, including the the underclassmen stated above, have signed contracts with a local soccer club in hopes to broaden their opportunities of playing Division 1 soccer, while also competing for a degree at a Top Level University.
Written by Adrian Burgess, House Parent and Varsity Boys Head Soccer Coach at EF Academy New York