I’m going to get right into the meat of this post: I turned down a Division 1 soccer scholarship.
Actually, a handful: George Washington University, University of Maryland, and University of Wisconsin.
And you’re probably thinking, ‘what an IDIOT.’
Sure, in retrospect, I’ll always wonder “what if.” Would I have played professional? Would I have been a hotter Nike spokesperson than Alex Morgan? Would I have made out with Cristiano Ronaldo? I can’t help but ponder.
Since I was a munchkin, I dreamed of playing Division 1 college athletics. Looking back, I don’t truly know why I had such a love affair with D1, but I guess for the same reasons most do:
1.) Free college.
2.) Bragging rights.
3.) High level of play.
4.) More bragging rights.
…Alas, I turned it all down.
Before you think I’m an entitled asshole, hear me out. First and foremost, I admire anyone who can be recruited to play at that level. Competition is CRAZY nowadays compared to when I was growing up, so it’s certainly a gift to be that good a D1 program is knocking on your door. Even better, they want to hand you money to go to school.
Okay, fine. I’ll tell you why I turned the offers down.
I started playing soccer when I was 5 years old when my mom forced me into the car to go to my first practice. It was destiny I suppose.
Luckily after that, my parents were pretty laissez-fair when it came to my soccer playing. I’m grateful for their non-helicopter parenting that I continued and LOVED the sport for many years to come. It was my passion and I worked my tail off to get to an elite level.
What’s more is I played for the #1 travel soccer team in the state of Maryland, was county player of the year in high school, went to numerous regional and national camps, and received all-county, all-state, and all-met accolades.
Allow me to brag a little, okay?!
Then, came my decision.
After all of this success in high school, I committed to Johns Hopkins University in 2007. Granted, I was going through a lot of personal problems at the time (which to this day, deeply impacted my choice and prevented me from going D1, but that’s beside the point). I have no regrets choosing a D3 school.
I mean, come ON…it’s Johns Hopkins University. It’s one of the top medical schools in the world, it’s better than Harvard (my unbiased opinion), and I knew the soccer uniforms would make my eyes pop. Oh. And Johns Hopkins was mentioned by Will Ferrell in Stepbrothers.
Jokes aside, division 3 athletics was the fit for me. Personally, I wanted to be a big fish in a small pond and I think I would’ve had a panic attack at a large state school.
I felt the classrooms were a viable size in order to get to know my classmates and brown nose the professors. Also, I never broke a sweat walking to different buildings on campus.
My major was economics, which admittedly, was hard as shit. And I’m doing nothing with it now. Kind of?
I guess, running a training business. Either way, I went on to pursue my Master’s in Exercise Science which has served as a great complement to my undergraduate economics degree. Hopkins prepared me well for the demands of graduate coursework, all while “adulting” and working in the real world full-time.
More cogent to that point, my college career was the perfect blend of athletics and academics, which is arguably VERY similar to my life right now: I coach soccer players, write blogs, and run a business.
The D3 schedule – which didn’t involve far travel – allowed me to hone academics and earn Dean’s List a handful of semesters. Don’t get me wrong, it was an adjustment trying to balance everything out, but I learned time management and how to not bang my head against a wall from all the stress.
Beyond the classroom, playing soccer for Hopkins was stellar.
I told you the uniforms made my blue eyes pop:
Warning: going to brag one more time. Promise.
Not only did I start all FOUR years, I was captain of the team my senior year with a 21-1 record, became the 2nd all-time leading scorer in school history, earned D3 National Midfielder of the Year senior year, led the team in goals and points every season, and got MVP all four years. Okay, I’m done. But wait, check out this sweet highlight video:
Did you catch my assist on the third goal? Pretty effing sweet finish by Paulina Goodman too.
And here’s another cool video while I’m showing off:
D3, in the end, was worth it for me. I was able to play the game I love, instead of ride the bench. I was able to truly contribute to the success of the program. I was able to develop into a better, more creative player. And an added bonus, I was able to make awesome friends.
Shit. I forgot we won the conference all fours years too.
So yeah. Being on a winning team was the icing on the cake.
Needless to say, I’m not sure if I would’ve accomplished any of this if I went division 1. Maybe, but it’s not worth wondering now.
So thank you Johns Hopkins for proving that Division 1 isn’t the only option for young athletes. Remember to keep an open mind and do what is best for your athletic AND personal development.