Local soccer player Amanda DuBois (St. Mary’s College) can’t believe her good fortune. Three different Universities and two major Competitive programs in Michigan have recently approached
her. Not bad for a girl that got cut at 10 years of age!
She has been invited to a “Prospects” camp at Philadelphia University (Pennsylvania), a Scholarship camp at St. Lawrence University in New York, Alliance Academy (Michigan state wide program) and a “Futsal” Development Academy in Pennsylvania. The Futsal Academy showcases players to top Universities in the U.S. She is considering two of the invitations and has accepted the opportunity to train at the camp in Canton, New York from July 9th to 12th. The staff will include coaches from D1, D2 & D3 schools. She will also find some time to tour New York City while in the state.
How did all of this come about? How did Amanda go from being cut at age ten to being courted by top Universities in the U.S.? It is a story of perseverance and belief in self. No kid should ever have to abandon their dreams at the age of 10 or even fifteen for that matter! Amanda took part in the “Canadian Classic Showcase” tournament ion Ottawa two years ago when SUFA (Sault United Football “Soccer” Academy) sent a U17 girls team to participate.
Showcase tournaments are where the top coaches and scouts from major Canadian and U.S. universities and colleges attend, to scout potential players. While the team did not proceed to the finals, the girls did themselves proud and put on a good performance. The function of the tournament was no to take the trophy (although that would be nice said team coach Bill Howe), but to show the coaches and scouts how well the girls could play. This was achieved in stellar fashion! Three girls walked away with scholarships. There would have been a fourth (Amanda), but she was too young to be approached (recruitment rules), as she was in grade 9 and
ineligible. That was a shock to the University of Ottawa coach who had asked to speak to her. Obviously she was on other scouts radar and as soon as she became eligible, the recruitment began. Amanda’s dream is realized! There was a long road from Civics B to scholarship offers!
It should be noted that Amanda has always demonstrated the right attitude. During the tournament, she doubted herself in a difficult first game. Even though the team rebounded in the second half, she was concerned about her level of play. Coach Howe understood that it was more a case of nerves and defensive organization, than her effort; still it upset her to feel she wasn’t doing her job well. From that point on, she grew in confidence and wowed the scouts!
Amanda is a member of SUFA (an Academy program designed to develop soccer players). At age ten, Amanda did not make the Civics “A” team and although she made the “B” team, she knew that she was not considered one of the top local players in her age group and wondered if firstname.lastname@example.org www.saultunitedfc.net © SUFA International Inc. Sault United Football Academy – International her dream of playing top-level soccer was over? The B team had since folded and she had no place to go and thought her dreams of playing soccer, were over. Her coaches in Civics (Deandra Franzisi and Aniela Pulice) convinced her to give the soccer Academy a try.
She never quit and demonstrated that hard work and belief could go a long way. She proved that we are all a work on progress and that anyone can improve, given the right attitude and environment.
“I am glad Amanda has got this opportunity to go to St. Lawrence and train/play because it shows that all the training and playing she has done paid off and that people other than myself can recognize that. I know how hard she has worked for this and I am very proud of her and who she is as an athlete and also as a young lady.” said Amanda’s Father, Gary.
Amanda wants to pursue a career in Physiotherapy. Many people told her that she wasn’t going to achieve much and that soccer wasn’t going to take her anywhere. She is delighted to prove them wrong. She credits her Dad for standing by her (first coach). She also credits her former coach in Civics and with the Academy (Deandra), for believing in her and not quitting on her, or allowing her to quit on herself.
SUFA Director Bill Howe, has been impressed with her dedication and hard work. “Talent is a difficult thing to define. At best it is a snapshot in time and does not show potential, or the possibilities. To screen children at young ages and then apply labels, is at best erroneous and at it’s worst, can cause life-long issues and negatively impact belief systems, that are often just plain wrong. It is the Academy’s belief and philosophy that all players should learn, forever. Cutting or screening at young ages simply does not work, it hurts and as Amanda has amply shown, can remove potential, before it has had a chance to develop”!
“I owe more than I could ever give to Coach Bill, Deandra and my father also my mom for putting up with me for so long and for shaping me and turning me into the person I am today. I truly hope they know how thankful I am to have them all in my life, because like I said, I would NOT be who I am, WITHOUT them!” said Amanda
Amanda is preparing for her camp, recuperating after a long injury problem. She has also matured in many ways, now pursuing coaching the younger kids. Even though she is very young herself, she has been coaching in the Academy for over a year and trying to help give the younger kids the opportunity she has been given. She is pursuing her coaching certification and will continue to coach, long after her playing career is over.