Already-difficult recruiting process exacerbated by COVID-19

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Navigating the recruiting process is difficult for high school student-athletes under ordinary conditions. With this spring’s stay-at-home situation created by coronavirus concerns, that process has become even more challenging.
Nevertheless, Saugus girls soccer defender Grace Seitz has found her ideal school in Colorado Christian University, an NCAA Division II program in Lakewood, Colorado.

However, there was some risk-taking involved.

“I had never been to the school, let alone the state,” Seitz said. “It was going to be an out-of-state school, and I was planning on staying in-state. So that was kind of what took me so long to decide because it’s a major commitment.”

Seitz originally had her sights set on California Baptist University, but started to change her mind when the Colorado Christian coach began pursuing her more actively. Seitz and the coach exchanged emails, phone calls and text messages on a daily basis.

The coach was empathetic. She did her best to make Seitz feel comfortable about committing to CCU in uncertain times.

“She realized that I would be taking a risk to commit to a college I’d never been to,” said Seitz. “She gave me an offer over the phone, and she’s never given a scholarship offer to any player that she hasn’t seen play in person, but she realized with the times and everything that’s going on that I’d be making a risk and she’s like, ‘Well, I need to take some risks on my end.’”

Two weeks after she committed to CCU, she was honored by the Southern California High School Soccer Coaches Association and was named to the All-SCA Second Team in CIF-Southern Section Division 2.

In order to be named to an All-SCA team, prep soccer players must first be nominated by their coaches, then go through a selection process that involves a committee of coaches from the CIF-SS.

“I was pretty stoked,” said Seitz. “I did not expect it at all, but it’s really humbling to receive that recognition.”

Although she was recognized for her high ability level, Seitz says she plays best when she’s relaxed.

“I really realized, in my last two years at Saugus, that I play better when I’m out there playing for fun,” she said. “If I have that mindset that this is all just a game and just to have fun with it, I find that I play better as a player, and I think I really discovered that at Saugus.

“That’s when I began to enjoy it even more so, especially with having teammates and everything that Saugus went through this year, I feel like we really grew as a team, both together and as individuals.”

Seitz is scheduled to move in at CCU on Aug. 16 to begin her college soccer career and pursue a degree in nursing, but hopes to visit the campus before then. What seemed like a risk at first is now a confident decision, and she’s excited to take her relaxed-but-skilled style of soccer to the next level.

“It makes it so much more enjoyable, and you find that you even learn to play better if you’re playing for your teammates and you play to have fun,” she said.

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