The process of recruitment requires a lot of hard work, commitment and dedication. Moustapha Gassama ’23 first started playing soccer at the age of three. He said, “My mom used to tell me stories about how I would take small fruits like oranges and melons, put them on the floor, and try to play soccer with them. I’ve been in love with the sport ever since.”
Gassama has committed to play at Kenyon College. He thought the process of getting recruited was “very exciting.” Gassama said, “I got to travel to a bunch of different states all over the country in the summer and meet all kinds of new people. I went to an ID clinic every weekend that summer which was a great experience. They were competitive, but they had a fun environment that allowed me to play freely and enjoy myself.”
For Demi Adeniran ’23, who was recruited to run track and field at Johns Hopkins University, the initial part of the process was quite different because he sought out a college that was also a good academic fit. “When searching for colleges, I primarily made my list based on academics, so I was looking for schools based on their engineering departments,” said Adeniran. He then worked with Track and Field coaches Michael Christie and Tilden Daniels. “[They] helped me to reach out to schools I was interested in, and then conversations between myself and college coaches began, leading to pre-reads, official visits, and then eventually offers,” explained Adeniran.
He said the most difficult part of the process was “understanding how coaches recruit. Specifically for track and field, some coaches prioritize distance events over sprinting events and vice versa based on the program ideology.”
Brandon Chung ’23 and Nate Seluga ’23 have both been recruited to play baseball. Chung, who committed to play outfield for Grinnell College, began the recruitment process early. “I started thinking about college sophomore year, and I began working towards my goal in the gym and in practice,” he said.
For Chung, this process was an especially stressful one. He explained, “For a large majority of the time you won’t know if you’re going to be recruited in the end and that can be stressful, [seeing] as you have most likely put [in] a lot of work. Dealing with that stress can strain not only performance on the field, but your mental health and the relationships around you.”
Seluga, who was recruited to play shortstop at Harvey Mudd College, echoed Chung’s statement: “Not knowing what is going to happen is scary, especially early on when you have no idea where opportunities will show up. Until things get going for you it can be hard being totally in the dark.”
The process for these four athletes was challenging and stressful. Chung gave specific insight for young athletes on how to be better equipped mentally and physically for the recruitment process. Chung said, “There might be points in the process where things seem hopeless and things aren’t going your way, but if you keep going, things will turn around in your favor…” He also advised young athletes to “work hard in the gym…coaches, typically at the [Division 3] level, will often recruit players just based on physicality.”
These four athletes have a lot to look forward to as college athletes at their new schools. Seluga said, “Aside from continuing to play competitive sports, having a group of guys that are adjusting the same as you and you can be around makes transitioning easier and more fun. Adeniran said, “I am most looking forward to meeting all the new people at my new school. When I visited, all the students and professors seemed very nice and supportive and I am excited to see how everything plays out.” Gassama concluded, “I have heard many college athletes talking about their memories and how the team they were a part of just strengthened their college experiences as a whole and I can’t wait to experience that for myself.”