Thursday, August 20, 2009

Youth: HCU Under-18's taking their time with college selections

Only one member of Hillsborough County United’s boys under-18 squad has committed to the college he’ll play for next season, but Coach Kelvin Jones is expecting more minds to become made up soon.

Jones, who is also HCU’s boys director of coaching, said the biggest thing he and his players are looking for is the right fit with a program, which more often than not means the opportunity to compete for a place on the team immediately.

“Very few of them are willing to go to a place where they will sit,” Jones said. “Soccer isn’t like football, where you go and you sit behind somebody for two years and then play your junior and senior year. They’re use to playing 50, 60 games a year these kids so we’ve got to find the right fit for them. It’s where can they go and have an impact right away, or at least be in the top 18 and be able to make an impact right away, that’s the sort of schools we’re looking for for our kids.”

T.J. East, who joined the club from RSL Florida this fall, has committed to ACC powerhouse Wake Forest. Tampa Catholic standout Andrew Buckley, who led Hillsborough County in scoring last high school season, may be the next to commit, with Central Florida appearing a likely destination.

Other players, though, are taking their time to see what options are on the table. Jones said that while he likes players to get commitments wrapped up sooner rather than later, the desire to stay in or close to Florida can make the process a slower one.

“It’s almost that they’re waiting for the Florida schools to come and get them, and when the Florida schools don’t come, then they might go [up north],” Jones said. “It’s just playing in the sun and playing in Florida is a lot different to being in other parts of the country.”

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