June 12, 2024
NCAA Elite Pupil-Athlete Symposium for Soccer supplies student-athletes street map for future

Put together for the journey forward. Tomorrow begins right this moment. 

Each are thematic messages that 18 faculty soccer gamers heard throughout final week’s NCAA Elite Pupil-Athlete Symposium for Soccer. The annual occasion, held by the NCAA management growth and enforcement staffs whereas the NFL Mix was in Indianapolis, goals to arrange high-profile faculty gamers with eligibility remaining for that journey. Particularly, attendees spent three days gaining perception on transitioning to the NFL, managing life as knowledgeable and eager about life past soccer.  

This 12 months’s attendees, representing 13 colleges, engaged with a number of distinguished audio system with NFL expertise on the sphere and within the entrance workplace, in addition to NCAA leaders and varied subject material consultants. The audio system lined subjects such because the scouting course of, brokers, monetary administration, movie evaluation, social media, guidelines on the NFL draft and tutorial eligibility, {and professional} growth methods past soccer. 

NCAA Elite Pupil-Athlete Symposium for Soccer supplies student-athletes street map for future
Raheim Sanders, a working again at Arkansas, works on an exercise through the 2023 Elite Pupil-Athlete Symposium for Soccer. Sanders and 17 different high-profile student-athletes attended the occasion in Indianapolis, the place they engaged with a number of distinguished audio system with NFL expertise on the sphere and within the entrance workplace, in addition to NCAA leaders and varied consultants.

“I hope this program simply prepares me for after I do need to undergo the draft course of, the mix and every part, simply to not be blindsided by every part and never be studying on the fly,” mentioned Zion Tupuola-Fetui, a senior defensive edge participant at Washington. “To have that background info already saved is fairly superb.”

The NCAA has held the Elite Symposium for Soccer yearly since 2017 — it was canceled in 2021 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic — and hosts an analogous symposium for draft prospects in basketball every fall. Pupil-athletes are invited to the symposium after NCAA workers members seek the advice of with coaches, athletics directors, skilled sports activities officers and different consultants carefully linked to draft prospect lists. Many former members have skilled success within the NFL, together with standouts like Saquon Barkley and Bradley Chubb, in addition to 2021 Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the 12 months winners in Ja’Marr Chase and Micah Parsons, respectively. 

“Once I examine (this system) and noticed the entire nice individuals who have come to it, I felt prefer it was only a blessing,” mentioned Raheim Sanders, working again at Arkansas. “That is simply the beginning, the start of the subsequent journey.” 

“It means lots to me to be chosen to come back right here, to be round all of those younger males,” added Jared Verse, defensive finish at Florida State. “All people has the identical objective as me, similar aspirations, however not simply as an athlete but additionally as businessmen, as males, as fathers, brothers, simply to develop into higher individuals.”

Whereas the symposium included a number of football-specific classes, attendees additionally spent vital time on their private growth, recognized core values and began eager about a life after soccer. 

“A technique this program will profit me shifting ahead is that it was not a lot concerning the athletic a part of every part,” Verse mentioned. “It is extra so the psychological a part of every part and what occurs after soccer, how we are able to put together ourselves now to place ourselves in a superb place sooner or later.” 

One session featured a panel dialogue with 4 present or former NFL gamers who spoke to their transition to and out of the NFL. The panelists have been Darrell Stuckey, former standout at Kansas who performed six seasons within the NFL; Aaron Jones, former UTEP standout and present Inexperienced Bay Packers working again; Alvin Jones, twin brother to Aaron who performed linebacker at UTEP, signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2018 and has performed the previous two seasons within the Canadian Soccer League; and Shawn Barber, who performed at Richmond earlier than spending 10 years within the NFL. Tre Stallings, present affiliate commissioner at Convention USA who performed at Ole Miss and 4 seasons within the NFL, moderated the dialogue. 

“We have been studying about all facets of what it may be like everytime you get to this stage. It may very well be the monetary facet. It may very well be simply the soccer facet,” Michael Penix Jr., senior quarterback for Washington, mentioned of the symposium. “We have been in a position to converse to some former gamers, some present gamers, as nicely, and simply listening to how they seen coming into the NFL and their course of, the change they went by and permitting us to have the ability to get suggestions was nice. For me, my focus now could be with the ability to return dwelling, be certain that I research what I’ve discovered right here and ensure I exploit it.”

Different audio system on the symposium included NFL Gamers Affiliation representatives, a disaster and strategic communications professional, a former NFL basic supervisor and present scouting advisor, athlete growth leaders and monetary advisors.

Attendees of the NCAA Elite Student-Athlete Symposium for Football
Attendees of the symposium, held yearly, stand outdoors Lucas Oil Stadium the place they watched a portion of the NFL Mix final week. 

Roman Oben, vp for soccer growth within the NFL who performed greater than 10 years within the league, was the symposium’s keynote speaker. Oben spoke to the attendees about learn how to keep centered throughout their transition to the NFL and the significance of caring for their psychological well being throughout that interval. 

Oben’s message put a bow on the symposium’s total objective to arrange these student-athletes for the journey that lies forward. 

“I believe it teaches you concerning the experiences you are going to face … so you possibly can find out about it beforehand,” Notre Dame offensive lineman Joe Alt mentioned of the symposium. “You are not going to get smacked by it. You sort of have a superb really feel for what to anticipate.”

2023 Elite Pupil-Athlete Symposium for Soccer Roster

  • Raheim Sanders, Arkansas 
  • Barrett Carter, Clemson
  • Jared Verse, Florida State
  • Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois
  • Connor Colby, Iowa                                                                                     
  • Maason Smith, LSU
  • Javion Cohen, Miami (Florida)
  • Joe Alt, Notre Dame
  • Blake Fisher, Notre Dame
  • Denzel Burke, Ohio State
  • Michael Corridor Jr., Ohio State
  • J.T. Tuimoloau, Ohio State
  • Tyleik Williams, Ohio State 
  • Troy Franklin, Oregon
  • Cole Bishop, Utah 
  • Michael Penix Jr., Washington
  • Zion Tupuola-Fetui, Washington 
  • Braelon Allen, Wisconsin