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View From The Sideline - Sean Dempsey

By GPS California, 04/01/20, 10:00AM PDT


Parenting a college bound athlete

View From The Sideline - Sean Dempsey - Parenting a College Bound Athlete

You have been very active with the GPS LA 2003 Girls team and social media. How did this start for you and why?

My daughter plays for this team, and I noticed that although they were having great success winning many tournaments and being a top 03 ranked girls teams in SoCal. I realized quickly that this alone wasn't enough to get noticed by college coaches in wanting to play college soccer.

 So I set about finding a way to highlight our girls' team to as many college coaches as possible. I quickly realized for us adults, while Facebook is our social media platform, for all our teenage players it's Instagram. 

Every college in the country has an Instagram presence now because that's where their future students are at.

 I noticed that our girls success regardless of how good they were, was almost meaningless, as there are so many other good teams out there also competing for college spots too. So to stand out from the crowd, I set about highlighting our Girls 03 team on Instagram and spotlighting each player's achievements through their personal recruiting accounts.

You have supported the girls to link up with an Instagram channel, who are they, why was this done and what benefits have the girls received?

I found a guy who was using Instagram very successfully Danny Chavez @becauseshesamazing who is showing Student-Athletes through IG video's, how to highlight their soccer success to colleges and encouraging students to reach out and contact coaches, it's a simple and very effective method.

 So every girl on our team now has a personal Instagram recruiting account

@namebsa (BSA = because she's amazing) showing their hilite video's, HS academic success, community achievements to college coaches everywhere.

I also set up a team Instagram page @gpsla_g03 so when coaches/recruiters come to the team site they can see all of our players listed and their individual recruiting profiles for easy access.

The team is like a tree basically with these player's as it's roots.

As a parent what are your thoughts on how using social media to broadcast your child's achievements and successes helped her? What is key to doing this safely but also with quality?

Social media is the new way of broadcasting your players' achievements it's now their online resume or LinkedIn.

College coaches don't come to you anymore, YOU have to go to THEM. 

Back in the day, you'd mail VHS cassettes or CD's to coaches, nowadays it's all online and the coaches can pull up your recruiting profile at the side of the field or back at their hotel, or when travelling through an airport and they can see your videos/hilites instantly. I feel all HS aged players who are interested in pursuing soccer after HS should set up an Instagram recruiting account for college and keep it current with regular postings, just like you would with your current resume or LinkedIn

The incorporation of social media into youth soccer has to lead to a huge number of developments/evolution in how players, parents and coaches can access information. Wayne Rooney has recently stated, "more education and information is needed for young footballers as guidance for how to conduct themselves on social media" what are your thoughts on this generally for players and parents using social media?

Every teenager at this club and throughout the country has at least 1 Social Media account, however, very few use these for recruiting or to highlight their success be it soccer, track or academics.

They use social media for friends, family and fun, however, don't use it for branding or marketing their success or highlighting their strengths to any colleges. Simply because they haven't been shown how to.  Wayne Rooney was right when he said they need to be taught just like anything else. This is what we're doing now with all of our 03 girls.

 A D1 college coach told me "as soon as I get the name of a potential prospect, I Google their name to see what has been written about them in their newspaper, school or club". So we fill that online void with soccer highlight videos, HS academic achievements, personal training videos, community service awards etc to that any colleges can see the effort and work rate that our G03 players are putting in.

 This will be a helpful factor in deciding from a coaching standpoint if they would want someone of that character and athletic calibre to come into their college and join their soccer program.

More Info On The Girls

There have been several articles on parents and their place in the development of their child in the soccer world. Coaches and clubs expect a lot from parents and vice versa. How can parents support their children and teams/coaches using social media?

All parents want to see their child do well regardless of what sport they play. 2 tips.

1. The best way for parents to help their players or team is to record video footage of their son or daughter playing. Encourage their players to then take an interest in uploading these hilites to their recruiting account so they'll start reaching out to college coaches and working towards their collegiate goals. You could have a great game on Saturday, but if it wasn't recorded who knows about it?

2. All coaches should encourage their HS aged players to set up their Instagram recruiting accounts BSA or BHA exactly for this 'resume' purpose. These accounts can be used regardless of playing college soccer or not. If they don't play, then the player can use this as an online resume to show their potential college this is what they do after school hours, they're interests in a team sport and how they spend most weekends.

This doesn't go to waste, it's helpful regardless. 

Otherwise, most College Administrators think Netflix, Snapchat and Facetime. We want our girls to stand out from the crowd and not blend in with them.

What difficulties have come by opening up social media accounts for the team and individual players?

Many parents may not use social media that much or may not see the significance of using it for marketing/branding to help themselves, example: LinkedIn.

Therefore they don't see a great need or reason why their son or daughter should do so either, and they don't encourage them as a result to pursue this further.

 In the space of just one year, @gpsla_g03 is now following over 800+ women's college programs around the country, and about 100+ women's colleges are following our team along with many club coaches, recruiting services and other soccer players.

None of this could have happened if we didn't make the transition of highlighting our team and all our player's success with the help of Danny Chavez @becauseshesamazing

What advice would you give for any parent looking to make the most of social media for their child?

If your son or daughter has a true desire in playing college soccer encourage them to set up a recruiting account (@namebsa for girls & @namebha for boys)

BSA = because of shes amazing

BHA = because he's amazing

so they can highlight and market themselves to colleges using college hashtags and tagging 100 colleges in each of their posts. Otherwise, the college's just don't know they exist and will look elsewhere for a soccer talent to recruit from.

To date, GPS LA coaches Stephen Arroyave and Ender Rodriguez from GPS LA G04 have also started their team Instagram site @gpsla_g04 and are setting up recruiting profiles for their girls.

Tulio Marroquin's Boy's 04 and Girl's 05 team's have started their BHA & BSA accounts and are posting and tagging college's also.

During this quiet time because of Coronavirus, college coaches don't have a lot to do either, therefore this is the perfect opportunity to email/call them giving them your Instagram recruiting link, so they can see your highlight videos and achievements and begin to follow you and get to know you as a player and a person. 

Fortune favours the brave, this is what it's all about!  I'll be happy to share the knowledge gained with other teams/player's at our club, please DM me @gpsla_g03

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