Prepare now to play athletics in college

My daughter will be a sophomore this fall. She loves soccer and was good enough as a freshman to make the varsity squad. She'd love to keep playing in college. What does she need to do to become a recruitable college athlete? — Sports-minded

Step one in being recruited is for your daughter to continually improve her soccer skills. Step two, however, may surprise you. She needs to do well academically. Few college coaches want to recruit athletes who are struggling to pass basic high school courses.

A very important step three is for her to find out this summer what courses the NCAA requires for students to compete in Division I and II schools. She'll find most of the information she needs on eligibility by visiting the National Collegiate Athletic Association website at and clicking on "Eligibility Center." She should also pay close attention to what the site says she needs to do each year in high school to become a recruitable athlete. This website has very helpful information for parents, too.

Only the most outstanding high school athletes are approached by college coaches. This coming year and next, your daughter should start contacting college coaches. She should write letters to coaches at schools that interest her, talking about her skill set and why she wants to attend a particular school. Her own coach or another coach at her high school experienced in the recruitment of athletes should be able to help her take the best approach to being recruited. Now is the time to talk to them as well as young local athletes who are playing on college teams.

Summer reading activity


Increasing your children's reading skills works best in the summer if appealing activities are chosen. One possibility is starting a parent-child book club. Belonging to a book club offers children these benefits:

• Getting other children's and parents' perspectives on a book

• Discussing difficult issues brought up in a book in a comfortable environment

• Receiving practice in analyzing books (helpful for future book reports)

• Increasing language skills through discussions of books

• Enhancing closeness to a parent

Book clubs work best when the children are about the same age and have similar reading skills. In the early elementary years, poor readers can have their parents read the books to them. Older readers with weak skills can participate in same-age clubs by listening to books on tape. Book clubs should not have too many participants, as this limits individual participation.

It's easiest to begin a book club by talking with one or more parents of young children who might be interested. Older children can do much of the work of starting a book club. Once possible participants have been chosen, an organizational meeting needs to be held to discuss the place, time and format of the meetings and possible books.


The important part of each meeting is the discussion by parents and children. Limit the time to what is appropriate to the age of the children. And don't forget to include refreshments.

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