It’s no accident that North Shore United has produced 33 soccer players who committed to NCAA Division I schools from the classes of 2013-16.
Building toward – and achieving – that next level of success for players is a critical focus for Director of Coaching Joe Hammes, U15-18 Technical Director Sinisa Angelovski and the entire staff. Player development, education, exposure and communication are hallmarks of NSU’s approach to finding and providing these opportunities to its players.
“If players have dreams of competing at the college level, we share that dream with them,” Hammes said. “Our club is committed to doing everything it can to put the player in position to find the right fit.”
Player development starts early with a large U6 program and one of the state’s first accredited academies for players 7-10. The club’s partnership with Swansea City FC of the Premier League has fostered tremendous advancements in curriculum, coaching development and playing opportunities for our U11-18 players. Luka Prpa’s recent trial with Swansea is the most notable result, but our semi-annual trips to Wales for training and competition, along with the summer camps in Wisconsin with Swansea City coaches, spreads the European influence club-wide.
NSU also works to educate parents and families with periodic College Nights, when the club invites area coaches from both scholarship and non-scholarship schools to a forum where they describe recruiting, set expectations for the life of the student-athlete, and answer questions from players and their parents.
No matter how ready a player is, he won’t be recruited if he’s not seen. NSU sends teams to top college showcases around the country. The U17 boys attended the prestigious Dallas Cup in 2015, reaching the quarterfinals in their division before falling to the nation’s sixth-ranked team. NSU teams also have been in the Disney Soccer Showcase, Las Vegas Mayor’s Cup Showcase, the CASL Boys Showcase and more. Individual players have participated in the Wisconsin Fire program, affiliated with the Chicago Fire.
Not only do NSU coaches make sure recruiters can see their players at events, they often attend club team practices to see players in a different, focused environment. Angelovski and other NSU coaches are proactive in building relationships with college coaches.
“Communication between the club coaches and college coaches is very important,” Angelovski said. “We help a lot in that process.”
That is borne out in the fact that 16 different schools are represented among the 33 players. Numerous others have continued their careers in NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and the NAIA.