College Night

College Night 2018

Tuesday, October 30, 7:00 p.m.
La Roca Park (128 E. South Weber Dr.)

All U15-U19 players and parents are invited to La Roca College Night to learn about college soccer straight from the coaches themselves.

The evening will kick off with a dynamic guest speaker, followed by a presentation about NCAA requirements for college athletes. Then, a panel of coaches from both men’s and women’s programs from across the state will answer players’ and parents’ questions about preparing to play college soccer.

Coaches from the following schools are expected to attend:
• Utah State University
• Weber State University
• University of Utah
• Westminster College
• Salt Lake Community College
• Utah State Eastern
• Utah Valley University
• Brigham Young University
• Snow College
• Southern Utah University
• Dixie State University

Don’t miss this FREE event!

Call La Roca office for more information, 801-825-6040.

Helpful Links:

NCAA Eligibility Center

NCAA Future Student Athletes


La Roca College Night 2018 was attended by over 200 players and parents.

Guest speakers Scott Parkinson, First Assistant Coach of Royals FC, and Abby Smith, Utah Royals Keeper, both shared personal stories and reminded the audience about the importance of hard work and following your dreams.

Weber State University Compliance Director, Will Pridemore, then presented information about NCAA eligibility requirements, deadlines, and policies. Specific information about NCAA is available at NCAA Eligibility Center.

The following college coaches were seated on the coaches panel:

· Heather Cairns, Head Coach, Utah State University Women’s Soccer Program
· Tim Crompton, Head Coach, Weber State University Women’s Soccer Program
· Rich Manning, Head Coach, University of Utah Women’s Soccer Program
· Seth Trembly, Assistant Coach, Utah Valley University Women’s Soccer Program
· Jennifer Rockwood, Head Coach, Brigham Young University Women’s Soccer Program
· Ammon Bennett, Head Coach, Utah State Eastern Men’s and Women’s Soccer Programs
· Nuno Gourgel, Head Coach, Snow College Men’s and Women’s Soccer Programs
· Fred Thompson, Head Coach, Southern Utah University Women’s Soccer Program
· Mark Davis, Head Coach, Salt Lake Community College Men’s and Women’s Soccer Programs
· Elton Jazexhiu, Assistant Coach, Salt Lake Community College Men’s and Women’s Soccer Programs

The audience asked great questions, and some of the responses from the college coaches included:

- You play for a great club and have a lot of opportunities to showcase yourselves in front of us. Let us know when and where you’re playing, whether it’s a tournament, a club game, or a high school game, and we’ll come watch you.
- We are usually watching a specific player when we attend games; rarely do we show up and watch a game just to see who catches our eye.
- Be persistent in trying to contact us. The NCAA keeps imposing earlier restrictions on how early we can begin recruiting players, but you should keep trying to contact us. Email us and invite us to watch you play.
- Highlight videos are great, but we want to see your whole package. We want to see more than just your best; we want to see how you recover from making a mistake, how you react when a teammate makes a mistake, how you react after a bad call by a referee. Ideally, we want to see you play in person, but a video sparks our interest.
- Make sure your video is high quality.
- Your body language tells us a lot about you. We watch how you interact with your teammates, coaches, parents and siblings. We are looking at the whole person, not just the soccer player.
- We will talk to your club and/or high school coach if we want to know more about you.
- There’s really no need to use a scouting/profile service, especially if it costs money. Email us and invite us to watch you play. Attend our camps. We very rarely use those scouting services to find players. In fact, most of us refuse to use them unless we’re really having a hard time filling a specific position on our team.
- When you contact us, we like to see that you’ve done your homework and know something about our school and soccer program.
- We like to communicate with the player, not his/her parents, since it’s the player that we’ll be coaching. We understand that it’s awkward for teenagers to speak to adults, but that’s who we need to get to know, not the parents.
- We want to get to know you better, so tell us about yourself beyond your soccer abilities.
- Athletes who play multiple sports will likely not be able to play more than one sport in college. The cross-training is great, but choose one sport and focus on it.
- We need players who are coachable, not players who already know it all.
- Visit the campus and make sure the school you want to play for is a good fit for you.
- We look for players from a lot of sources, not only the top club or high school teams.
- We get satisfaction from seeing players grow and achieve success both on and off the field. It’s not just about winning games, though that is nice; it’s about seeing a player become their best.


La Roca College Night 2017 was held October 30, following the official grand opening and net-cutting ceremony of La Roca Park. About 150 players and parents attended the event.

Chris Wingert, Real Salt Lake defender, opened the event, and shared some personal stories about being the son of a professional soccer player. Chris played multiple sports throughout elementary and secondary school, eventually focusing on soccer. His advice: “Do what you love.”

Will Pridemore, Director of Compliance for Weber State University, reviewed NCAA eligibility guidelines and academic requirements. For more information, visit

The college coaches panel consisted of the following college coaches:

  • Heather Cairns, Utah State University, Women’s Head Coach
  • Meagan Thunell, Weber State University, Women’s Assistant Coach
  • Rich Manning, University of Utah, Women’s Head Coach
  • Tony LeBlanc, Westminster College, Women’s Head Coach
  • Mark Davis, Salt Lake Community College, Women’s and Men’s Head Coach
  • Michael Chesler, Utah Valley University, Men’s Associate Head Coach
  • Jennifer Rockwood, Brigham Young University, Women’s Head Coach
  • Nuno Gourgel, Snow College, Women’s and Men’s Head Coach
  • Fred Thompson, Southern Utah University, Women’s Head Coach

The following advice was shared by coaches in response to questions from the audience:

  • Create a player profile with all the important personal information (height, weight, graduation year, school, position, jersey number, club team, GPA). Also create a short (4-5 min) highlight video, and include a link to your video.
  • Attend ID camps at college campuses you’re interested in attending.
  • Keep trying to contact coaches; they cannot contact you, so they cannot return a phone call.
  • Choose the college that is the best choice for you and your family based on location, cost, and academic programs, not just the soccer coach or team.
  • Coaches want to know how a player will handle academics, because after playing soccer you still need an education. You’re there to get a degree, not just play soccer.
  • Coaches look at more than just a player’s athleticism; they want players that do well in everything else, not just soccer.
  • Most players now are recruited, as opposed to selected from a tryout. Transfer students might be invited to a tryout.
  • There are opportunities for every player who wants to play college soccer, whether Division I, II, III, or Junior College. You just need to work hard.
  • Club coaches can help players know what type of school they could play at; what would be the best fit for them.
  • Even high school sophomores can visit schools and contact coaches. Ask to watch a practice, meet some of the players. Try to schedule an appointment with the coach and ask questions about the program. It’s important to meet the coach so you know if you like them.
  • The best way to get noticed is to send an email to a coach and invite him/her to watch you play at a tournament. Send them the schedule as soon as it’s available, with all the details (field location, your team, your position, your jersey number). Then follow up. Send a player profile and keep it current. Attend ID camps.
  • Visit the campus, not just the soccer field, so you can check out the school and make sure it’s a good fit for you. Go on a campus tour.
  • Figure out what makes you special and separate from the other players on the field.
  • Coaches want the player that’s going to be the best player when they’re 22, not necessarily 16. It’s hard to know how a player will be when they grow and mature.
  • Best time to create a player profile is in 11th or 12th
  • Be your best and try to get on a coach’s radar. They’ll see what you can do, and that may or may not be what they need at that time on their team.
  • Enjoy it! High school is fun, but college is awesome!