Editor's Note: With the recruiting process starting earlier and earlier, ESPNHS asked Class of 2013 prospect Emily Geyer to share her recruiting story that recently ended with a verbal commitment to Notre Dame, her dream school.
To say that my journey to college soccer has been anything short of a roller coaster ride would be inaccurate. It was a journey that began long before I went to my first college showcase event or my first conversation with a college coach.
It began the moment I stepped onto the field to play soccer when I was 5 years old. It has been a journey filled with ups and downs, successes and failures, but most of all, hard work. It was that hard work that forced me to push through obstacles to achieve what many girls have dreamed of, what I have always dreamed of, committing to play soccer at the University of Notre Dame.
My experience at the Olympic Development Program (ODP) Regional Camp in June of 2009 was one of my roller coaster rides. On the last day of camp, I was sitting in my dorm room at Northern Illinois University -- exhausted from the week, thinking that a few more days in DeKalb could help me reach my goal of playing college soccer just hours away at Notre Dame.
I was prepared to go home the following day. I figured my chances of playing in the A Pool game, let alone holding over in the Region II Regional Pool, were slim because I had not been selected for the A Pool all week. The roller coaster seemed to be on the way down for me.
I was setting out my sweats and t-shirt for the next day’s long bus ride back to Dayton with my Ohio South teammates when I heard some commotion in the hall. The lists had been posted for the A Pool game the next day, and I was playing. My jaw dropped immediately.
But as I looked at the list, I saw my name clearly printed and I remembered how hard I had worked all week at camp to be given a chance -- and here was my opportunity. I was ecstatic, rushing to tell my three roommates who were all playing in the game as well.
My fellow “A Pool Gamers” and I got our sleep and rose early the next morning, taking our bags with us, knowing well that participating in the A Pool game did not guarantee a spot at Holdover Camp.
As the start whistle neared, the sidelines swelled with college coaches and the rest of the players at the camp. We were split into teams and I was told I would be playing outside midfield -- fortunately in my comfort zone -- but later I was moved to outside back where I was not so comfortable. However, I made the most of my time on the field.
Once we got cleaned up, we filed into the meeting area where they had already begun to announce holdover selections. The next thing I knew my name was announced, and I tried to act calm and collected as I stepped over with the other holdovers. My hard work had paid off. ODP provided additional training with the best players in Region II, which would lead to other opportunities, like Interregional Camps in Florida and California and the chance to play soccer in Germany and Holland.
I knew ever since I went to soccer camp at Notre Dame when I was 10 years old that it was the place I wanted to be. If I wanted to make that dream a reality, though, I knew I had to work extremely hard at soccer and academically. The challenges of the recruiting process itself: In high school, the topic of college began to become a more frequent consideration.
Slowly at first, the process began, starting with the appearance of coaches at my team’s Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) games. Then I began receiving e-mails with questionnaires to complete. Due to strict NCAA restrictions, communication with schools was fairly difficult. As I began my junior year of high school, I started to narrow down my list of schools where I could see myself playing soccer. I made sure to keep in constant contact with these schools, visiting campuses, calling, and e-mailing the coaches and going to watch the teams play. It has been quite a ride.
I’ve faced challenges on the way, such as being cut from my club’s top team at u10, not making Holdover Camp my first year at ODP Regional camp, and having to give up track, and then varsity basketball, to pursue my goal. I even played club soccer instead of playing for my high school because I wanted to have the highest level of training possible.
There have been those who questioned my decision to play for my club rather than for my high school and one sport rather than three, but it has all been worth it and I’ve had such a journey that I would not trade it for anything. My Ohio Premier team, which is one of the top teams in the country, is my second family and we push, challenge, compete with and support each other in every training session. Ohio Premier, and especially my club coaches over the years, has given me the opportunity to further my goals to play at the highest level of soccer. The ECNL has also presented such a great platform for girls like me to play against the best of the best in the nation and given us something truly special to work towards.
The work does not stop now, though.
I’m excited to be part of a tremendous program where Coach Randy Waldrum has led Notre Dame to two National Championships.
Nobody said the work would be easy, but I know it will be worth it.