My Season Review by Holly Rawcliffe

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After a lot of time to reflect, recover and review our season, I have decided to write this blog giving an overview of what we achieved during the fall of 2017. We ended our season with a 17-3-1 overall record, and there were definitely many highs and lows encountered. Looking back, starting off with an overtime loss to Lenoir Rhyne was not what we expected, but it was taken as more of a positive than a negative. We knew that we were in for some tough games during the season and that was proved to us right off the bat. After that disappointment, we bounced back and managed to win 14 of our next 16 games, drawing one of the other two, and losing one. The game we drew was against Queens University of Charlotte, and was arguably the most competitive game I have played in since coming to Limestone. We definitely felt like we should have won that game, but to be fair to Queens they gave us a really good game. It was definitely a very enjoyable game to play in.

The game prior to Queens was away at our rivals Belmont Abbey and we managed to clinch the regular season title after winning 2-1. After losing the deciding regular season championship game 2 years ago we felt it was our chance to get revenge and we definitely did this. Our final regular season game saw us grind out a 1-0 win at Erskine and then we were ready to go into tournament play. We were playing well going into conference tournament, and we knew we had to keep our standards high to achieve the 3-peat we were looking for. As cliché as it sounds, anything can happen in tournament play, and so we knew we had to stay focused. We ended up playing Erskine twice in three days as we faced them again in the first round of conference tournament. As hard as it is to beat teams twice, we knew that playing them on our home field gave us an extra advantage. We came out 2-0 winners in that game and advanced to the semi-finals. North Greenville University awaited in the semi-final, after a tough first half against a solid NGU defense, the game opened up in the second half and we put 3 more goals in to run out 4-0 winners.

We went into the final of the tournament feeling confident, we were ready to play our game and win our third championship in a row. Lees-Mcrae College stood in our way. In the first half we had our chances to take the lead but could not convert, but we managed to get the deciding goal just four minutes into the second half. A third championship in the same amount of years was ours and we could finally celebrate. This win meant that we had an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, and we learnt that we would travel to Columbus State University, GA, to face Flagler College. It would be the battle of the Saints and we were ready for the test. The feeling in and around the team was one of positivity, optimism; we felt like we could go there and win. Unfortunately we fell at the first hurdle, we lost the game to Flagler and therefore our season was over. The score line reads a 3-0 loss for us, but that was not a true reflection of the game. It is easy to say now, but we should have been 2 or 3 nil up inside the first 20 minutes. The game should have been over but unfortunately we could not convert. At the end of the day, Flagler took their chances and we didn’t. It was a very hard pill to swallow and the team was very disappointed.

After a successful season we could not advance in the national tournament. However, we know that these tough games and these losses only build us; it gives us something to work on. We are back now for Spring 2018 and are ready to work hard towards our next goals. Click here to read more about Holly and her time in the States.

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Womens Soccer Scholarships USA

University of Montevallo 2014-2015 season

University of Montevallo 2014-2015 season

Womens Soccer Scholarships USA

Well it has been a fantastic start for our girls who have gone over to America and Canada. It is very early days but to know all the girls are having a fantastic time and also contributing to the teams they are playing for is great to hear.

With Soccer Smart taking time to really get to know the standard of football and the level of player required at the universities in America and Canada this has really helped us be successful in placing the right players with the right teams.

I want to take this time for you to think about what a Scholarship in America or Canada or even a placement in Australia for a year can do for your futures and careers. Having had the chance to play and live in another country for a period of four and half years, I have found that this has been fantastic in my individual development and given me the springboard I needed to be where I am now.  All that a student athlete or semi professional player will experience in the countries that we offer are invaluable. They will learn how to deal with good, bad and indifferent situations, they will gain confidence in themselves whether that be academically, on and off the football pitch (soccer pitch).

Having spent that time over there I know it was the best years of my life up to date. I lived with other student athletes that were from all over the world, and it gave me a chance to learn about different cultures, I made friends with people from different countries and for which I am entirely grateful.  I have been in contact with all the players that Soccer Smart sent out and the coaches have been really happy with them and also all the players are loving it.

 If you are reading this and thought ‘I would love to do that’ or ‘I wish I did that’ it isn’t too late, the opportunities to play abroad are for many different people and ages and this is something that Soccer Smart caters for. Soccer Smart demonstrates honesty, hard work, time, care, support and guidance to all our players. Each player is different that come through the doors of our office and we want to make sure that we provide the players/parents the relevant information and provide them with knowledge so that the players can make the right decision for them. We believe that anyone can achieve what they want to achieve given the right opportunity and experience, we are giving you exactly that.

The game for women’s soccer is getting bigger and bigger by the year and it is fantastic to see. One of our consultants Nicole Johnston spent several years at Everton Ladies FC before heading out to America for her Soccer Scholarship where she spent majority of her four years at a University in Alabama.  Since graduating in May 2015 Nicole came home and started with Soccer Smart straight away. It is fantastic for our company to have an ex female student athlete, who can help guide and support the female players we have on our programme. We want to progress our Women’s side as we believe that there are plenty of Women soccer players who have the ability to play out in America and Australia.

Nicole Johnston, US Student Athlete Graduate, Soccer Smart consultant

Nicole Johnston, US Student Athlete Graduate, Soccer Smart consultant

If you are aged 17-29, you are a keen footballer and you have the desire to travel do not hesitate to get in touch. We do have a couple of showcases coming up throughout the remainder of this year and we will have plenty more for 2016.

I look forward to the possibility of working with you and Soccer Smart cannot wait to provide you with the opportunities that all the members of the Soccer Smart team have had themselves.

Thanks for reading,

Chris Anderson (Head Consultant)