West Coast College Showcase 2018 Info Plus Advice for Succesful College Recruiting from Nick Cucak
Providing opportunities for youth soccer players to learn and discover lifelong success — these are the goals of the top College Showcases in America. Collegiate soccer plays an important role preparing youth soccer players for their life after the field and, for the top elite, it can serve as a pathway to the pros.
Soccer Tournament News: The West Coast College Showcase 2018 takes place on March 24 and 25 at the Great Park in Irvine, CA. Hosted by OC Surf Soccer Club, this elite player showcase will attract more than 100 colleges. Nick Cucuk, who earned Cal South’s Competitive Coach of the Year in 2014 spearheads this competitive event along with Kathleen Deane and Gus Castaneda.
SoccerToday’s Diane Scavuzzo interviewed Nick Cucuk to discover more about this upcoming College Showcase and gain his valuable tips on recruiting.
Diane Scavuzzo: As youth soccer has evolved, why are college showcases so important?
Nick Cucuk: College Showcases are a great way of playing in front of numerous coaches at one location and not having to fly all over the states to every ID Clinic from coast to coast. So we bring the coaches to you.
Diane Scavuzzo: When did you first start the West Coast College Showcase?
Nick Cucuk: The West Coast College Showcase was started four years ago and since our first event over 39 players have received offers to colleges after our event.
Diane Scavuzzo: College recruiting is so competitive – what advice can you share with our readers?
Nick Cucuk: The best tip I could give both boys and girls who want to play collegiate soccer is to make sure you are communicating through email with the college coaches of your choice.
It is important to reach out to the coaches and invite them to your games at the showcases.
Start with a list of 10 to 15 colleges/universities that you would like to possibly play at, but it is important to remember to make sure that the schools are ones that you would choose based on the academics they offer first and then the soccer program.
It is also important to try to keep a G.P.A. of at least a 3.5 or higher and make sure to score as well as possible on the ACT /SAT exams.
Diane Scavuzzo: What makes your event special?
Nick Cucuk: Our College Showcase is special for three reasons
- All games Boys and Girls played at one location — at the OC Great Park in Irvine, CA
- We work hard to help the college coaches identify the top players — from all the clubs. We want to always assist college coaches to see the players who we feel should be looked at closely.
- The college coaches who come to recruit are from fantastic schools, both academically and soccer-wise.
Diane Scavuzzo: What colleges/universities are expected to attend?
Nick Cucuk: This is just a few schools that will be attending the event: University of San Francisco, Sonoma State, UCSD, UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State San Marcos, UC Riverside, USD, Concordia University, Claremont McKenna, and many more.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the format?
Nick Cucuk: All of our games are 40 min half’s giving every team a full 80 minutes per match to show their soccer skills. Every team has a 3 game guarantee. March 12th is the deadline to apply to participate in the Showcase.
Diane Scavuzzo: How long have you been coaching youth soccer?
Nick Cucuk: I’ve been coaching at West Coast Futbol Club for over 16 years now and have attended well over 75 college showcases over the years.
I was fortunate to have been brought up in soccer where the roots of the game in California began — back in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s — in a little town called San Pedro.
My father owned and ran one of the best semi-pro soccer teams in the United States called the San Pedro Yugoslav Americans where many of today’s college coaches and club coaches once played.
I started playing semi-pro at the age of 14 and then, after high school, took off to Europe as the youngest American soccer player to sign a professional contract with a European club in Yugoslavia.
When I returned to the U.S. because of the Yugoslav Wars — which ended my soccer career — I decided to get involved in coaching youth teams and sharing my knowledge of the game.
My son is currently playing at Sonoma State College for a fantastic coach named Marcus Ziemer and I’m proud to say when he was choosing the school, he made the decision on his own based on what I mentioned above:
Choose a College by Academics First and then the Soccer Program.