The Hudson Valley College Showcase is becoming a place to see and be seen
SHRUB OAK – There were more and more noteworthy combinations as the day unfolded, each one inspiring a sideways glance.
The goal here is to make a next-level impression.
More than 40 coaches from programs around the Northeast were expected to stop at the Hudson Valley College Showcase Camp for a look this week. There are 66 of the top boys players from the region on hand this year, learning new tricks and competing for attention.
“It’s a really fun experience,” said Nick Bassini, a senior goalkeeper from Lakeland. “There are kids from Section 1 and Section 9 so it’s fun to watch everyone play and come together. … It’s very competitive because everyone wants to put it out there for the college coaches.”
The camp debuted a year ago.
Lakeland coach Tim Hourahan, Mamaroneck coach Rich Becker and Somers coach Brian Lanzetta host the camp. Getting so many college coaches to come back for a second look further validates the depth of talent in the region.
“You have so many kids playing now,” longtime St. Thomas Aquinas head coach Graham Brown said. “Any chance to go ahead and see the kids playing, you should be going. There’s a lot of these around. Tim puts on a great show here. It’s a good facility. He brings great coaches in to do the clinic, so yeah, this is excellent.”
A wide majority of the coaches on hand are from NCAA Division III programs.
“There were some good players in the past, but I don’t know if there were enough to draw the college coaches we’ve been getting. The level of play in Section 1 is better than it was 10 years ago. I think the coaching in Section 1 is better than it was 10 years ago. The commitment to the game (is better). Section 1, if you talk to the college coaches here, it’s a definite hotbed.”
Many of the participants were hand-picked to ensure a high level of play.
They each paid $250 for three days of exposure and instruction. A different college coach ran a 90-minute training season each day. There were scrimmages and 11-on-11 matches with officials along with a Thursday recruiting seminar for players and parents.
A scary heat index forced the schedule for Saturday to be moved up, but the camp will still conclude with an all-star game.
“I don’t know the saying, how it goes, but when you play against someone who is better, you become as good as them or better than them,” said Jose Giron, a senior forward at Somers. “You learn from them. You learn from your mistakes and they tell you what you can do better.”
The competition for roster spots is fierce. According to the latest NCAA numbers, only 5.5 percent of the 456,362 boys soccer players in the U.S. last season made the jump to a college roster.