**Recruiting Horror Stories™ are posted every Tuesday to provide athletes’ first-hand experiences of what can go wrong during the recruiting process.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic instilled uncertainty and doubt in many high school athletes who were looking to play their sport at the collegiate level. Ben’s soccer recruiting story is a manifestation of the hurdles the pandemic created, but his ability to overcome those struggles teaches a very important lesson that all athletes can learn from.
In March of 2020, athletic programs throughout the country cancelled their seasons due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. This had major implications in the recruiting process for many high school athletes, and Ben Do was no exception.
Ben was a standout defender for the reigning NorCal CIF State Champion Bellarine Bells and was looking to continue his soccer career in college. By the time the pandemic hit during Ben’s junior year at Bellarmine, he was already talking to some schools and was ready to make his decision about where to play at the next level. The University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League soccer program, extended him an offer to play Division I soccer, but required him to submit his SAT scores before committing, which he did not have at the time.
Related school rating: University of Pennsylvania
Scramble to take the SAT
Ben was scheduled to take the SAT on March 7th 2020, but due to COVID, his test was cancelled. Knowing that his spot on the University of Pennsylvania team was in jeopardy since he had to turn in his SAT score, he scrambled to look for any location that was open to take a test. He searched for any location that would let him take the test in the coming months no matter how far it was. Fortunately, Ben was able to secure test dates in May, July, and August. He even scheduled a test in the state of Oregon in order to ensure that he would get a score to send to colleges.
Making a Choice
Ben had a big choice to make between taking the offer that was on the table from the University of Pennsylvania which could expire, or betting on himself to receive a better offer from another school. Ben could have easily sat back, given up on taking the SAT, and waited for another offer from another school, but his efforts and persistence to find a location where he could take the test ended up securing him a spot on the University of Pennsylvania soccer team, where he committed.
Ben recognized that no offer on the table should be taken for granted. Unforeseen circumstances and situations, like the pandemic, are not an excuse to not put in the effort to meet a school’s requirements during the recruiting process. All high school athletes should constantly be proactive in the recruiting process whether that be taking tests or communicating with coaches. Ben’s work ethic and effort during the pandemic secured him a spot to play the sport he loves at the collegiate level, which is a lesson that all high school athletes should learn and apply during their own recruiting process.