Chapter 59: THE ALUMS – ROOKIE: Surviving Your Freshman Year of College Soccer
There’s a pretty good chance that at some point during the year you’re going to encounter some type of alumni function. A bunch of people who look like they might have once been athletic are going to descend upon your program for a weekend and do whatever the heck they feel like doing. Meet your soccer alumni.
One weekend a year they get to come to town and tell everyone how much harder it was back when they played and how soft the current players have gotten. Don’t worry about it. Fifteen years from now you’ll be doing the same thing. These alums built what you walked into. They’ve earned a voice. And most importantly, their presence shows that they care about the program and that they want to stay connected.
Some players dread alumni functions. Let me tell you something; those players are idiots. Those players are blind to the opportunities that these alums can provide. If a 35-year-old is coming back to your university to kick around a soccer ball, it’s only because she is passionate about the university and the soccer program. And that, my dear rookie, is a person that you want to know!
A well-organized alumni association is a thing of beauty. It’s like the team-after-the-team. But instead of getting together to kick around a soccer ball, you get together to take vacations and find jobs and start businesses and plan weddings and raise money when there’s been an emergency. When you graduate from college, very few of your teammates or classmates will be in much of a position to help you. They’ll still be young and looking to find their own stride. They won’t have many connections in the real world. Your alums on the other hand, well a lot of them are settled into great jobs and have a million connections and the one thing they desperately long to do is to help other soccer players from their university. I’m not making this stuff up! Your soccer alums can be some of the most powerful allies you’ll ever know, but only if you actually get to know them.
You’ll be a college soccer player for just four years, but you’ll be a soccer alum for the rest of your life. When your alumni function rolls around, don’t sit in a corner being afraid of the old people and looking to skip out at the first chance. They’re not actually zombies. Introduce yourself with a smile and ask what the soccer program was like back in the old days. They’ll be happy to share their war stories with you. Those alums will latch on to you and they will remember you and they will look forward to staying in touch with you and when that happens, something good just happened to you.
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