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How five student-athletes got recruited to Drexel | The Triangle

How five student-athletes got recruited to Drexel

Kasey Shamis | The Triangle

Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

There are various paths and methods to getting recruited to a Division 1 university such as Drexel University. Athletes can attend events such as ID camps and college showcases, where they can participate in local and national events and gain exposure to college coaches. Another popular method is to work with companies that specialize in guiding athletes through the recruiting process, creating highlight videos and connecting them with college coaches. Additionally, athletes can take the initiative to reach out to coaches personally through emails or phone calls.

Every athlete has a unique story on how they were recruited to play their sport at Drexel. Here are the stories of five Drexel athletes.

Being a local from the Philadelphia area has its advantages. High schools and club teams in the area may already have connections to coaches and athletes in local universities. This was certainly the case for Liam Strain, a Philadelphian on the Men’s Rowing team. 

“I was recruited by the now head coach Matt Weaver as there are a couple of guys from my high school, La Salle High School, on the team. The process was exciting, I was able to go on an official visit and spend the night and hang out with the guys,” said Strain. 

In contrast, non-local athletes can have more barriers to overcome, as coaches are not as familiar with the high school and club teams in the area. When Cary, North Carolina native Colton Wade decided that he wanted to compete on Drexel’s Men’s Swim and Dive team, he reached out by himself. 

“I filled out a form on Drexel’s online athletic portal for Swim and Dive. The coaches Nathan [Lavery] and Eric [Ripley] emailed me. We had a lot of phone calls and emails back and forth, and eventually, I came on an official visit,” said Wade. “They offered me [a spot on the team] and I committed.”

International students often have different experiences when it comes to moving to the United States for athletics. One way this is possible is through agencies. These agencies, based in the student’s home country, help by reaching out to American universities on behalf of the students. 

Alessandro Capogna, who is originally from Frosinone, Italy, wanted to come to the US to focus on his studies while still being an athlete. He is currently a member of the Men’s Soccer team. 

“When I was in Italy, playing for a semi-professional club, I realized matching university and soccer was a really hard challenge. During the same period, I received a message from an Italian agency that takes care of Italian athletes who wanted to move to the US to start a ‘study-sport’ oriented experience, and I said to myself, ‘why not?’”

Capogna explained that most European universities do not have programs that support student-athletes, and since he wanted to study and play soccer, moving to America was a logical step.

“Matching a soccer career with university studies is really difficult in Europe, while in the US the two things often go together. For this, it was an easy choice. Drexel asked my agency [for players] and I was one of the profiles they shared with them,” said Capogna. “I received Drexel’s offer in the winter of 2022 and in the next summer I was already enrolled and ready to immerse myself in this new adventure.”

For some athletes, picking the right college was just as important as being able to play the sport they love. Women’s Lacrosse player Alexys McClain, from West Chester, Pennsylvania emphasized this, explaining how she found her way to Drexel. 

“I ended up playing at Drexel for the amazing education opportunities, especially the co-op. Along with this, the lacrosse team was welcoming and a group of girls I knew I could connect with. The recruitment process . . . [is] a challenge for everyone, but ultimately I stuck to the three things I wanted in a school to find the perfect fit,” McClain said.

Another athlete who prioritized a compatible university during recruiting was Devyn Demchak, a Women’s Softball player from Bath, Pennsylvania.

“I fell in love with the city school vibe after touring and learning what co-op was like at Drexel. Plus, it was an added bonus to get recruited to play the sport I love too.”

Many athletes acknowledged that the recruiting process is difficult but fulfilling. On top of being an athlete who can compete at the highest level, it also takes commitment and dedication to reach out to coaches, attend camps and tournaments and work to get recognized for their talent. This is all happening while making one of the most important decisions of their lives.