Today our blog focuses on the success stories of the college athletes who turned pro. We focus on golf, athletics, soccer, swimming and tennis athletes as those are some of the sports we specialise in. You will learn about the difficulties race had on athletes as well as some other hardships these college athletes had to face to succeed in their sport codes. The blog also gives us a brief history on what these athletes achieved while at their respective colleges.
1. Golf - Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is one of the most recognisable household names whether it be for good reasons or bad. He is undoubtedly one of the greats in the game of Golf but not many people know about the two years he spent at Stanford University and that he was a student-athlete. During his two-year stint at Stanford, Tiger won many tournaments as well as winning the Stanford Male Freshman of the Year award, the Pac-10 Player of the year, and he was named an NCAA First Team All-American. Realising his potential, Tiger turned pro after only two years in college and the rest is History.
Other notable college golfers:
Arnold Palmer - Wake Forest University
Jordan Spieth - University of Texas
Phil Mickelson - Arizona State University
Bubba Watson - University of Georgia
2. Swimming - Ryan Lochte
When you think of great USA swimmers, people often think of Olympians like Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. Michael Phelps attended the University of Michigan but was not allowed to swim as he already had an endorsement with Speedo, which is banned by the NCAA. Ryan Lochte did attend college and is often referred to as "Michael Phelps' shadow"; however, Lochte still has a very impressive swimming CV, which he has carried through since his college days where he swam for the University of Florida. The Olympian's college records’ speak for themselves, as he was a seven-time NCAA champion, seven-time SEC champion and an All-American an impressive 24 times while at the University of Florida. Most recently, he made stunning headlines for his bad behaviour at the 2016 Rio Olympics that did not go according to plan.
Other notable college swimmers:
Missy Franklin - University of California, Berkeley
Joseph Schooling - University of Texas
Katie Ledecky - Stanford University
Janet Evans - University of Southern California
3. Track & Field - Jesse Owens
One of the few good memories from the Nazi German era was the four gold medals Jesse Owens won at the 1936 Berlin Olympics much to Hitler’s annoyance. Owens will be forever remembered for defying the odds and never giving up. He had a very successful college Athletics career at Ohio State University even though he had to deal with all the hardships of being a black person during that time. He had to stay in Blacks only hotels away from the rest of the team, eat at blacks only restaurants and he even had to have a job to pay for his education because black people were not awarded scholarships. Taking all of this into account he still managed to win a record 8 individual NCAA championships as well as break 3 World Records and tie a 4th while attending Ohio State University.
Other notable college Track and Field athletes:
Tyson Gay - University of Arkansas
Allyson Felix - University of Southern California
Monique Henderson - University of California, Los Angeles
Kerron Clement - University of Florida
4. Tennis - John McEnroe
McEnroe attended Stanford University on a tennis scholarship after becoming the youngest player ever to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon. He had a short but effective spell with the Cardinals where he guided the team to an NCAA championship. After only spending one year in college, McEnroe became a full time professional. "He is a young man who raised perfectly placed strokes to a high art form, only to resort to tantrums that smear his masterpieces like graffiti." This is how Pete Axthelm described the famous John McEnroe.
Other notable college tennis players:
Jimmy Connors - University of California, Los Angeles
Arthur Ashe - University of California, Los Angeles
Lisa Raymond - University of Florida
The Bryan Brothers - Stanford University
5. Soccer - Clint Dempsey
Clint Dempsey had a tough time getting to where he is today. Growing up in a trailer park and having no financial support from his parents, Dempsey thought his soccer career was over until his younger sister passed away. This tragedy inspired Dempsey to pursue a career in soccer. He attended Furham University where he was a crucial member of the Paladins side. During his three seasons at the University, he helped the side win two NCAA Championships where he scored 17 goals and made 19 assists.
Other notable college soccer players:
Hope Solo - University of Washington
Carlos Bocanegra - University of California, Los Angeles
Stuart Holden - Clemson University
Alexi Lalas - Rutgers University
You Can Make Excuses or You Can Make It Happen
In this blog we take a look into the biggest college stadiums in the USA. These stadiums are some of the biggest stadiums in the world and have existed since the early 1900s. College sport is huge in America where these stadiums attract thousands of supporters on a weekly basis.
10. Sanford Stadium
Sanford Stadium is a 92,746 capacity stadium at the University of Georgia, in Athens Georgia, named after the late Dr. S. V. Sanford; former president of the college. The stadium was opened in 1929 with the first football game being played between Georgia and Yale University. The hedges planted on either side of the field have been there since the beginning with the field often being referred to “between the hedges”, the hedges still exist today but had to be temporarily removed during the 1996 Olympic Games to make provision for the size of a professional soccer field. UGA the bulldog is the university mascot, after each mascot passes on, they are entombed and kept in the southwest corner of the stadium.
9. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is home to the University of Southern California football team and is a very historic landmark. The 93,607 capacity stadium is the only stadium in history to host two Olympiads, two Super Bowls and one World Series. Due to the stadium being the only college stadium to host an Olympic Games twice, the Olympic torch is lit before the fourth quarter of every home game. If you ever find yourself at one of the Trojans home games don’t forget to kick one of the flag poles on the way to the stadium. Take note of the USC Song Girls, they are the cheerleaders of the university and are almost more well known then the team itself due to their all-white outfits that will never change.
8. Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium
We now move east to Texas where we will look at the Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium home to the University o`f Texas Longhorn Football and Track & Field teams. The stadium has a capacity of 100,119 although in 2016 the capacity reached a record-breaking capacity of 102,315 for a football game against Notre Dame University. The stadium is also home to the massive Big Bertha bass drum which is transported onto the field for home matches from its north end zone, which is its permanent residence. Remember to belt out “The Eye of Texas” song while holding out your “Hook em’ Horns” hand sign if you happened to be at the stadium for one of the Longhorns home games.
7. Bryant-Denny Stadium
Carrying on with our journey east, we reach the Bryant-Denny Stadium which is situated in Alabama and is home to the University of Alabama Crimson Tide Football Team. The 101,821 capacity stadium was opened in 1929 where the Crimson Tide came up against Ole Miss. This huge stadium is made even more daunting to the opposition teams when the ‘Million Dollar Band’ leads the crowd with varies chants and war cries. The experience at this stadium is what makes it unique whether you are cheering the team at the walk of champions or singing the Rammer Jammer song at full-time, you are guaranteed to have a lot of fun. Just make sure the Crimson Tide is winning before you shout out the Rammer Jammer otherwise, you might upset the locals.
6. Tiger Stadium
“It’s Saturday night, in Death Valley” if you ask any LSU football fan what this statement means and they will tell you that it is game day at one of the most feared venues in college football, Tiger Stadium. This 102,321 capacity stadium is the home of the Louisiana State University Tigers Football Team. Tiger’s fans take pride in how tough the stadium makes for opposition teams that they even make sure the games are played in the evenings to make it even more intimidating than it already is. Thankfully they don’t put Mike the Tiger next to the opposition's locker rooms anymore, but you can still see him in his habitat across the road from the north end zone.
5. Neyland Stadium
Robert Neyland is often referred to as the best defensive coach ever and the University of Tennessee named their football stadium after their loyal coach who had three stints with the football team. The stadium has a capacity of 102,037 but has reached a crowd of 109.061 before. The Vol Walk is one of the traditions that must not be missed when visiting Tennessee, thousands of supporters pumping their team up on their way into the stadium and then finish your outing by cheering the team on while they run through the marching band's T formation.
4. Kyle Field Stadium
If you are all about spirit and tradition then a visit to Kyle Field Stadium, home to the Texas A&M University Aggies Football Team, is a must. The 102,733 capacity stadium has reached crowds of 109,000 plus and is regarded by many as the most intimidating stadium in America, the reason for this could be down to ‘the 12th man’. The 12th Man is the section of the stadium where the University students sit or should I say stand as they do not sit for the duration of the whole game and instead choose to make sure the stadium gets as loud as possible for their team. The 12th Man is helped by the Aggies band which is the largest military band in the USA.
3. Ohio Stadium
The most recognisable stadium in America and also one of the biggest. The Ohio Stadium has a capacity of 104,944 and is home to the Ohio State University Buckeyes Football Team. The distinctive horseshoe shape Stadium hosts one of the biggest college rivalries in the world when Ohio goes up against Michigan. Make sure you plan your trip to the stadium when this derby is played as you will see the tunnel of pride which is a tunnel formed by all ex-players of Ohio State to pump up their team against their greatest rivals. Take note of the bell tower which goes off after each home victory.
2. Beaver Stadium
Beaver Stadium home to the Penn State University Nittany Lions Football team is a 106,572 capacity stadium. The monstrosity of a stadium can be made even more daunting for the opposition team on white out day, on this day the whole stadium is dressed in white creating a reflection off the bleachers onto the field and is a must see if you are in the area over one of these game day weekends. Make sure you get to the stadium early as well so you can experience the tradition of the team arrival, where the team arrives on blue buses, each member of the team a has specific seats on the bus.
1. Michigan Stadium
Known as The Big House, the biggest college stadium of them all Michigan Stadium home of the University of Michigan Wolverines. The huge stadium can hold 107,601 people although it had a crowd of 115,109 people in 2014 for a game against Notre Dame, which now holds the all-time attendance record for a college or NFL game. The stadium doesn’t look as a big as it should when approaching it because three-quarters of it is below ground. When visiting the stadium make sure you do your research on how to participate in their crowd wave as it is not the same as the common crowd wave at sporting events. Make sure to shout as loud as you can when the home team runs through the tunnel to hit the famous "Go Blue" M Club Supporters Banner.
Leaving a positive impression is important when interacting with USA College coaches. Every facet of your profile should be carefully chosen to give them a reason to choose you, including your academics and community involvement. When it comes to highlighting your athletic capabilities, finding an accurate way to demonstrate your skills and stats can be tricky and sometimes inaccurate. To avoid leaving your future in a friend’s hands, we have put together a list of tests that many of our athletes used to get a head start.
Functional Movement Screening
Functional movement screening works on a ranking system which keeps track of your movement patterns that are key to body function. It helps to identify all the limitations and asymmetries that your body is harbouring. This score is used to track your progress and targets your weak areas. This test is great for athletes at any level of fitness and is often used by Biokineticists to create a treatment plan for musculoskeletal injuries and pain reduction.
VO2max testing is linked to aerobic endurance and measures the maximum amount of oxygen that you can utilise during intense exercise. Oxygen is used by your body to convert food into energy. Your VO2max is usually tested on a bicycle set-up. Good test results depend on your, fitness, sport and your body characteristics. If you can achieve the below scores, you are well on your way to peakfitness.
Body Composition Assessments
There are two tests to determine your body composition, namely; Hydrostatic Weighing and Air Displacement Plethysmography. Both measure your body density but are slightly different in process.
By using these tests in combination with your highlights reel, you will be able to demonstrate your value to a potential USA Coach. The Sports Science Institute of South Africa is leading the way in training for certain sports. Check out their website for a closer look or contact Monique at Sci-Fit Performance Centre for a full fitness assessment. Contact: Monique.firstname.lastname@example.org.