This month Upper 90 College Asia Pacific was privileged to gain an inside view from one of our elite clients, into one of the largest self funded college athletic departments in the USA, Louisiana State University (NCAA D1). Our recruit Caitlin Cantrill from Canberra, Australia (Australian U17 Woman's National Team | ACTAS) committed to Louisiana State University (NCAA D1) mid 2015. Caitlin, who is a very talented attacker (No.7 or No.10), joined one of the largest college sports programs in the USA. LSU teams play in the highly regarded and competitive Southeastern Conference (SEC). Caitlin will be developing her game in 2016 and beyond against some of the very best NCAA D1 woman's soccer programs in the USA including Texas A&M, University of Kentucky, University of Florida to name a few.
LSU had a stand out season in 2015, currently ranked 40th in the National Women's NCAA D1 RPI, with a 13-6-4 record, while reaching the first round of the NCAA D1 Women's National Tournament bowing out to South Alabama. Cymantha Cantrill and husband Mark had very proudly attended the LSU orientation process in January 2016 alongside Caitlin, and provided this overview of her experience of the LSU women's soccer program, and the exciting journey ahead for Caitlin in one of the toughest athletic conferences in the USA women's college soccer system, the Southeastern Conference (SEC):
"The LSU transition program for incoming student athletes has been highly supportive. LSU has a Director of Operations and she looks after everything. She organizes the kit, scholarship paperwork, travel arrangements, campus accommodation, medical school, rosters, schedules etc. They also liaise with everyone else in LSU. For example, they arranged someone to hep Caitlin register for classes and prepare her class schedule. They have arranged a time where the whole team go together to get to their books. This high level of administration has made everything run so smoothly for Caitlin.
The soccer program is first class. The girls live together, train together and are encouraged to form strong social connections. It really is like one big family. To start the Spring Semester there are 4 new girls - 2 new girls and 2 transfers. Caitlin was provided with the other Freshman's numbers and they have already become friends. We have dined out with their family and the girls have done orientation together. The girls went to an LSU basketball game together with some other student athletes. It feels like they have been there for a much longer time. LSU are very big on the "Tiger Family" (LSU's mascot is a live Tiger named Mike) and I feel this at every avenue. Someone is always there to help you. The Southern hospitality is so warm and friendly.
The facilities are first class. The training field and playing field are immaculate. There is an indoor field, so training is never disrupted. The strength and conditioning area is massive and the head strength and conditioning coach is amazing. The girls do strength and conditioning in the same gym that the football team train in. The soccer center at the field contains the change room, physio center, media center, training room etc. these facilities are open to the girls 24/7 and girls are encouraged to visit there when they want some extra practice.
Caitlin was a bit nervous coming over. But since we arrived she is just so excited! The facilities are so easy to be impressed by. To be a LSU Tiger is a big deal here. To be a student athlete is bigger still. Caitlin is proudly wearing her gear and preparing to start training this week. Caitlin has made friends already and has been doing some activities with them which is great. It really is supportive, so there are so many people to help. Cailtin knows she picked the right place and feels really good. She is really excited to get started!"
Upper 90 College are very excited for Caitlin as she develop's herself academically and athletically under the watchful eye of Head Coach Brian Lee over the next 4 years.