Recruiting Camp A Success

Action, inside UNB's BMO Centre dome, from a recent women's soccer recruit identification camp. (PHOTO: James West/for UNB Athletics)
Action, inside UNB's BMO Centre dome, from a recent women's soccer recruit identification camp. (PHOTO: James West/for UNB Athletics)

(FREDERICTON, NB) Some came from here, some came from not so far, and some came from very far, but all came with the same goal.

All came hoping to catch the eye of a coach.

Dozens of soccer players, some from as far away as British Columbia, Wisconsin and Texax, were on campus last weekend, training and playing inside UNB’s BMO Centre dome… and coaches from both UNB teams, women’s and men’s, were watching their every move.

“It allowed us to see the next three years of recruits,” said Jon Crossland, head coach of the REDS’ women’s soccer team. “We’ve now seen them all play on video or in person, but the chance to spend time together shows us the type of person they are and shows them what our group is like as players and people.”

“With our team, facilities and campus, giving players a chance to get to know who we are is a really strong selling feature,” said the head coach of the REDS’ men’s team, Barry Morrison.

36 potential recruits took part in the identification weekend. The prospects were run through a series of training sessions and games with current members of the REDS’ teams.

It gave coaches a chance to see the recruits up close and assess how each could potentially impact their rosters.

“This helped us increase exposure for our program to players from across the country,” said Morrison. “Seeing them in a competitive environment with our current squad allows us to better understand what their university career can look like.”

“It’s important for student-athletes to be on a campus where they could spend the next four or five years,” said Crossland. “This experience needed to check boxes in sport, school and community. We used this identification camp to showcase all three.”

This is about the only time of year when recruit identification camps can be held, so the BMO Centre dome is a key feature.

“It’s invaluable,” said Crossland. “It allows us to train year-round, but also allows our student-athletes to get in and work-out on their own, develop on their own time. The timing was good too, as UNB and BMO have just announced their continued partnership around our soccer programs.”

UNB isn’t alone in hosting an event like this, but the REDS had little trouble in drawing interest.

“We found that players were really excited about the opportunity to come to UNB,” said Coach Morrison. “Of the 30 players our men’s team invited, 19 were able to attend. Another five will visit us later.”

Both coaches used current members of their teams to test the prospects and help sell the UNB experience.

“They’re the story-tellers, the experienced students, the motivated athletes,” said Coach Crossland. “We had some great feedback from players and parents about the environment our current student-athletes helped create during the weekend. And our current student-athletes are excited about the quality of their potential future teammates.”

“It’s important for someone who is considering coming here to get close to our current team members and feel their welcome and experience their motivation to reach the next level,” said Morrison.

Tom Pheulpin, an assistant coach with the men’s team and the team’s lead recruiter, played a big role in organizing the event.

Pheulpin, a former REDS student-athlete, came to UNB from Texas.

“He’s been a great addition to our program,” said Coach Morrison. “He took the lead on this, and it was a great initiative for both our men’s team and our women’s team.”

“UNB has so much to offer academically,” adds Crossland. “The campus is beautiful, and the city is supportive. When you combine that with good soccer programs, UNB can be an attractive option.”

Both coaches say they expect a number of ID camp participants to make a commitment to UNB in the near future.

Plans for a similar weekend, in 2024, are already being made.


STORY BY: Andy Campbell/UNB Athletics

PHOTOS BY: James West/for UNB Athletics