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Hi, my name is Sam Brotherton and I graduated from Westlake Boy’s High School last year. Recently I signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer and study at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Currently I am involved with the NZ U20 Football team and am apart of the All Whites Squad to face South Korea this April.
Being serious about both my academics and my soccer I decided early on in high school that attending an American University would be a great fit for me. I signed up with Play Atlantic in early 2013, the beginning of my sixth form year, to help try and make this goal a reality. My family and I decided that this process would be very daunting to undertake on our own and therefore enlisted Play Atlantics help.
Charlie helped me to create an online profile including videos and transcripts that would allow me to market myself to potential coaches. Charlie and Jo then promoted and put me in touch with various coaches; directly talking to these coaches improved my understanding of college athletics and allowed me to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their universities. Play Atlantic also helped guide me through my SATs, the NCAA Eligibility centre and finalising scholarship offers. Having Jo to negotiate with coaches on my behalf was hugely beneficial as he had a great knowledge of the scholarship restrictions and financial aid opportunities available to college coaches. Often I was anxious and stressed about the whole process, which took almost two years, however Jo and Charlie always assured me that everything would work out.
Ultimately, in December last year I received two scholarship offers from Division 1 programs within a week. Once I heard of Wisconsin’s interest I was sold on their world-renowned academic reputation and their soccer program on the rise. I am extremely excited to compete in the Big Ten conference, with great coaches and amazing facilities. In February this year I was privileged to have Coach Trask from Wisconsin come down to New Zealand to visit my family and I. Play Atlantic helped to finalise coaches itinerary and host him while he was here. Even now the process isn’t finished and I am currently working on housing requests, gaining a student visa and receiving amateur status from the NCAA.
I now cannot wait until August when my American adventure will begin. Finally, I must thank Jo, Charlie and everyone at Play Atlantic for providing me with this amazing opportunity.