Coaches Shop For Future Recruits On Black Friday At PepsiCo Showdown College Showcase

By Bob Narang

Carthage College women’s soccer coach Sara Meyer did go shopping on Black Friday.
Instead of looking for electronics or home items, Meyer went in search of soccer players for her program.

After Carthage finished this season with a 10-7-1 record, Meyer spent part of Friday at the 15th Annual PepsiCo Showdown College Showcase at The Max in McCook.

The one-day event featured more than 300 high school prospects, ranging from underclassmen to seniors from all over Illinois.

“This is a great opportunity for the women and men to be seen by college coaches, and hopefully it leads to them finding the right school and right fit,” Meyer said.

The six-hour showcase was split between three-hour boys and girls sessions. Meyer, who noted she has attended the large showcase many times throughout the years, tried to make the most of her time by watching two of the four fields playing at once side by side.

“It’s nice to be able to see players getting great touches on the ball and play against great competition from all over Illinois at one site,” Meyer said. “There are some really good players. This event does a great job with the small details to help everyone involved.”

Dominican University men’s assistant soccer coach Ben Boyd gravitated toward the goalie combine, watching prospective recruits handle the rigors of working under esteemed goalie coach Stan Anderson, a top-flight college and professional goalie trainer of nearly three decades.

“This is a great opportunity for goalies to be able to showcase themselves and great for college coaches to see a player in a multiple-type environment,” Boyd said. “By having the goalie go through the goalie combine, too, it allows us to get a better picture than to only see them for five minutes at some showcase event, where a goalkeeper may only touch the ball once or twice in a game.

“(CampShutOut.com owner) Stan Anderson is one of the best coaches around. I know any event that he’s putting on is worth going to.”

Benedictine University men’s assistant coach E.J. Kirn, a former goalie at Andrew and the University of Illinois-Springfield, was attending the showcase for the first time.

“This is a great environment just to get a bunch of players and college coaches together,” Kirn said. “From a keeper standpoint, we get to see their shot-stopping ability, and the players get to show off their technical abilities. It’s really a win-win for the players and college coaches.”

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