Richmond-Burton sophomore Amanda Hoglund hopes to play Division I soccer. She also knows the importance of club soccer.
When Hoglund found out Monday that a club level college showcase in New Jersey from May 25 through 27 would conflict with the high school state finals, she had a decision to make.
Hoglund chose the club tournament, and practices with her the Sockers FC Elite Clubs National Team heading into it, feeling that would be the best option she could choose to earn a college scholarship.
"My dream is to play college soccer and I need more looks," Hoglund said. "And this is where they find you."
Usually the top high school girls soccer players commit to a college during or just after their sophomore season, and Hoglund wants to be in that crowd.
Hoglund was the top goal scorer for the Rockets this season and helped her team to an undefeated regular season. She also led the team in goals last season, when the Rockets finished third place in the state.
College coaches tend to attend more showcase tournaments – where they can watch more high-level athletes at one time – than high school matches. At previous college showcases this year, about 70 coaches from schools across the country showed up to scout.
When the showcase dates were released, Hoglund's mother, Laura, noticed that it conflicted with the final weekend of the Class 1A soccer state finals.
The Hoglunds tried to work something out with the club team, seeing if she could fly to New Jersey and meet the team after playing with the Rockets, but Hoglund's mother said she was told club soccer regulations wouldn't allow it.
So Laura said she emailed R-B coach Chris Wagner on April 28 and informed him of the conflict. Wagner then met with Hoglund soon after and told the sophomore that May 3 would be her final day with the team.
"He told me that he completely understands and that the showcase was important to me and my future," Hoglund said of her conversation. "I was kind of shocked that I wouldn't be playing for them again this season."
"I understand that that's what's best for her and that she needs to play and practice with that club team to make an impact," Wagner said.
He also noted that having a consistent lineup throughout the postseason is beneficial, saying, "that was our thinking that that would be best for the team in the long run."