RSL Academy soccer program churning out players with college scholarshipsDec 09, 2021 03:03PM ● By Justin Adams
Emily Blanchard dribbles the ball in a match against Herriman earlier this year. (Justin Adams/City Journals)
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
When it comes to high school athletics, there are all kinds of priorities a coach may have. They might emphasize just having fun, developing players or competing for state championships. For RSL Academy girls soccer coach Becky Hogan, it’s all about helping her players land college scholarships.
“I love watching girls go off and have experiences that without us, I promise they wouldn’t have had,” she told the Herriman Journal.
Prior to COVID-19, the girls soccer program had helped 80% of its graduating seniors land college scholarships, according to Hogan, an impressive mark for a school that’s still only a few years old.
“When we first started, the first year we had 176 students. Girls soccer had 22. Five of them had never even played. And then we had some girls that wanted to play at the collegiate level. It was a wild cross section of girls,” Hogan said.
Since that first year, the program has grown exponentially, both in numbers and talent level. Last year, a total of 70 girls participated across three different teams.
RSL Academy High School’s unique athletic offerings—large indoor training spaces, online classes and soccer-focused P.E. classes that allow girls to train year-round—have empowered the team’s players to develop at a rapid rate.
“What we see over the course of the year is that players improve so much…That’s the best part, seeing kids come here with dreams of playing college soccer and we give them the vehicle to become better at soccer,” Hogan said.
The high school’s flexible approach to learning also helps students when it comes to the college recruitment process. Players can go on road trips to visit potential colleges or play in college showcases while staying on top of their homework through online learning.
“They don’t miss a beat. They never fall behind so they can keep their academic integrity,” Hogan said.
As much as her program has already grown, Hogan sees room for even more. The biggest obstacle? A lot of people just don’t realize that RSL Academy is an option, particularly for the girls’ side.
“A lot of people think it’s only for boys or that you have to be recruited or that you have to pay money. There are all these misperceptions about the school when really it’s just a charter school.”
While Hogan would love to see the program become a soccer powerhouse in the state, her primary focus is just helping as many girls as possible achieve their dreams, regardless of accolades at the high school level.
“They don’t even have to be the best soccer players. I would just like more girls to come here who I can help get from A to B,” she said. “I would love any girl who wants to follow her dreams to come here and have us help her.”