January College Recruiting Newsletter 2023

Welcome to the Kings Hammer January College Recruiting Newsletter! The club is excited to work with you to accomplish all of your player’s goals for this upcoming soccer year, on and off of the soccer field. Each month, we will be providing this resource to not only help you navigate the craziness that is the college recruiting process, but also provide personal development materials and resources to assist in growing individually while living a more purpose and value driven lifestyle. We hope you find value in this newsletter and we are excited to assist in this exciting process for your family!

College Soccer – Starting the Search

Do you think you may want to play college soccer? If you are reading this, there is a high likelihood that the answer is yes! Chances are there may be more opportunities to play at the next level than you may think. With proper planning, preparation, and research, each athlete can find a school and level of soccer that fits what they are looking for in all aspects of their collegiate life. Believe it or not, there are over 1200 men’s soccer programs and 1400 women’s soccer programs that allow athletes to continue their soccer playing careers in college. Below are the number of teams in each division:

Men’s Soccer

  • NCAA Division 1- 205 Programs
  • NCAA Division 2- 206 Programs
  • NCAA Division 3- 415 Programs
  • NAIA- 188 Programs
  • Junior College- 217 Programs

Women’s Soccer

  • NCAA Division 1- 348 Programs
  • NCAA Division 2-255 Programs
  • NCAA Division 3- 438 Programs
  • NAIA- 188 Programs
  • Junior College- 181 Programs

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is most likely the governing body for collegiate athletics that is the most familiar for potential student athletes. There are three divisions that make up the NCAA, and these were created in 1973 to align like-minded campuses in the areas of philosophy, competition and opportunity. To learn more about the NCAA and its divisions click here.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is another governing body of athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics. Since 1937, the NAIA has administered programs and championships in proper balance with the overall college educational experience. Each year more than 65,000 student-athletes have the opportunity to play college sports at NAIA member institutions. To learn more about the NAIA click here.

The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) has played a vital role in collegiate athletics for the past eight decades and continues to be at the forefront of championing academic and athletic opportunities for student-athletes. At NJCAA institutions, athletes will compete for 2 years before moving onto a 4 year institution to complete the remainder of their education and athletic eligibility if they choose to do so. To learn more about the NJCAA click here.

Each of these governing bodies for collegiate athletics offers potential student athletes a different experience. Competition, balance in lifestyle, location, and cost of attendance as well as financial aid opportunities are all differentiating factors among each division as well as each institution.

Having a better understanding of all options will only increase the chance that you will select the perfect fit for your college soccer experience!

Personal Development – Goal Setting

January has always been a popular time to look at making changes or improvements in our lives.  It seems like most people use the start of the new year to make resolutions, start new habits, or establish new standards.  So, what better time than now to be intentional about what you want to accomplish?

Whether related to soccer, school, relationships, or anything else, having goals that can help keep you on track and hold you accountable could make this your best year yet. Below are 8 tips on how to set goals that are unique to you and that will push you to heights that you didn’t think were possible this year!

  1. Start with WHAT-Ask yourself “what do I want to improve this year?” Whether it be in athletics, academics, or something else entirely, having an answer to this question will allow you to start the process of setting goals.
  2. Not too much-Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many goals! Setting 3-5 goals that are related to your specific improvement will allow you to maintain focus while challenging yourself to accomplish them.
  3. Make sure your goals are SMART
    • Specific– what exactly do you want to improve upon?
    • Measurable– how are you going to quantify success?
    • Attainable– can your goal actually be achieved?
    • Realistic– Can YOU specifically achieve your goal? Is it realistic to your development?
    • Time-bound– what is your timeframe for reaching your goals?
  4. Write down your goals and objectives. Having your goals in writing can help you to stay focused and reminded of what you want to accomplish and why you started in the first place.
  5. Create a plan to reach your goals. If you know where you want to finish, where are you going to start? Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
  6. Keep track of your progress and don’t be afraid to make changes. There are things that may come up that are out of your control, but always take responsibility of your specific situation and adjust your goals along the way if needed.
  7. Make it public-Let others know what you are working on. Knowing there are others around you (teammates, friends, family, etc.) that have goals of their own will help you to stay focused and push each other along the way.
  8. Always keep perspective. You may not reach all of your goals, but this does not mean you have failed in pursuit of being a better version of yourself. The most important thing to remember is enjoying the process of becoming better and striving to accomplish the goals!

Goal Setting Resources

SportsRecruits Monthly Help Links


College Commitments

  • CJ DeBra – Youngstown State University
  • Riley Arnold – Ohio Dominican
  • Ellie Greenwell – Ohio University
  • Zara Graff – Wright State University
  • Abby Unkraut – University of Georgia
  • Mia Fiore – Xavier University
  • Victoria Zappasodi – Cleveland State
  • Ella Smith – Miami University
  • Jordan Church – Arkansas State University
  • Amanda Schlueter – Ohio State University
  • Sophie Decker – Marian University
  • Ruby Dunlevy – Eastern Kentucky University
  • Margo Roberts – Ohio Dominican University
  • Olivia Parmer – Marian University
  • Emma Morrison – Kentucky Christian University
  • Shannon Ott – Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Rose Vigran – George Washington University
  • Jill Planeaux – Ohio Dominican University
  • Katie Hoog – Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Millie Cluxton – College of Charleston
  • Mia Jackson – Purdue University Fort Wayne
  • Chloe Morrison – Milligan University
  • Kalyn Rich – Baldwin Wallace University
  • Ella James – Baldwin Wallace University
  • Donna Bundy – Northern Kentucky University
  • Timothy Griffin – Northern Kentucky University
  • Aiden Byrd – Transylvania University
  • Avery May – University of Dayton
  • Caitlin Burger – Wright State University
  • Sophia Kuerze – Wright State University
  • Lainey Smith – University of Dayton

Remember to post your commitment to your Sports Recruits account and send commitment photos to so that you can be recognized for your achievements.

Tryout FAQ’s

How do I register for tryouts?
ALL soccer-athletes MUST COMPLETE the tryout registration online before participating in the tryout process. Click here to register now!

*Please make sure that you register online at least 24 hours in advance to ensure that the soccer athlete is in the system and we have your information to notify you after the tryout process.  There is a Registration Steps document on the Tryouts page that will walk you through the process. Each soccer athlete should attend both tryout days if possible. If you are unable to attend both days please reach out to the Program Director listed below.

Birth Years for the 2022/2023 Season
For the 2022/2023 season, Kings Hammer will follow U.S Youth Soccer’s guidelines and will organize its teams by birth year:

*Interested players must register to try out for their birth year.

Can my child play up an age group?
Any player playing up will be at the discretion of their respective director. All players need to register and attend the tryout for their correct age group.

What should I wear/bring to tryouts?
Please come prepared with a fully inflated soccer ball, proper footwear, shin guards, and water. Each prospective soccer-athlete will receive one free Kings Hammer Soccer Club tryout t-shirt with a tryout identification number on the back of the t-shirt.  Each prospective player will be identified by the identification number throughout the process and MUST wear this t-shirt at each tryout session for the 2022/2023 soccer year.

We will not be able to attend tryouts or are new to the area and missed tryouts. Is there a process in place to allow for an alternate tryout?
Yes! If you are not able to attend tryouts or missed the tryout dates, please register and then contact the Director for the Program/Age Group you wish to tryout for so that arrangements can be made. We also hold supplemental tryouts throughout the year. Roster openings may be limited after the initial tryout period.

What are the differences between Academy and Premier?
Our Academy provides a highly competitive environment for higher-level soccer athletes. This program provides those athletes with the best local training offered by our qualified and professional staff. Our Academy teams play at the highest possible level providing showcase opportunities to College, Professional, and National level programs.

The Premier Program is a community-based program. The Premier Program provides the opportunity for players to play other sports or have other interests outside of soccer. This program is designed to be flexible, convenient, and affordable.

Can I try out for multiple programs?
We encourage anyone who wants to tryout for all levels to do so. Current KHSC players can ask their coach/director for guidance if they are unsure about which program to tryout for. You will need to register for each tryout separately.

If I tryout for a program and don’t make it, can I try out for another program?
Yes. If you don’t make an Academy team, we strongly encourage you to tryout for a Premier team, attending tryouts for at least one day.

If you don’t make a Premier team, the Classic Program may be an option. Contact Michelle Okumura ( if you’d like to pursue this option.

Will there be more than one team in each age group?
Yes, when possible, there will be more than one team per age group, per program. It all depends on the number of players at tryouts and their skill level.

If my child doesn’t make the top team, can they move up during the year?
Yes, there may be opportunities to move up throughout the year as long as the coach/director feels it is in the best interest of the player’s development. There may also be opportunities to guest play across all levels.

What can I expect after tryouts?
After tryouts you can expect communication from the club in the form of an email.  (Please double-check that your email is correct in the PlayMetrics system, this is the email we use) This will either be an acceptance email, offering your child a position on a team, or an email letting you know that they should tryout for a different program. Players who are offered positions on a team may also receive a phone call from their coach. All communication will come within 24-48 hours of the end of the last tryout. You will then have 24 hours to either accept or decline your email before your spot is offered to another child.

What are the next steps if my child makes a team?

  1. If you are new to the club, you will receive more information regarding your uniform ordering in your confirmation email.
  2. If you are part of the Academy or Premier Programs, you will receive the link to Demosphere to register your child in the state system in your confirmation email as well.

How long is the season?

  • Academy
    • U11-U14: August-November, January-May (possible post-season in June)
    • U15-U19: November-May
  • Premier
    • U7-U14: August-October, March-May
    • U15-U19: November-December, March-May

My child is in middle school but plays on a U15 team. Will there be a fall U15 program for trapped players?
Yes, we will offer a program for trapped 8th graders for the fall season depending on interest. The program will run from August to October and is open to players that are currently in the 8th grade that will be playing on a U15 team starting in November 2022. Questions please contact:

Academy North: Ryan Handbury |
Academy South Boys: James Thomas |
Academy South Girls: Chris Black |
Academy Bluegrass Boys: Dan Ensley  |
Academy Bluegrass Girls: Megan Adkins |

Can a team come to the club and join as a team?
Yes! The team can join the Classic Program. For more information please reach out to Michelle Okumura at

Who is in charge of hiring coaches?
If you are interested in a coaching opportunity, please fill out the following coaching form –

Program Directors:

Academy North: Ryan Handbury |
Academy South Girls: Chris Black |
Academy South Boys: James Thomas |
Academy Bluegrass Boys: Dan Ensley |
Academy Bluegrass Girls: Megan Adkins |
Premier Xenia: Brent Lewis |
Premier North: Wil Cagle |
Premier Sycamore: Ryan Handbury |
Premier Central: Michael Ratliff |
Premier South: David Shemilt |
Premier Versailles: Brandon Cummons |
Premier Lexington: Fonyam Atanga |