Abigail attended one of the EXACT SoCal camps with the intention to play and meet the Northwestern coach. She loves Chicago. Earlier in the year as a present for all her hard work and dedication, I gave her a late birthday present of a trip to Chicago on St Patrick’s Day to see her favorite group Fifth Harmony. It was a 75* day. City was alive like it usually is and she fell in love. So, figuring out how to go to school in Chicago became a priority.
Back story, she was on a bit of a rebound so to speak. She spent the previous 6 months being courted by the University of Arizona. The deal broke down and she was left heartbroken. Chicago was there for her wounded heart.
However, in the time of her writing the coach and the camp beginning, Northwestern had signed a 2018 GK. Kudos to the Northwestern coach Shannon Neely, who saw a potential to match make. She let Katie Hutlin know, then of IL, that Abigail was interested in attending school in Illinois, but she was filled up in that position. Katie met Abby and they hit it off instantly and Katie called Abby’s coach the next day after camp and insisted she come to campus and “they really like her” etc. So we go and sign up for their ID camp later in the Fall. Abby loves it. Jeff Freeman and Janet Rayfield were awesome and professional. It all seems to be making sense. Abby had a great camp. Enjoyed herself immensely and loved the rich history of the University. In the following weeks, Janet and or Jeff were communicating with Abby’s coach that an offer is coming any day. WELL, Katie leaves and takes a job at Oregon. The former Penn St GK coach is hired. We were told that he would be bringing one of his own recruits with him to Illinois and we get the Dear John voicemail from Jeff. Meanwhile, Abby writes everyone saying how she wishes it would’ve worked out, but good luck including to Katie who is now settled in Oregon. Katie calls Abby’s coach and asks if Abby would consider Oregon. That has always been Abby’s first choice, but with coach changes and little response back from Oregon in the past we felt it wasn’t a possibility. Katie looks into it more with head coach and all the GK money is used for the years in and around Abby’s class. No chance.
SO, how did Ab’s Exact story turn out to be a positive one? Weeks prior to camp, Abby’s side played up an age group against Beach FC at Surf Cup. Beach FC was coached by Jeff Joyner. Abby shut them out in her half of action and Jeff recalls telling his bench “we better not let them score because we aren’t scoring against this keeper”. Exact camp comes up, Jeff watches her train at the camp and calls Abby’s coach afterward to express interest. Erin Sharpe, Abby’s coach, reminds Jeff that she played against him. Light goes off, he puts two and two together. However, Ab was engaged with University of Illinois and maybe the University of Oregon still. Jeff lets Abby’s coach know they want to meet Abby on campus. When the other schools fall through we have Abby’s coach call Long Beach and let them know we are still interested. Abby and her mom visit campus a few weeks later. Deal comes and she commits. Jeff and Mauricio Ingrassia were and have been wonderful during this whole process. I couldn’t be more confident and proud to send my daughter to Long Beach State to be a 49er under their tutelage and watchful eye.
Funny thing is looking back at Abby’s original “Dream 10 schools” list created before the recruiting process begun for her. Long Beach was sitting at #4. Felt like it was meant to be, but only doable because of her attendance at EXACT.