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Bruins Recruitment Refresh

Students are picked after they demonstrate their skills on the field. Photo: Maddie Peters

BJU Bruins coaches are ramping up their recruitment of Bruins players as the spring semester comes to a close, and they’re looking for athletes who bring more to the team than just a good athletic record.

Dr. Chris Carmichael, a faculty member in the Division of Natural Science and head coach for the women’s soccer team, attends six events between the business of fall and spring semesters including showcase tournaments, IMG Academy, Disney showcases, club tournaments and high school games. Carmichael teaches his players a more Spanish style of soccer which is indirect and possession-oriented. While Carmichael said he looks for a technique that fits that style of play, the personalities of team members can range widely. “I don’t want a cookie-cutter set of players,” he said. Carmichael also said he looks for a team player, rather than someone who is individually minded, which is a necessity for all Bruins teams.

“It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something.”

Brent Casteel, the head coach for the men’s baseball team, said he wants to bring students to the University who have a desire to know Christ better. Casteel said, “I’m not looking for a perfect person, because none of us are. But we want individuals that have a desire for [knowing Christ better].”

Casteel started recruiting two years ago for the first baseball season which took place this semester. He told 50 men who were already students in the University to come try out against high school graduate recruits in a two-day baseball tryout. Now half of the team is made up of new students and they’ve all spent the season learning to grow and learn together as a team.

“We live in a fallen world where for a group of people to come together to accomplish something really goes against the grain,” Matt Hotchkin, the head coach for the men’s soccer team, said. “Our [athletes] are learning how to work together to accomplish something that’s really difficult, and I think that is one aspect of redeeming the time that we have on this earth.”

Students are picked after they demonstrate their skills on the field. Photo: Maddie Peters

Hotchkin looks for soccer players who have been practicing since they were 5 to 6 years old. If the players lack experience but have natural athleticism and strength, Hotchkin said he would try to speed the experience process up over the summer. “It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something,” Hotchkin said.

While the recruiting process may be hindered by an injury, Hotchkin said accidents happen and injuries are not a player’s fault. “I want our team to be the type of team where you always feel that you’re supported and you’re in a place where people care about you,” Hotchkin said. “We wouldn’t cancel a guy out because of an injury.”

If current or potential students want to be considered for a team, Hotchkin suggests that instead of their parents initiating contact, the potential recruits prove their personal drive by reaching out to the coach themselves. Especially now because of the limitations COVID-19 imposes, Hotchkin said to prepare highlights in a game film for college coaches to review.

To prepare for freshman season, Hotchkin said to get on a weight training program and a running program. “I always tell recruits that it would be really good for you to compete against athletes who are as good as you or better than you.”