Grace Rapp Magazine Feature
Grace Rapp was recently interviewed about her experiences thus far. Grace committed to join University of Miami, a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), widely accepted as the strongest conference within NCAA DI in 2014 Prior to joining University of Miami, Grace played with Yeovil Town Ladies FC and England U19 National Team.
Let's see what Grace had to say prior to her departure....
When and why did you start thinking about going on a scholarship in the US?
GR: I started thinking about going on a scholarship to the US last year as I was unsure of what I wanted to study in the UK. The US offers an academic system where you can try out many different classes before you pick your major. Also you are able to combine high level sport alongside an academic program which is hard to find in the UK. I was very unsure about staying or going so I went on a college road trip with my Dad in winter 2013 to see all the colleges that reached out to me. As soon as I saw the facilities, the endless opportunities and the energy from the American coaches I couldn't say no!
How did the offer come about and was it difficult to decide whether to take it?
GR: I was scouted through PASS4Soccer by Matt Kagan, the former assistant coach of University of Miami. Unfortunately he and the head coach got reassigned and so I contacted the new coach Mary-Frances Monroe and managed to see her and the campus on my US road trip. The campus was beautiful; the climate was hot which I loved as I grew up living in Singapore. The facilities were like nothing I've ever seen before so from the second I saw University of Miami it was my dream school. My dad still makes fun of me from that night because I was so depressed and grumpy after the visit because I thought I had no chance of getting in. So late January when coach called me up and offered me a place and I had to say yes! The decision was made easier by the thought of palm trees and hot weather while stuck in the middle of a horrible English winter!
What does the scholarship entail and what will you study?
GR: The Scholarship entails me working my butt off for 4 years! It will provide me with free books, an academic advisor, a student-athlete study hall, etc... And a lot of stash! We are sponsored by Nike so in the Fall when the season starts we will all get new boots and trainers. I will study something in the communications department. I am into film and they offer a motion picture and broadcasting major here which I will probably do.
What advice did you take about looking for a scholarship and then whether to take it (from friends, coaches, PASS 4 etc.)?
GR: I took advice from PASS4Soccer Scholarships, they have been really great with providing information on the various colleges I was looking at and deciding on. My Dad has been the biggest help doing all the undercover research and paperwork; he's pretty much my manager now hah!
What advice would you give to any players looking to gain scholarships in 2015 and 2016?
GR: If I could give advice to those looking to gain a scholarship I would go for PASS4Soccer. They put a lot of time into their players trying to get them the best scholarship possible. In general, always reply to emails quickly; sound keen and willing to talk with coaches on the phone when they contact you. Finally, do your research, every team and coach is different, you will never find the perfect University but wait till you find the one that feels right.
You have played for Yeovil and for England youth sides, how do you think this move will help your footballing and academic career?
GR: I think this football move will particularly strengthen my fitness. The Americans love their fitness and will not give you game time if you're below the expectations. It's a different game here, there is not as much skill which is not a bad thing as girls won't play around with the ball too much. The girls are strong and they play their balls fast and direct with one objective, to keep possession. They utilize their speed and efficiency to make the sport look very simple.
I have only been here for 2 days and I already have homework, the days are very full on so you are always busy. It's tough balancing sport and work but the endless optional tuition and academic resources will allow me to do the very best I can.
Are there other internationals on the women's soccer roster?
GR: Yes, there is Emily Auld who played for Arsenal and was on a couple of England u19s camps with me. Natalie Moik who has transferred in this year is a German international. Also Catalina Perez, our goalkeeper who is out recently from an ACL tear has had call-ups for the Columbian Senior national team.
When do you go, what will you miss most and what are you looking forward to most?
GR: I have just arrived and my whole family have come to drop me off which has been great. I will definitely miss them the most! I am looking forward to using the facilities on campus, playing on a very strong hard working team and being coached by Americans as it's a whole new experience!