Monday, January 11, 2016

LVS Friends from the East; NEPS brings people together

For the past 15 years the Nolan Catholic Women's Soccer Program has hosted one of the top high school girls showcases in the country. It is always the most important winter event for reasons like, who is the nation's #1 team, how do the West coast teams compare to the East coast teams, and how do the Texas teams compare to the rest of the country. It is truly where the best come to play.

But more importantly, it is about new relationships, new perspectives, different cultures, or even just new social media followers.

To the Lady Vikings Soccer Program it is about an experience & good ol Texas hospitality.

There have been dinners, rodeos, ice cream socials, basketball games, concerts, dances, competitions, etc. New bonds are formed and families are extended.

The National Elite Prep Showcase was started 15 years ago as the Nolan Showcase with 4 teams and has increased in size each year and is just about topping out between 30 to 40 teams each year with teams from all across the country. Teams from California, Florida, Texas, and even from Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Louisiana have been apart of NEPS.

The nation's elite are matched up as college coaches flock to this event.

NEPS director and LVS head coach Jay Fitzgerald commented, "Our program has been to California and to Florida and we have played the best teams in Texas so we created an event in the middle of the country where we can bring the best teams together to prove that high school women's soccer is high quality and that college coaches can recruit in this environment. We want to promote the women's game at the high school level because playing high school is extremely beneficial to these female student-athletes, but what we see most is the teams forming relationships with other teams from around the country.  The players see different cultures and styles and most of all more social media followers are gained (with a smile on his face)."

Harvard-Westlake from Los Angeles, CA and Montverde Academy from Orlando, FL were new to NEPS this year and the Lady Vikings took the opportunity to get to know the newbies from the East a little more.
"Montverde choose to stay an extra day so we treated them to some Texas hospitality," said Fitzgerald. 

After the 2 teams battled it out on the pitch on Saturday morning they met up for some NCAA Division I Big 12 Conference Basketball between the TCU Horned Frogs and the Texas Longhorns. 

Two top high school girls programs watching 2 powerful collegiate programs and then off for some ice cream. 

The two teams watched the Frogs hold off the Longhorns‎ and then braved the cold weather walking across the TCU Campus to take in the cold at Sweet Frog where the teams got to know each other taking selfies, SnapChating, exchanging contact and social media information. 

The unique thing about Montverde is they are a boarding school and they have players on the team from Brazil, Ecuador, Bermuda, Finland, Guatemala, Mexico, Trinidad and of course the United States so you can bet that made for some good conversation.  They just graduated players from Ireland, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, and Columbia.  They have been ranked #1 by USA Today several times and their men's and women's basketball programs are always top in the nation as well.
In the end, the competition was fierce but the newly formed friendships ‎are the most important part of this whole event experience.

Soccer truly does bring the world together.

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