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Going through the Division I recruiting process was an eye-opening experience for York senior soccer standout Max Poelker.
Months of soul-searching came to a close for Poelker earlier this week when he gave his verbal commitment to play soccer for Division I Longwood University, which plays in the Big South Conference.
A first-team All-State midfielder in Group 3A, Poelker entered his recruitment with an admittedly inflated opinion of himself.
As his recruitment played out, Poelker became more realistic with his expectations and worked harder than ever before to impress college scouts.
“At the beginning I kind of thought I was all that,” he joked. “Now I realize some of these schools aren’t looking for me. It made me work harder, put my head down and get it done. I think the whole experience helped me out.”
Throughout his recruitment, it became increasingly clear to Poelker he would be able to accomplish his dream of playing Division I soccer. What became uncertain, however, was which program and school would fit him best.
Early in his recruitment, Poelker wanted to attend a larger university. However, Poelker ultimately decided a smaller school with smaller class sizes would help him be more successful in the classroom. He also felt he would fit in better at a smaller school.
With an enrollment hovering around 5,000 students, Longwood is by far the smallest school Poelker considered. He also had interest in Virginia Tech, James Madison University and George Mason.
Ending up at Longwood was not in the cards for Poelker as recently as a month ago. Poelker showed little interest in the Lancers when Longwood coaches first reached out over the summer.
Longwood coaches were persistent, however, and received a warmer reception when they reached out roughly a month ago.
The Longwood coaches were up front with Poelker about their feelings toward him and their expectations of him as a player. This honesty and candor went a long way in swaying Poelker.
“They were the most honest out of all the coaches I spoke to,” said Poelker, who expects to play in an attacking role at Longwood. “They were honest from the start. They liked my speed and the way I run at defenders in the attacking third.”
With a renewed interest in Longwood, Poelker took an official visit to the school late in December. Poelker walked away from his visit, which included campus and facility tours, impressed and feeling like he found a place he could thrive on and off the field.
The recruiting process might have been stressful and his final destination was much different from what he initially anticipated, but Poelker cheerfully summed up the resolution of his recruitment in two simple words: “It’s perfect.”