NCE Soccer is delighted to learn that Jason Zulauf has committed to Marist College and will play Division 1 Soccer.
Jason is no fool. He dreams of making it as a pro but accepts few make it all the way. However having conquered the demons that almost caused him to hang up his boots he is now all in.
He nearly walked away because of the pressures place on young players. But, after a brief time out from club soccer he returned with NCE Soccer and New York Soccer Club and has never looked back.
“I am so happy and humbled to announce my commitment to Marist College to play Division 1 soccer and continue my academic career,” Jason said.
“This is a dream come true and I’m so thankful for all the people who pushed me to be the person and player I am today.
“At my low point I almost quit soccer. I was in my own head and I reached out for some help. I knew I was developing as a player but I needed to understand and process things on and off the pitch.
“I realized that my mental health is as important as be physically healthy to play your best soccer.
“During that low point, I also played two weeks for my high school team when I was a sophomore. I thought it would help me get out of my slump. And it did!!
“Within those two weeks, I scored a golden goal in overtime and a front page article was written up about me.
“Unfortunately, NYSC found out and I had to decide if I wanted to play High School I would have to drop down and play premier and not stay with the MLS team.
“It was one of the toughest decisions I have ever made and I’ll admit I shed a bunch of tears trying to make the best decision for my future.
“Ultimately I knew staying with the MLS team would enable me to reach my goal of playing D1 and it did.”
Interestingly, those low moments ultimately shone a light on a path Jason wants to explore after football.
He was inspired by the psychology of mental health and will study Sports Psychology at Marist College, strictly on the understanding that this career is a safety net to his pro soccer dream.
He added: “I have learned who I want to be as a person from playing soccer. I’ve had my highest, most happiest moments on the field and my lowest.
“My mom says I am happiest there and who I am at my core can be seen on the field. The good, the bad and even the ugly.
“I decided I wanted to help others and study sports psychology to help other soccer players who go through mental struggles.
“That is of course after I play professional soccer. I know the chances may be slim, but so was making a year older travel team at age seven, so was going from the Premier Team to the MLS team in three months, so was getting recruited and committing to a D1 soccer team, so, I can’t see why if I work hard enough and continue to develop I couldn’t be considered to play for a professional soccer team one day as well.”
Soccer is in Jason’s blood. He was kicking footballs around with both feet before he learned how to write and scoring goals for fun as youngster at Beekman Soccer Club.
Two footed and super quick, he played up a year before moving onto Quickstrike’s Premier team and then New York Soccer Club.
But Jason has no doubts that the coaching team at NCE Soccer fast-tracked his development and took him to the next level and changed his outlook on the game.
He added:”I started out as a striker. If you got me the ball I scored, but what my coaches at NYSC discovered was my speed. Now I play on the wing. I am quick to get up and down the field and easily past most defenders. My accuracy passing in assists is vital to my team scoring.
“It was definitely hard for me to come to terms with not scoring and knowing that assists are just as important and actually at times tougher to accomplish
“NCE Soccer made a huge impact on me. I never looked back once I started training with NCE. I am defintely a more well rounded, technical player because of the coaches who I worked with and the experiences I have had.
“My footwork, technical and tacticle skills have all been honed by NCE coaches. I also realized through working with and speaking with the NCE coaches that there was always a “next” level for me and I was able to acheive my dream of playing for an MLS Next team as well as be recruited for a D1 College to play soccer.”
Jason travelled with NCE Soccer to England playing as a 14-year-old against 16-and-17-year-olds Academy players and representing NCE Soccer at a variety of Showcase events.
He believes training and playing against better players has benefited his cam and is confident about stepping up to Division 1 College Soccer.
He added: “I am actually graduating early in January so that I can go play the spring season with the Marist team and the be ready for the true season next fall.
“I am currently taking three College Courses in High School and will be finished before I move to Marist in January. I hope playing Division One will help me not only attend a good College and achieve my degree in psychology, but also help me achieve my dream of playing for a professional soccer team.
“The College process itself was stressful! Coaches cannot talk to you until you June 15th of your Sophomore year. Then you have to send email after email after email.
“The coaches do not seek you out. You have to go to them. You have to have the best highlight film, invite them over and over to come see you play live so Showcase events are crucial.
“Luckily, if everything lines up, you’ll the call and offer you desire along with matching up with what you want to study in college at the school.
“I really felt a connection not just with the soccer program and coaches at Marist, but the campus itself at Marist. Now I can’t wait to get started.”
* Follow in Harrison’s footsteps by joining NCE Soccer and benefiting from supplementary coaching, Showcase Tournaments and International Tours to England, Brazil, Italy and Sweden.
Tryouts are being held throughout THIS SEPTEMBER at venues across NCE Soccer Regions. To find your nearest venue and apply for a place at tryouts click this link.