Ahh, the hopes and dreams of the high school student-athlete. While some only play sports as a hobby to pass the time away, many others get involved in prep athletics with the goal of one day advancing to the next level as a college athlete—and for a select few, the glitz and glamour of the professional ranks.
Yet, for many student-athletes, regardless of sport, getting recruited to the next level can be a daunting task since there are so many looking for their big break in either college or the pros. And for some, the possibility of being offered an athletic scholarship at a major college or university is an even bigger challenge since only so many are offered.
The developers of a new app hope to change this and give student-athletes a better chance of being noticed by the schools and the coaches of their choosing.
The SportsConnectU app tags itself as a social communication platform for student-athletes to better enable themselves to have their skills seen by college coaches. It was developed by Britney Morgan and her family in the Atlanta area.
Morgan is the co-founder and handles marketing for Hardwood Sports Academy based in metro-Atlanta. It is an outlet that strives to give back to youth sports. According to Morgan’s LinkedIn page, she has an extensive background in marketing, sales and broadcast media.
“We’re all former educators, players, parents, coaches—we’ve done it all on a youth sports basis. And for years, we’ve just been trying to figure out how to impact youth sports and the youth sports culture in a very impactful way,” Morgan said.
Morgan’s work with children also dates back to 2007, as she started coaching girls youth basketball her senior year in high school. She also served as the Communications Officer for Atlanta Public Schools for roughly a year beginning in 2014.
Hardwood Sports Academy believes that the true principles of youth sports have eroded over time and their organization wants to return to those values—but it hasn’t been easy.
“We knew that in order to develop a large enough platform and make a positive difference we would need to create a product or service to help athletes, parents and coaches achieve their goals and dreams.” Morgan said.
In a promotional video plugging the app’s planned Summer launch, it mentions how high school student-athletes will have the ability to upload game highlights to their profiles and then send them to coaches all over the country in a single click.
Morgan talked about how the app will really be beneficial for parents – who do the lion’s share of the initial marketing for youth sport athletes hoping to reach the next level.
“A lot of times, student-athletes don’t do this stuff. They are worried about playing ball, having fun and being kids. So for the most part they’re not the ones that are sending out their highlights, It’s their parents,” she said.
According to Morgan, as student-athletes progress into their junior and senior years, some may begin reaching out to college coaches on their own. She touts another benefit of the app for parents is the ability to find travel and accommodation information for tournaments across the country as well as being able to stay up-to-date with any possible changes to an event’s time or site.
SportsConnectU will also allow its users to be able to locate premier youth sporting events in their area.
In terms of the app’s functionalities, she says that not all of its features have even been revealed yet – meaning there is more to come as we get closer to the eventual launch date.
On the SportsConnectU website, it quotes Morgan’s father, Co-Founder of Hardwood Sports Academy and long-time high school and AAU basketball coach, Ivory Young, who believes student athletes should not be waiting around for college coaches to notice them.
“You cannot sit around and wait for college coaches to find you. There are so many athletes that college coaches simply cannot see everyone. Contrary to popular belief, lots of quality athletes fail to earn scholarships because they believe coaches will simply find them.”
Morgan says they believe SportsConnectU will indeed better connect prospective student-athletes that may have had a rougher go of things when attending exposure events that can be a challenge to get to and navigate through.
“It’s not always a guaranteed chance that you’ll be seen at these exposure events,” Morgan said. “Me and my sister both played in numerous exposure events. Numerous. I started getting letters from major D1 schools when I was 12. But, I still didn’t go big time. When I was coming up, we didn’t truly understand the process and what it took to really get seen by college coaches.”
Morgan believes the app will be a benefit to student-athletes also because she contends that exposure can be based off not only how talented a prospective recruit is, but because of how much pre-exposure build up there is regarding those athletes. She says it is all marketing—especially in this age of social media where everyone is no longer simply an individual but an entire brand.
“A lot of times, exposure is based off of a name, and it’s based off hype around that name. And so you can create that hype, yourself.” Morgan said. “And in this day and age, moreso than ever, whether it’s sports or just life in general, you are a brand. Whether you want to be or not, because of social media, you are a brand.”
She says the number one directive for their organization is to ensure that this app will create a profound effect in the lives of student-athletes as well as their families. As a whole, the entire HSA team hopes it enables them build a platform to help make youth sports more than just about winning a game, but about teaching valuable life lessons through competition and WINNING IN LIFE.
“Overall, we really want to make sure that we bring those strong principles back to youth sports,” Morgan said. “That we’re all understanding those true foundations of what youth sports is really about. And for our kids, it’s not just learning to playing a game, winning and becoming a better athlete, but to help them grow into successful adults. We want to make sure kids around the nation and around the world are really getting life lessons through sports.”
SportsConnectU plans to launch later this summer and will be available on the Apple Store for iPhones and Google Play for Androids. It can also be downloaded from the Windows Store. Overall, the app subscription for players will cost $1.99 a month or $19.99 for a full year.
More information about SportsConnectU can be found on its various social media platforms.
To get notified when the app is available for launch, visit sportsconnectu.mobi and subscribe.