Noah Heim will be a freshman at Marquette University this fall and is joining the site for the second college athlete contributing to the player journal section. Heim will walk us through his first year at a D1 program.
You committed to Marquette where you'll actually started your freshmen year this past spring. Looking back on that process, what helped you make a final decision on where to attend?
For me, Marquette has really been the school I hoped would be interested in me throughout my whole recruiting process, but I had always had my options open. There were different coaches who had seen me in multiple different scenarios. Most of the schools that I had contact with through the process had actually initiated the conversations. Some smaller schools emailed me after my performance at the Olympic Development Program Interregional Showcase, but nothing major. One coach had given me his card after he saw me play in a Midwest Regional League game in Minnesota. Another coach saw me play in a National Premier Soccer League game in Madison. The coach's brother happened to work at my club so he got a hold of me through his brother. Even though coaches are interested, it is still hard to get their attention through emails and calls. That is one factor that plays into where you’re going to feel at home. If you feel like the interest is mutual, it’s easier to see yourself playing soccer at that school. That was not present while contacting these schools so, for me that dropped them lower on the list.
[There was] another school in the mix. I had been attending their weekly winter trainings for three years. They had seen me develop and so that opened eyes because my transition from sophomore to senior year was pretty big, about six inches and thirty pounds along with my athleticism finally all coming together. That was an interesting bridge. There had really been no words besides casual conversation at the trainings. Well they finally expressed interest to my NPSL coach wondering why I had committed as a junior even though I was a senior. The fact that I had been attending events they put on for three years and they didn’t know how old I was put a damper on how much I was interested in playing there.
The school that won was Marquette. The way I was recruited by them is the way I’ve heard a lot of people doing it. I pretty much just bugged them until they remembered my name. I just didn’t stay away. I attended their ID camp sophomore, junior, and senior year, emailed them about my schedule, and sent video of games that I wasn’t sure if they made. The same game that the Loyola coach had seen me play, I heard [Marquette head coach] Louis Bennett happened to be there too. A couple of weeks later I was on Marquette's campus for a camp and that’s when everything came together. I ended up graduating high school early and attending Marquette University a semester early. So I will be going into the preseason with a taste of what the fall will be like. The fact that I was given this opportunity really made the decision much easier.
As far as weighing options, I ended up at the school where the coaches made me feel like where I wasn’t just another player that had big dreams. I did have big dreams and I still do, but the coaching staff at Marquette has developed players so they can chase their dream of playing professionally too. Both my parents and I decided that I would [attend] somewhere that I would be happy playing soccer and being a student. In the end, the decision should really be made off of where you’re going to be the most comfortable.
How did playing for Madison FC and Cambridge High School put you in a position to make the jump to a D1 program?
Both were very small programs. Madison FC only having about 35-40 people show up to tryouts and Cambridge only having around 25 kids for a varsity and JV team. On either team, I was the only player to play division one soccer. People definitely looked to me to make big saves and decisions when things got suspect. I was a captain and a definite leader of the teams. In a technical aspect, I was not in a great position to jump from a high school season to a D1 spring season. Mentally, I knew that I was going to have to work hard to step up to the technical level and speed of play.
The biggest thing I think I gained out of playing for both teams was my ability to recycle and move on to the next play. There were a lot of mistakes made by all teams at these levels, and many lead to goals or at least chances on goal. One game, I made 27 saves. I couldn’t dwell on the fact that I had just made a good save or what I could’ve done better in that situation, both of those had to come after the game for me. Obviously there wasn’t much time to think about the past when statistically that game I made a save every three minutes. Being able to move onto the next play is one of the biggest weapons a goalkeeper has. If you just got scored on, how you react is a big factor of how the rest of the team will react. If I go silent, most likely, the rest of the team will go silent.
You're returning to Camp Shutout this summer. Tell us about why you're returning and what you can expect out of the week-long camp.
Camp Shutout... what a week. My Premier League of America season has just ended. So in between now and player’s preseason there is a week of nothing. A lot of people would probably take that week as rest before heading off to school again, but I’m looking to tighten everything up. There is a session for practically every situation a goalkeeper could come across in the game of soccer. If you’re good at extension and top hand dives, good for you, you’re going to get better. If you’re back to the bar isn’t so great, that’s cool, you’ll get better. With the multiple sessions focusing on the various situations, you really have time to find and manipulate your weaknesses.
I’ve been told I’ll be able to hop in with the college sessions [at Camp Shutout] which will put me at three to four training sessions a day. Yeah, that is a lot of sessions every day for a week long camp, but this really helps you figure out what you need to do to take care of your body to keep yourself healthy and at your best.