February 08, 2011

Students chase dream with local biz

Chamber Spotlight: Get U Recruited

GetUrecruited intern Anthony Malvagno, Recruiting Director Chris Keevins, Director of Videography Domenic Zecca, Director of Photography Nikki Gallagher, Prep Rep/Media Rep. Ray Gallagher and National Director Michael Bucci help students chase the dream of getting recruited to college athletics. Photo courtesy of Michael Bucci.
Michael Bucci has always loved athletics and ensuring that everyone around him is working to their full potential.

When it came time to choose his path in life, he combined both of these to create GetURecruited, a service for young athletes hoping to be recruited at universities across the country.

While at Mahopac High School, Bucci played football, basketball, lacrosse, tennis and ran cross-country, eventually becoming captain of each team for which he played. Unfortunately, when the time came to go to college, he was not recruited for any teams. He had strong grades and an excellent work ethic, but between not being the ideal athlete for colleges and having a family with a focus on academics and entrepreneurship instead of sports, Bucci went to SUNY Albany without a set path in athletics.

Bucci celebrates with Victor DiFusco on Monday during his signing ceremony to play football at Fordham University with a full ride. Photo by: Ken Booth.
Click here for a reprint of this picture!
During his first weeks at Albany, he tried out and joined the lacrosse team with little fanfare. There were "no scholarships, no recruiting night or official visits, no fancy signing day," he said, "just a jersey." After a few months, he was recruited by the Pace University lacrosse team because of his reputation for hard work.

"Trust me," he said, "it wasn't my stats." They offered him a large financial package, and because the school was closer to home and had a strong business program, he accepted. Playing lacrosse at Pace saved Bucci well over $50,000 in tuition fees.

Now, he wants to offer other high school athletes the same opportunity that he had, by making it easier than ever to get them recruited.

"I want to change the belief level of kids and their parents, and empower them to chase the dream" of participating in college, and eventually professional sports, said Bucci. Not so long ago, unless they were on a truly remarkable team or had incredible talent, students had to depend on their high school coaches to contact colleges and vouch for them. Today, with the advent of the digital age, students can take control of their future by sending out highlight videos to college coaches and recruiters.

With a solid network of professionals aimed at getting students noticed, GetURecruited helps clients through every stage of the process. Directors of athletic development Brian Sutton and Mark Tauber of "LIFT:Lifestyle Integrated Fitness Training" give recruits access to state-of-the-art training methods before shooting ever begins, helping them to improve their game by using the same techniques as professional athletes. Domenic Zecca, director of videography, can help students from across the country obtain footage of themselves. Taking footage from up to 10 DVDs, he will then edit down the student's highlights according to his expertise in the field, creating a short film designed for major impact. Husband and wife team Ray and Nikki Gallagher then prep the student's PR. Ray, an award-winning sportswriter, puts together a biography of the student, while Nikki, a marketing director and photographer, works on getting the best photos possible for the site.

Once the student's site is up and running, director of recruiting Chris Keevins helps ensure that it is sent to all the right coaches. A high school football coach for two decades, he has a huge network of contacts and helps match them to the perfect recruit. Recently, colleges have been coming to GetURecruited directly to help fill open spots on their teams, knowing they will find hardworking, dedicated athletes there. Even students who already have a highlight video can have it hosted by GetURecruited, thereby gaining exposure to potential colleges. With a new package that guarantees a $20,000 award, GetURecruited does the legwork of creating a network.

"We'll do the tedious e-mailing, texting, calling, meeting, arguing, convincing, pleading, marketing, evaluating and more," Bucci said.

The financial packages schools offer make higher education more accessible to more people. Between tuition and the interest on loans most students will have to take out, the packages can lead to real savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars. In less than two years, GetURecruited has saved local kids over half a million dollars on college.

"We haven't even come close to starting yet," Bucci said, referring to the relative infancy of his business. The money that students and parents put into their package at GetURecruited could easily end up being one of the best investments of their lives, coming back to them exponentially when they receive funding at a prestigious university. When students sign up with GetURecruited, they are really making an investment in themselves.

This is something Victor DiFusco knows firsthand. Though Bucci says that all his clients are enormous success stories, in "sheer numbers and storyline," DiFusco is one of the biggest. A senior at Mahopac High School and a linebacker for the Indians, DiFusco knew he wanted to go to a competitive east coast university when he first began using GetURecruited. After his father's death several years ago, DiFusco wanted to stay close to his mother, and knew that any financial help he could get would be of great assistance to her, since she also has three daughters to put through school. Of course, he also wanted to play for an incredible team and get the best education he could. All these dreams came true when recruiters from Fordham University came to his door and offered him a full athletic scholarship to attend their school. Though he received offers of sizable packages from nine other top universities, DiFusco has decided to sign with Fordham, and will begin summer school there on July 5.

Bucci doesn't take credit for all of DiFusco's successes.

"If it weren't for Victor working his tail off to become the best he could be and Elisa's love for her son, it wouldn't have happened," Bucci said. Combined with the excellent highlight video and press on GetURecruited's site, Keevin's relentless pursuit for better offers, and Bucci's overarching experience, that powerful motivation allowed DiFusco to chase the dream and achieve it. It's a valuable service that Bucci has already provided to students in four states, and wants to provide for many more students to come.

To Start Your Own Plan with GetURecruited:

Website – www.geturecruited.com

Phone – 914.879.8415

E-mail – questions@geturecruited.com

Packages starting at $399

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