College Series: Prospective College Player

Nini Underwood, 17, is part of a new generation of student-athletes: Right out of high school and determined to save money while still playing at a competitive level.


Do you plan on playing softball in college?

First, I plan on playing for a community college, and then transferring to a four-year university and playing there as well. The main factors in deciding where I attend college are cost, education, and the softball coach I will have. I don't care which division I play for as long as I get a degree, have a good coach, and my parents can afford my tuition. Everything else is extra to me.

img_8754 Photo by: Constanza Ulloa-Colina

What made you decide to go to a community college over a four-year university?

Aside from cost, I've decided to go to a community college to ensure that I won't be riding the bench and will be getting enough playing time my first couple years in college. When it comes time to transfer to a four-year university, I want to be able to have competed at a high level.

What are you currently doing to prepare to play in college?

I've continued to improve at practice and have been training off the field to stay in good shape. I've also emailed a list of coaches from schools I'm interested in so that I am on their radar. Another immensely helpful tool has been Captain U, which is a scouting website. Captain U allows players to make their portfolio and then build connections with athletic directors, travel-ball teams, and college coaches. Captain U allows me to get my foot in the door to whichever school or travel team I'm interested in.

Is there anyone helping you with this process?

My parents and coaches have been helping me. My parents make sure I'm caught up on responding to coaches, applying to schools, and staying focused on my school work. My travel ball coach has been helpful in that she's made some calls to college coaches she knows to ensure I get noticed beyond my own efforts. I'm so thankful for their help because this process is a lot for one person to handle while going to school and playing softball year round.

What kind of scholarships are you applying for?

I hope to get a softball scholarship to the community college I choose to attend, but if that doesn't pan out, I have Bright Futures, which will help with most of my tuition.

What sets you apart as a player?

My field of range is better than most. I'm the captain of my high school softball team so I instinctively like to lead and help my teammates. I'm hoping these qualities will set me apart from other players when transferring to a four-year university.

img_4344 Photo by: Peter Khoeler

What worries you the most about college?

I like doing so many things and giving them 100% of my attention that I'm worried time management will be my biggest downfall when I am in college.
img_4704-1 Photo by: Constanza Ulloa-Colina



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