Tag Archives: Brittany Gonzales

Three Cheers For ASU & Nicole



Nicole, Amanda, Emma

Three years ago, goalkeeper Emma Malsy verbally committed to play soccer at Arizona State University. A year later, midfielder Amanda Jones verbally committed to play soccer for the Sun Devils and now, our third athlete and defender, Nicole Soto, has verbally committed to play soccer for Arizona State Sun Devils.

In November 2014, Nicole was featured in one of our blog posts as we talked about the dedication of a group of soccer girls that were training to have the best opportunity to make their high school Varsity teams.

“…Nicole continually works on her strength and using her mental toughness to shut down her opponents….”

nicole-soto-socal-bluesSince that blog post, Nicole has had a lot of changes happen in her soccer career: joining the So Cal Blues ECNL team, earning a spot on the Los Alamitos high school Varsity team as a Freshman, being scouted by the Mexican Youth National teams, and actively taking a hold of her college recruiting process.

Nicole is the athlete that every coaches wish they had on their team. She pushes her teammates in practice from start to finish and always is one of the first to finish all fitness tests and training. Nicole has open, frank conversations with her coaches about her performances in games and the steps she needs to take to raise her ability to play at her best. Nicole invites constructive criticism and does not shy away from an opportunity that she knows will only make her a better soccer player.

nicole-sotoIn Nicole fashion, playing soccer in college was not a choice but a goal waiting to be conquered. Watching her older sister Ashley go through the process and verbally commit to play soccer at USC, Nicole wanted to forge her own path and be in control of the process. After looking at several colleges on the west coast, Nicole weighed out the options between academics, athletics, and the social culture of each college. Then last month, Nicole decided that Arizona State University was the right fit for her.

It doesn’t surprise me (Coach Brittany) that every goal Nicole has set for herself, she has accomplished each one with a strong belief in her abilities and the fight to push herself as far as she can go. That’s the Nicole-way of accomplishing goals: Go 100% with honesty, perseverance, and strength -and- of course, she’ll come out on top!




College Prep: Will attending College Camps help me with exposure to College Coaches?

The most valuable outcome you should expect from a college camp is that you will become a better overall athlete.

Champions Quest Camp

College camps are strongly recommended for all high school level athletes to attend, as many benefits can come out of the experience. Athletes experience an increase in physical and mental aspects of their sport.

At some camps, college coaches are extremely involved in helping and teaching the athletes about their sport and position. Athletes will get better in their sports through the drills and instruction the coaches lead.

Check out our Champion’s QUEST Alumni competing in College and Professional Sports!

As athletes compete alongside their peers, athletes can get a sense of the competition and can compare their abilities to others at the camp. This helps athletes when being realistic about the college and if it is a “right fit” for them.

On the mental side, playing on a college campus is very valuable in increasing confidence in an unfamiliar environment. It can be very intimidating to play in front of college coaches. Camps give the athlete the opportunity to get used to being in front of coaches and interacting with them.

One of the best Recruiting Coordinators of all time, Bob Chmiel, has told families that he discovered only TWO players at summer camp in his 30 years of recruiting.

Champions Quest College Camp

Many recruits attend college camps with the expectation of being discovered by the college coaches. Typically, the only athletes who receive “true” evaluations are the recruits that the staff was already aware of and actively recruiting.

It is imperative that athletes contact coaches ahead of time via email and a phone conversation. Each camp can hold between 50 to hundreds of athletes. If contact with the college coaches is not established before the camp, it is likely that they will not know who you are and you will become a number instead of a name at the camp.

Don’t know what to write or say?… Email Coach Brittany for guidance



Video: College Prep Highlight Videos

Check out the next video in the College Prep series… what should your Game Highlight Video include when you email college coaches?

Watch the video below to see a Highlight Video that showcases the skills and team work in a highlight video. Take note of how this video was made with an iPad on the sideline. No fancy cameras, just game footage, a movie making app, and a YouTube account.

Check out our Champion’s QUEST alumni who are now playing in college and professionally around the nation. Their dedication in the gym and competition combined with their greatest strengths has earned them the right to be a collegiate student-athlete.

Email Coach Brittany if you need help with your highlight video!




Parent Testimonial: Maya Gonzales

rosary-maya-gonzales“Hi Brittany! This is Manny, Maya’s dad. I wanted to thank you for everything you and your staff do for Maya! I had a dad approach me this weekend and was amazed on how much faster Maya had gotten from the last time he saw her play! He asked what she was doing and I gave Champion’s QUEST all the credit! I thought you and your staff would like to her that! Keep up the good work!” – Manny Gonzales
Maya Gonzales, now a Sophomore at Rosary High School in Fullerton, California plays an attacking role on her Varsity high school team for Coach Sean Melendez and her club soccer team, FC Premier formerly known as Cypress FC for Coach Dave Sabet. Whether it’s playing forward or outside midfield, Maya always wants to add to her team’s attack and pursuit of the goal

maya-gonzales-rosaryAlthough Maya and Coach Brittany joke she started training at Champion’s QUEST because they have the same last name, Maya’s true goal was to become the best soccer player she can be for her team and for her self. That is exactly what sets Maya apart from her opponents, she wants to push herself to be her best and at the same time, push her teammates to become their best. In order t do this, Maya would drive from South Orange County to train once a week at Champion’s QUEST with her FC Premier teammates. Maya knew that in order to be better, you have to make sacrifices.

In these pictures of Maya, you will notice her intensity and her fearless attitude going towards the ball and into traffic with her opponents. This upcoming high school season at Rosary will be one to watch as Maya joins forces with two other Champion’s QUEST athletes, Katie Searle – Senior Defensive Midfield verbally committed to Cal State Monterey Bay, and Naomi Dodd – a Sophomore transfer ready to contribute to the Rosary soccer program.



Success Story: Athena Sandoval

athenasurfcuprunnerupOctober 1st, 2015, Athena Sandoval, a Freshman at Los Alamitos High School decided to take her soccer career into her own hands here at Champion’s QUEST. Literally, Athena jumped up and touched her hand 99 inches above the ground to record a Vertical Jump of 16.50 inches.

The vertical jump was just the first of 10 athletic tests that Athena completed in her initial evaluation. 

Fast forward to this past summer, Athena now has a vertical jump of 21 inches, an increase of 4.50 inches in 9 months. From the image below, you can see Athena improved in every aspect of her athleticism and has become a stronger, faster, quicker, and smarter soccer player.

athena-sandoval-cqWith all the work completed on and off the field, big rewards came for Athena this summer as she made the Flight 1 CDA Slammers Cerritos ’01 EGSL team (Coach Randi Martinez.) Not only did Athena make a competitive Flight 1 team, she also started as an outside defender and played in front of college soccer coaches at the nationally acclaimed soccer tournament: Surf Cup in Oceanside, CA. Athena helped her team reach the finals and take home second place at Surf Cup. Athena’s soccer team also WON the Pleasanton showcase and took runner-up at the West Coast soccer showcase.

It’s no doubt that Athena’s dedication to her physical and mental abilities has led to her success on the soccer field.

Athena’s confidence continues to rise each game and allows her to showcase her increase in speed, quickness, and total body strength. Athena increased her speed in her 10 yard sprint by 3 tenths, making her faster to help in the attack on the wings and able to sprint back on defense. Athena’s lateral cutting agility increased her speed by over 3 seconds and has allowed her to cut quicker when a forward is attempting to challenge her. Athena also increased her plank to over a 3-minute hold and improved her total athleticism by 240%

Athena is now ready to start knocking on college doors and telling college soccer coaches that she is ready to take her game to the next level in college and she is serious about making a difference in their soccer program. 

Congrats Athena on your recent success this summer in soccer. We are all so excited to see which college flag will hang in the gym with Athena’s name on it in 2019.


Interview: Parents! What College Resources are Available for your Athletes?


Samantha “Sam” Amato is the Academic Counselor for the University of Arizona Athletics Department. Sam is also the former teammate (University of Tampa Soccer) of Champion’s QUEST Coach Brittany Gonzales. The Tampa Spartans soccer record books are covered with Sam’s name as she helped make the program a well-known competitive name at the NCAA Division II level. Sam’s honors and awards include: All-American, All-South Region 3x, First-Team All-SSC 2x, Second Team All-SSC, SSC All-Tournament Team 3x, NCAA National All-Tournament Team, NSCAA Team Academic Award 2x.

Q: What is your role as an Academic Counselor at the University of Arizona?

A: “I am responsible for managing all academic support for my assigned student-athletes. We customize the resources each student-athlete would need to be successful and help mitigate the balance of school with sports. In addition, it’s my responsibility to be sure nothing academic would withhold someone from competing. It’s my charge to be sure all my athletes are academically eligible to compete per NCAA rules.”

Q: Which sports do you work with and what do you see are the main differences between those sports?

A: “Men’s Basketball and Men’s & Women’s Swim & Dive teams. Each of our 20 teams has an assigned Counselor. The differences…where do I begin? The team cultures are drastically different. Apart from the differences in demographic profiles of my athletes, both teams have unique challenges and parameters because of their sport. Both compete in the fall and spring semesters which is challenging; you never really have an “off” term. Swimming & Diving is heavily individual, creating different dynamics than a team sport. Per NCAA rules, men’s basketball players can enter the NBA draft after only one year of college. This creates many different circumstances for these student-athletes versus any other college sport. There’s a lot of controversy about the “one-and-done” rule, so I’ll let others speak its efficacy, but it certainly impacts my role DAILY. The likelihood of my basketball players pursuing a professional career in their sport is enormously higher than my swimmers. Simply put, my basketball athletes have far more opportunities to continue to compete after college. This results in the experience (class and major selection) of a basketball player much different than a swimmer. Please pardon that I’m speaking in generalities.”

Q: What do you like about your job?

Sam Amato Brittany Gonzales.jpeg

Sam and Coach Brittany celebrate after a goal in college at the University of Tampa

A: “I love working in athletics. For me, nothing is more exciting and emotional than sports. It’s extremely rewarding to help a student from their first visit on campus as a recruit, to the first class they take, through to graduation. Lots of special relationships and experiences because of this job!”

Q: What is the most imperative academic resource that the University of Arizona offers for their student-athletes?

A: “All of them! I think it depends mostly on each individual and what they need. It’s important for student-athletes to truthfully assess what resources would be best and take advantage of every last one of them! Tutoring is the most popular service offered. We provide a tutor for every class as often as they’d like. Then I’d suggest building rapport with all the people who surround you. There are a lot of people on the peripheral supporting a student-athlete, much more than just the coaches, so it’s imperative to go out and get to know what is available to you. In addition, someone in my position helps connect a student-athlete to campus…which would only multiply the amount of academic resources offered. Did I mention to TAKE ADVANTAGE of all those resources?”

Q: You have played and coached at the Division II level and now work at the Division I level, what are the biggest differences you have seen between those 2 divisions?

A: “The amount of people. I was also at a mid-major Div. I school prior to now a Power-5 conference school. All the same functions exist at each, but the number of people you have to carry out a task and focus on detail is a big change. The staffs for each unit are larger (coaches, strength & conditioning, medical, academic, personal development, etc.). The national recognition is also different, which is sometimes great and sometimes not so great. I’ve played or worked at 4 universities and I think each experience is very unique to the institution..”

Q: What advice would you give to High School athletes aspiring to be a collegiate student-athlete?

A: “I’d suggest taking into consideration equally the three areas of your potential college life: school, sport, and social. Sometimes it’s easy, in an unobvious way, to let one area throw the others off kilter. I recognize it’s extremely hard to look into the future, but starting with where you want to end up when it’s all over will help determine where you should go. There are so many different paths to any destination, be sure the journey (your college experience) is a positive one.”


College Basketball Coach Interview: Looking for Winners On and Off the Court

What do college coaches think about the recruiting process?

Coach Brittany had an interview with an old classmate, Coach Brent Crews, and here is what he had to say about his recruiting process. Coach Crews played NCAA Division I basketball at Florida Atlantic University. Switching to the other side of the game, Coach Crews became an assistant coach at the University of San Francisco and is now the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Thomas University, a NAIA college in Thomasville, Georgia.

Brent Crews Thomas University

Q: What do you look for when evaluating potential recruits?

A: “What I look for when evaluating is 3 things. Toughness, basketball IQ, Winner.”

Q: How do you initially reach out to a recruit?

A: “Most of the time I reach out through their coach.”

Brent Crews FAU

Coach Crews played NCAA Div. I college basketball for Florida Atlantic University

Q: Discuss your 1st call strategy for a recruit.

A: “My 1st call for a recruit will start with me explaining who I am as a coach. Then I will talk about the team conference and school. The biggest objective on the 1st phone call is to get the recruit interested. The 1st phone call is all about me, the team, and school.

Q: How often do you communicate with your recruits?

A: “I communicate with my top recruits once or twice a week. Potential top recruits I speak with 2-3 times a month.”

Q: How do you close a recruit when you want them to commit?

A: “When I want to close a recruit I bring him on campus and bring out the red carpet. Take him to the best restaurants in town. Try to get as many 1-1 talks as possible while he is on his visit (official visit.) Answer all questions and show him what it would be like if he committed. After the visit if he doesn’t commit, I immediately set up a home visit and give another pitch.”

Q: What tips would you give athletes just getting started with recruiting?

A: “It is a long process in recruiting. You have to do everything on your end not to mess up any potential schools interested in you. Grades is a must, attitude has to be great, and your coaches and teammates should love being around you. Every coach loves a player everyone else loves. Trust your ability and play with confidence. You are good enough and your time will come. Do not compare your recruiting process to anyone else’s process. They are all different.”


VIDEO: College Prep: Marketing Your Athletic Strengths to College Coaches

This week at Champion’s QUEST, we are dedicated to providing Parents and Athletes with knowledge about the College Prep process to achieving the ultimate goal of being a: COLLEGE STUDENT-ATHLETE.

In this video, Coach Brittany talks about Marketing Yourself to College Coaches by showing off your Athletic Strengths in videos and sharing with College Coaches. 

Whether you are looking to attend college out of California or the local Junior College down the street, College Coaches unfortunately do not have enough time to go out and watch every player that emails them. You must stand out in a different way! 

Athletes sometimes have a hard time explaining their Athletic Strengths in an email or on the phone with College Coaches. It can be frustrating for parents and athletes during the recruiting process. So instead of worrying about how the email sounds or if you made your athlete sound the best, use videos to show the College Coach exactly what you are attempting to say! 

If you have an amazing Vertical Jump and your rebound percentage in basketball is your greatest athletic strength, send video of your training session at Champion’s QUEST working on your explosive power -and- then send another video of all our rebounds from last weekend’s basketball tournament.

Competing against athletes across the entire nation for a spot on a college team can be daunting and scary, so be creative and show the College Coaches you deserve that scholarship on the team and you have the athletic ability to help their athletic program.

Check out Coach Brittany’s video as she displays an athlete’s Greatest Athletic Strength: POWER in her recent training session.

Notice how the clips are short and straight to the point: POWER! Coach Brittany gave a short intro and exit to open the video. It is a great idea for athletes to give a quick intro introducing themselves (name, graduation year, sport, position, team name, high school) -and- state what the college coach is about to view.

Remember, it’s great to show off your Athletic Strengths! Go get that College Scholarship!


“Must-do” 3 Methods to Contact College Coaches

Contacting College Coaches can be scary for a 16 year-old athlete. Often times, parents and athletes don’t know how to start the communication. 

CJ Jacobs Champions Quest

CJ Jacobs – CQ Alumni 2009 UCSB Lacrosse

The NCAA has very detailed, specific rules for communication between the College Coaches and prospective Student-Athletes to protect both the lives of the athletes and coaches. Different sports have different recruiting calendars that include:

  • Contact Period: College coaches may have face-to-face contact with athletes and parents, actively recruit the athlete, and write/call athletes or their parents.
  • Evaluation Period: Has the same rules as the Contact period; however, a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with the athlete/parent off a college campus.
  • Quiet Period: College coaches may contact athlete/parents in-person, email, or phone; however, may not watch the athlete compete unless the competition is on their college campus.
  • Dead Period: College coaches may not contact in-person, email, or phone with the athlete/parent. They also cannot watch the athlete compete or visit their high school.

Check out Your Sport’s NCAA Div I and Div II Recruiting Calendar

There are loopholes around some of these rules and that is how you see Freshman and Sophomore athletes verbally commit to compete at a college. None-the-less, all Freshman to Senior athletes should follow these 3 “must-do” methods of contact with college coaches. 

Emma Malsy Champions Quest ASU

Emma Malsy – CQ Alumni 2016 Arizona State University

  1. Communication should start with an email introducing yourself, identifying the reason you are emailing them, your upcoming schedule, and the reason you should be recruited.

“How do I write an email to college coaches?”

2. Email communication should lead to a Phone Conversation with the coach to discuss the Athletics Program at the college, the lifestyle of a student-athlete, and their recruiting process. Athletes should have a list of questions to ask the coach and a notebook to jot down the answers.

“What do I say on the phone to college coaches?”   (Coming Soon)

3. After email and phone conversations, athletes should plan on meeting the coach in person. How does this happen? Athletes can meet and speak with college coaches on college campuses and at camps.

“What should I expect in an in-person conversation with a College Coach?”   (Coming Soon)

Congrats to all College and Professional Champion’s QUEST Alumni


Parent Testimonial: Kaitlyn Sachs

Brittany Gonzales Kaitlyn SachsA letter from the parents of Kaitlyn Sachs to Coach Brittany Gonzales. Kaitlyn had been training at Champion’s QUEST since middle school and is now taking the next step of college athletics at Adams State on their Women’s Soccer Team. 

“Words cannot describe the pride I feel when one of our athletes takes the next step into college athletics and I am forever thankful to Loren and Denise Sachs for trusting me with their daughter, Kaitlyn’s soccer career and development. I am very excited to see her continue to grow in her soccer career as she takes the next step head on, you go Kaitlyn!”

Coach Brittany

Congrats to Kaitlyn and the rest of the Champion’s QUEST Alumni to play in College!


I wanted to take a moment to thank you and the entire Champion’s Quest staff for the commitment and enthusiasm you have shown for Kaitlyn in her quest for soccer success. From the first evaluation in the summer of 2010 to today, the growth Denise and I have seen in Kaitlyn has been extraordinary…

While improving physically is a significant part of CQ, I feel the more important component is the mental aspect of training and challenging the kids to be better people and athletes. Maybe more importantly, CQ allows the kids to be themselves, there is no one mold fits all…

In 2013, the entire staff was incredibly supportive of the transition from field player to goalie. You were able to adjust her training while still providing the foundation she had always found useful. From the beginning a common theme was, ‘We need Kaitlyn to be more assertive, more talkative,’ and at your first game visit you were able to show her the value of being assertive as a goalie… I can ever recall, she was extolling her team during half time that they could compete against their opponent and they came from behind to win by 2 goals.

Kaitlyn Sachs Champion's QuestAs we come the end of the high school experience, the belief you had in her along with her desire has allowed her to achieve her dream of playing college soccer next year. The confidence she has displayed since she was offered a spot last summer has been a joy to watch. During the club season she had a run of 5 games with no goals against and had a GAA of less than 1 for the entire year.   When the high school season started she was excited to be back as a midfielder and looking forward to her senior year. As we conclude the high school season, the hardwork truly paid off, OCVarsity Player of the Week, First-Team All-league, team Player of the Year, and school record for most goals in a season are further evidence of how far the journey has gone and validation of the effort and commitment you and she have given.

Denise and I thank you so much for what you have done for Kaitlyn and look forward to sharing the next chapter of her soccer experience.


Loren and Denise Sachs