Graduating seniors sometime have difficulty choosing a college or university to further their education. Franklin Academy Class of 2020 Valedictorian Zachary Barkman is no different.
“It was an interesting experience,” stated Barkman in an email to the paper. “I wanted to further my education as a biochemistry major, but playing college soccer was also very important to me.”
Barkman, the starting goalie for the Franklin Academy Huskies during the 2019 fall season, submitted a profile on CaptainU and was contacted by multiple college coaches. He also reached out to other coaches at educational institutions that offered his major, signed up for several individual college soccer ID camps and attended one of those ID camps near Philadelphia.
“After all that work, I was offered a spot on soccer teams at a few different colleges and a couple of other college coaches wanted to see me. I was planning on visits to a few other colleges, but then COVID-19 hit and I had to make my decision,” he stated. “Thankfully, I had basically made up my mind before that and was only really planning to visit the other colleges to make sure I had made the right decision.”
His decision was Saint Vincent College, a small private school in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where he will indeed major in biochemistry and play soccer for the NCAA Division III school.
“I fell in love with the college my first visit, and my feelings were cemented after the second,” he recalled.
During his second visit, he attended a private luncheon with college President Father Paul Taylor, along with his mother and admissions counselor.
He trained with the soccer team and later had lunch in the dining hall with his mother and the school’s coach, Carl DeiCas, who extended his offer for Barkman to play on the team.
“The school offered me a financial package I couldn’t refuse,” Barkman added. “Once I receive my B.S. degree, I will enter graduate school in pursuit of a doctorate in pharmacy.
“While the campus atmosphere and academic status of the college were my first priorities, I also put a considerable amount of my college decision on soccer. I wanted the opportunity to play college soccer, and with the help of quite a few people, I am able to say I achieved a spot on the roster.”
Over the last few years, in addition to playing soccer at Franklin Academy, Barkman also played club soccer with Plattsburgh FC and the FC Freeze. He has trained with UVM women’s goalkeeper coach Gene Bushey and Canton men’s head coach Tim Penrod.
“Without the physical and technical development I gained through them, I probably wouldn’t have made it to the next level. Therefore, I send out a massive thanks to them, as well as my club coaches throughout the years,” Barkman concluded.