New Business Wants to Help More Maritimers Get Noticed By The NCAA

Chris Nadeau (Image: Submitted)

SAINT JOHN – A New Brunswick businessman wants to help more young Atlantic Canadian athletes go pro with his new venture.

Nadeau’s Sports Recruiting wants to work with top high school athletes and their families to exponentially increase their chances of getting recruited by the NCAA, the organization representing college sports in the United States.

Before he started his own marketing agency, Evolving Solutions, owner Chris Nadeau played university and professional hockey. Sports was a passion he passed on to his son, who is now in Grade 10 and is looking to play tennis in the NCAA.

“I decided to do some research last year…and I was amazed at how much information was out there and how time-consuming it is for people and families. I did all this work and I’d spoken to those who have done it before,” says Nadeau. “Because I had a love for it, it didn’t seem like work to me, but it’s very time-consuming.”

Nadeau realized there was a business opportunity in helping young athletes and their families prepare for possible NCAA recruitment. It’s a lot of research, but also a lot of personal marketing, something Nadeau already does for his business clients at Evolving Solutions.

“I could combine some of the things that I do on a daily basis for businesses, but for those athletes. I think there are loads of great athletes in Atlantic Canada that don’t get discovered. It comes down to communication marketing even at that level to try to get people aware of who you are, unless you’re, like, the Sidney Crosby of Atlantic Canada,” he says.

“But there are lots of other great athletes so I wanted to give them the tools and services to relieve some of that pressure and stress that goes into it and provide a package for young athletes trying to get to college.”

Nadeau’s Sports Recruiting offers three different packages that focus on helping the athletes market themselves to recruiters. The first and least expensive package includes Nadeu helping to develop an online profile that would display the athlete’s vitals, who they are and other relevant information that can be continuously updated.

“We also provide them with a recruiting checklist that they should do if you want to go through the NCAA. It’s a very thorough checklist,” says Nadeau. “Basically we provide them with the profile and a checklist to go through and they can manage the process on their own.”

The next two packages include a similar setup, but also include highlight videos, school matching, exploring scholarship options, email messaging templates to use when communicating with coaches, detailed analytics on their emails and their profile page, best SAT/ACT prep practices and further consultation, among other things. Though getting the attention of coaches in the United States could seem impossible for a young person in Atlantic Canada, Nadeau says it can be done.

“My goal is to really try to help all those athletes here and maybe break through some of that thinking in the Maritimes and Atlantic Canada and help them realize that it does take a little effort of marketing yourself and promoting yourself,” he says. “But there are so many ways and so many schools out there that you can take your sport to that next level.”

That being said, Nadeau Sports Recruiting can’t guarantee that you’ll get recruited. What it can do however is help an athlete open the doors and get noticed.

“There’s not a lot of NCAA coaches that even know where Atlantic Canada is. They would never come to a hockey tournament here or tennis tournament or a basketball tournament or anything…There are hundreds and thousands of coaches out there that will never see you,” says Nadeau.

“What we are trying to do is give yourself a chance to get noticed and showcase to some of these coaches and start the dialogue.”

Though the business just launched last week, Nadeau hopes to see it grow to offer more services to young athletes and play a role in launching more NCAA collegiate sports careers for athletes from our region. It’s a goal that will take some time.

“I’d love to be able to see more athletes come from here and go south and chase their dream and get a good education, or even potentially stay here in Canada and go to a CIS school. That’s obviously the number one goal,” he says. “That’s going to take some time I think, because we are mainly starting with younger athletes, so it’s going to be about a two- or three-year process to start seeing that development.”