US College Ambassadors


With five different division levels and over 1,600 college programs that offer softball scholarships, there are opportunities for almost every softball player looking to play college softball. Understanding what college will be right for you can be a difficult task in itself.

Five former US Student-Athletes are here to help with some insights into their US College experience and the nature of the college system they ultimately choose to attend.

Please keep in mind that each college has their own system and way of doing things, no two schools are the same. Our ambassadors are here to tell their story and hopefully provide some direction in helping you identify an appropriate level of college that meets your education and softball needs.

Please do not contact the college ambassadors to assist with any paper work support. However, you are welcome to reach out for an informal chat to seek further light on their US college experience.
 
 
AMY BEGG - NCAA Division I

Amy City: Christchurch
US College: Morgan State University
Student-Athlete Profile: Click here

Click here to contact Amy
My Story
"I had I never dreamt that attending a college in the states could be a reality until I went to the Canada Cup in 2014. I was representing the Junior White Sox when college scouts approached me, that is when I began to consider College in the USA. Upon arriving back in New Zealand I made a recruitment video and uploaded it to YouTube in the hope a college scout may see it. I never thought anyone would look at it but the effort I put into the video payed off when I got a message from a coach offering me a full ride scholarship at a division 1 University located in Maryland, USA. I made the decision to use a professional videographer to help with the video, this meant each pitch was labelled and I felt it showed I was serious about the opportunity. The video is still on youTube “Amy Begg Softball Pitcher Recruitment Video” if you would like to have a look at it and get some ideas.

I received the message from the Coach in October 2014 as I was in my final year of High School, I was to begin college in January of 2015 half way through their academic year. We had to immediately look into the academic requirements to attend a Division 1 school as these are stricter than lower division universities or Junior Colleges. We then booked the SAT test for December, I began maths tutoring as the maths curriculum is different and I needed a better grade than a simple pass to qualify. Over my time at high school I had enrolled in core classes meaning that when I was offered the opportunity my academic record matched the requirements needed. This was by coincidence, it was more good luck than good planning and I thank my parents now for encouraging me to continue with both maths and science.

The governing body for college sport in the USA is the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), this bought a large amount of paperwork to complete and a number of documents were required to gain eligibility. There was also a cost involved in having my academic record translated and checked.

This was a very exciting time for me but the short time to prepare meant that it was also stressful waiting for the NCAA to grant me eligibility to play in a Div 1 college. I received eligibility just in time and left to college on the 18th of January 2015. It was a shock when I first arrived because even though you’re a student you have to fit workouts, practices and meetings around attending classes and studying. Here in New Zealand most teams practice once maybe twice a week, at school we practiced every day. It didn’t take me long to adjust and before I knew it, it was my home away from home with lifelong friends and some of the best memories. I have now arrived home with an internationally recognised Bachelor’s Degree, no student loan and a lifetime of experiences I won’t forget. I would encourage others to do their research on the academic requirements for the college they are interested in and start planning for this as early as possible, it is an experience you will not regret, please feel free to contact me anytime for information or advise."

RITA HOKIANGA - NCAA Division II

rita City: Hastings
US Colleges:
  • Eastern Arizona Junior College
    (Junior College)
  • West Texas A&M University College
    (NCAA Division II)
Student-Athlete Profile: Click here

Click here to contact Rita
My Story
"I was selected in the Junior White Sox 2011 team for the World Series that were held in Cape Town, South Africa. During that time, Venita Hokai and Kevin Gettins were contacted by Eastern Arizona Junior College Management to see if there were any pitchers available for the their up and coming season. Fortunately enough for me, Venita and Kevin asked if I was interested in it and of course I said yes. The plan was for me to finish High School in December and then head to Arizona January 2012.

I was 7th form at Hukarere Maori Girls College and I was a part of a business group Mapihi Maurea with our mentor being Ron Massey. We were invited by the Napier City Council to be ambassadors heading to Xuzhou, China (sister city of Napier) with the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, Napier City Council, and the Hastings City Council. We left to China in October 2011 and during that time we performed Kapa Haka to Universities, schools, and councils. One night we headed out to Karaoke with Chinese council men who were millionaires. During the night, Ron Massey delegated with one of the guys to see if he could sponsor myself and best friend to help with our university fees in America. Ron Massey did all the delegation and from there I was able to financially support myself while I was in America. The paperwork process to get to America was a lot to take in, but I was also fortunate enough to have Kevin and Charmaine Gettins help me with all of that".

KINGSLEY AVERY - Private College

kingsley City: Auckland
US College: Ave Maria University
Student-Athlete Profile: Click here

Click here to contact Kingsley
My Story
"I had the dream of attending college in the U.S.A instilled in me since I was young. Firstly because my mother is a born and raised American, secondly because athlete/softball culture is prominent there and thirdly because cinematic arts is huge there.

My first step was when I had a local softball scout assess my skills and potential to determine what caliber of program I could have a chance of getting into. Then I had an athlete profile with links to videos of me in action created and distributed until I was accepted into a travel ball program, the Newtown Rock.
I graduated high school and moved over to New Jersey where I was taken in by a fellow softballers family and submerged into American life. Travel ball entails a huge amount of games, practices and showcases whereby college scouts have a chance to see you play.

The way I came to find, and get chosen for my school Ave Maria was unexpected, exciting, and spontaneous. Through my experiences playing travel ball in New Jersey I also got to play a few showcases in Florida. I had come to discover that I loved what Florida had to offer both for its comfortable playing conditions all year round and the kind and chill fellow softball athletes there.
So after establishing an amicable relationship with a Florida based coach (who knew that Ave Maria’s Softball program needed new and diverse talent) a connection was formed and I took a chance on the small, but impressive program at Ave Maria University.

Although Div 1 was an initial dream of mine, I am so happy and proud of my decision to play at that NAIA institution!
I was given the opportunity to be a leader and starter for the full four years (the loads of playing time was great for my National team preparations), my education was second to none and always put first, and the small school structure enabled very easy and quick connections that have now blossomed into long lasting companionships.
Take aways from my story are, that you can never start communicating soon enough your interest, and the more people you talk to and expose your talents to the more opportunities and doors that will start to open. Good attitude is sometimes more sought after than good talent.
Start putting your aspirations out as young as 15/16 if can.

Another take away is that if you are older say 17/18 like I was, it’s not too late to chase the dream, get your name into a showcase structure and show what you have! But get onto it! And use connections and resources in the NZ system to point you in the right direction if you would like.
Lastly follow your heart! That’s your gut instinct on the possible location, values, and coaching of a school. Do your research! Through it all size, success and reputation isn’t what is most important, it is the feeling, the community and the education.

Work hard, ball out, and embrace a family! You will be propelled in all areas of your life!!
 

 
lara2 Lara Andrews
City: Lower Hutt
US College: University of Delaware
Level of College: NCAA Division I
Student-Athlete Profile: Click here

Click here to contact Lara
   
kayla1 Kayla Rangiawha
City: Wellington
US College: Florida SouthWestern State College
Level of College: Junior College
Student-Athlete Profile: Click here

Click here to contact Kayla