The Evolution of Recruiting: Amanda Kamekona

The evolution of recruiting chronicles the recruiting journeys of USSSA Pride players. Each player narrates their own story and how they ultimately made the decision on where to play college softball. Watch how recruiting has changed through the years from the stories of each player. The evolution of recruiting begins in the 1990s and ends with the recent processes of our Pride rookies.

The next recruiting story is from Amanda Kamekona who took a different route to UCLA than the before mentioned stories of Natasha Watley and Andrea Duran. Kamekona grew up playing baseball until the age of 16! Though she got into the sport and recruiting process “late”, she still accepted a scholarship from Cal State Fullerton, historically one of the top college softball programs in the country. After two years at Fullerton, Kamekona then transferred to UCLA where she was a two-time All American and led all hitters in average at the 2008 Women’s College World Series.

“My primary reason for playing baseball/softball was because I simply fell in love with the sport not for scholarship purposes.”

Athlete: Amanda Kamekona

softball.superregionals-KLAlma Mater: UCLA, 2009

Year you committed:  2003

How old were you when you committed: 17

How many official visits did you take? 1

How many unofficial visits did you take? 0

Did you make a recruiting video? No

How old were you when you first learned/thought about playing getting a scholarship to play in college?

AK: 15

When did you first start getting serious about the recruiting process? Explain the steps you took (videos/emailing coaches/camps/tournaments/showcases/visits).

AK: 16 years old. I transitioned from baseball to softball.  My parents and I did some research on competitive travel softball organizations near our home. I originally played for the Norco Filly’s, but then was asked to join the Gordon’s Panthers since the Filly’s didn’t qualify for Nationals that year. I finished my travel ball career with the Filly’s. To be honest, my sole purpose of playing wasn’t to get a scholarship. I fell in love with baseball and played that. Entering my Junior year is when I sat down and thought “well, I would really love to go to college and do not want that financial burden on my parents. Let’s see if I’m talented enough to play fastpitch at the next level?” And, fortunately it worked out. I didn’t send any videos. I do remember writing a few emails to schools I was interested in (the entire Pac 10 and Big west). A few expressed interest back and from there I remember seeing them at games. We also had a few conversations on the phone. My favorite part of the recruiting process were the “at home” visits coaches did. The coaches from schools that were interested in you would come to your house and sit and chat while they got to know you and your family vice versa. Those were cool. After that, they scheduled an official visit, where you can tour and visit campus for a few days to see if that was a place you were interested in.

Describe how you committed to your school.

AK: 2003 (Fall) I took my official visit to CSUF, talked it over with my parents. Called the head coach and said “thank you for everything. I would like to verbally commit to Cal State Fullerton”

Why did you commit to this school and why at that time?

AK: Fullerton is 25 minutes from my house, They didn’t have a football team so a lot of their support went to Baseball and Softball (which was huge for me). It was close to home so my parents could attend games and also driving distance to the beach.

What happened from the time you committed to the time you stepped on campus?

AK: Things slowed down until it was time to enroll, sign up for classes and decide on living arrangements.  After I committed, I continued playing as if nothing changed (we didn’t have a lot of the showcases that are around now). We played in MAYBE 1 or 2, but majority of our travel ball time was spent trying to win tournaments to qualify for Gold Nationals. I’d wave “Hi” to my college coaches if I saw them out recruiting, and called to check in with them every other week.

Looking back on your recruiting story, what stands out the most?

1- My primary reason for playing baseball/softball was because I simply fell in love with the sport not for scholarship purposes
2- The age at which the process started. It’s not unheard of now for 8th graders to commit to top 25 programs. I wasn’t even thinking about the recruiting process in 8th grade, let alone where I wanted to commit to go to college.

What’s your advice to athletes now on the recruiting process?

AK: Take your time and there’s a school for everyone. If you’re feeling pressured to make a decision it’s probably not the right one. Plus, if a school really wants you- they’ll wait until you’re 100% sure and confident in your decision.
Next recruiting story: GiOnna DiSalvatore