Name: Justen Lee-Sam
Team: B02/03 NL Black
Number of Years at Copa: 4
HS: Old Bridge High School
HS Honors: All County, Honor Roll, High Honor Roll
Coaches at Copa: Coach Lori Berman, Coach Roberto Aguas
College Attending: Fairleigh Dickinson University
Conference: Northeast Conference
Anticipated Major: Biology/Physical Therapy
Quote about a specific coach: Since my freshman year, Coach Roberto and Coach Lori always had confidence in my abilities, even when I had thought I had none. Their coaching styles and values pushed me to become the player I'd never thought I would become. They stressed the importance of not only being a player with good technical abilities, but also a player with strong character. Playing under them, I quickly learned the significance of accountability. Coach Roberto specifically always told me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear, which made me into a more mature and better player. He also made me realize the importance of competing. This made me work even harder on and off the field. Coach Lori was extremely beneficial staying on top of my grades and College-Fit Finder, which made my college recruitment process much more simple. Without my two coaches, I would be nowhere close to the player I am today. I am forever thankful for Coach Roberto and Coach Lori for everything they have done for me and for shaping me into the person I am today.
What are your most memorable moments or experiences at FC Copa Academy?
My most memorable moments were going to National League Showcases, in Florida, and going to Nationals in Colorado. It was very exciting traveling to different places and playing at a high level, while also getting closer with my teammates.
How did FC Copa Academy help you become the player you are today?
FC Copa Academy was essential toward the player I am today. The environment the FC Copa put around me pushed me to become a better player and raised my confidence. My teammates and I always supported each other, even when I was not playing my best. My coaches, Coach Roberto and Coach Lori, transformed me into a completely different player. They made me mentally strong, accountable on and off the field, and they never let me be comfortable in any position, which prepared me to play at the next level.
How did FC Copa Academy help you get into the college program you will be attending? Since my freshman year, my coaches constantly expressed the importance of communicating and sending out emails to college coaches. Coach Roberto and Coach Lori were vital towards my commitment to FDU. Coach Lori sent out college email drafts for my teammates and me to refer to whenever sending emails. She also made sure my grades were in great shape, which made the recruiting process so much easier. Coach Roberto drastically supported and helped me through the process. He spoke to the FDU coach and he advocated for me. He helped me with getting that second look that a college coach needs. Coach Roberto and Coach Lori knew my goals, helped me achieve them, and they made sure I knew what I had to do to reach and obtain them. FC Copa Academy and my teammates also encouraged me every step of the way by being such a tight-knit family with strong values and competition. Their values improved my game and paved a way for me to make it to the next level.
What are your thoughts and experiences on the collegiate recruitment process with FC Copa Academy? The collegiate recruitment process was tough to say the least. At times, the process was very hard and discouraging because of the time we were living in. I missed my most important year for college exposure, but I realized that I had to keep communicating with coaches and expressing interest in any way I could to get the next step ahead. With Coach Roberto and Coach Lori as my coaches and mentors, I knew that I would be fine and I would find my home for the next four years. I realized I just had to trust the process, keep competing, and work hard everyday.
What advice would you give to future FC Copa Academy athletes going through the collegiate recruitment process?
For any future FC Copa Academy athletes, I advise you to communicate with coaches early and to keep expressing interest, even if you feel like you are behind in the process. There is a college out there for everyone, you just have to keep working. Your coaches will be there with you every step of the way, just keep your values, play within yourself, and keep a strong mindset. Everybody's journey is different, some might be easy, and some might be hard. Never stop believing in yourself, but always make sure you are getting things done in the classroom before you step foot on the field.