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Pender prepares for Utica University

FC Copa Academy is excited to announce that Brandon Pender from our B2004 Brooklyn team has committed to Utica University beginning this Fall. We are proud and excited to see Brandon develop in the region as a student-athlete.

Team: FC Copa Academy 2004B

Number of Years at Copa: 2

HS: Xaverian High School

HS Honors: National Honors Society, Honorary Hispanic Society, Principal's List, First Honors Coaches at Copa: David Atkinson

College Attending: Utica University

Conference: Empire 8

Anticipated Major: 3+3 Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program (DPT)

Quote about one of your coaches:

Coach David I can say without hesitation has been the best coach that I have ever had. His love and knowledge of the game have made him such an influential and inspiring coach on and off the field. Joining Copa my junior year, I was new to the team and Coach David pushed me to put myself out there and forced me into situations where I had to take charge. He has helped me find my voice on the field and gain confidence on the ball. In addition, he made me see the game in a more tactical way so that I can understand the flow of the game. Overall, Coach David knows how to bring each player to reach their full potential.

What are your most memorable moments or experiences at FC Copa Academy?

My most memorable experience at FC Copa Academy was when we went to the PA Classics tournament and on our second day, our game got canceled due to covid. So as a team went out to eat food and then went to watch the 05 game which was close by. We were the loudest people there cheering on the 05s. You could tell that we were getting the players more excited and they played more physically. It was a fun day overall and got to get really close with all my teammates

How did FC Copa Academy help you become the player you are today?

FC Copa Academy allowed me to grow as a player in my communication skills, technical abilities, and the way I see the game. In training with Copa, I was put in a lot of situations where I had to use my voice and communicate with my teammates a lot more than I was comfortable with at the time. I gain confidence and learned how to be a better communicator and teammate. FC Copa always allowed me to become more of a technical player on and off the ball.

How did FC Copa Academy help you get into the college program you will be attending?

FC Copa Academy understood my passion for soccer and determination in academia. They helped me balance both my school and soccer lives, which made me thrive in both areas. Without Copa’s encouragement in keeping my grades up and persistence on the field, I wouldn't be the type of student-athlete I am today.

Share your thoughts and experiences on the collegiate recruitment process with FC Copa Academy.

FC Copa Academy gave me the independence to let me choose the path that I wanted to take but was always there for support. They pushed me to do all the things needed to get recruited and were always there for me whenever I needed help. This allowed me to take control of my future as a soccer player rather than depending on my parents to coach. Talking with Coaches going through what I wanted in a college and a soccer program allowed me to take care of my recruitment and in the end, play college soccer something I have always wanted.

What advice would you give to future FC Copa Academy athletes going through the collegiate recruitment process?

My advice to future FC Copa Academy players would be to take advantage of what they have to offer. All the coaches there have studied this process, they know what they are doing and are there for you. They want the best for you and if you don't take advantage of what they have to offer you won't get the most out of your soccer career. Listen to coaches, meet with them, go to showcases, and play the Copa way.

How would you explain or describe the FC Copa Community?

The FC Copa Community is by far the best club that I have been a part of. It is surrounded by players who all want to play soccer as best as they can, players who push each other to thrive, and Coaches that know the game. This is the type of environment where you will be motivated and will reach your full potential.


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