Softball Business: How Cheri Naudin Turned Her Family Experiences Into College Sports Advocates
Cheri Naudin, College Sports Advocates, CSA, Erin Sykes
August 22, 2019
College Sports Advocates founder Cheri Naudin (gray shirt) poses with Birmingham Thunderbolt players (l-r) '21 Kaitlyn Smithey, Cheri, '21 Lulu Brock and '22 Harley Peel.
If you are a sports parent and not sure how to promote your daughter, have you ever wished for someone in your corner that could provide you and your athlete with truthful guidance about the recruiting process and all that entails becoming a college student-athlete?
Maybe you’ve realized that attempting to help your child get recruited is costing you tons financially because you just don’t know where your hard-earned money is best spent?
Perhaps you thought your child’s travel ball coach would be more concerned with helping your family figure this recruiting process out, but all he/she seems to say is, “E-mail colleges and go to camps,” thus leaving you to scratch your head wondering who should the player be contacting, how much should they try to communicate and how on earth do you even know what camps to go to or if the athlete can even play at those schools they’re choosing to connect with?
Has anyone ever discussed helping your player find the right collegiate fit or their “path” because no two athletes’ journeys are ever the same?
Does such a platform even exist that can answer all these questions and provide so much more for your family and athlete?
Softball parent and coach Cheri Naudin felt there were many answers lacking to the above questions and took it upon herself to get involved to help players and their families.
In 2015, she began Collegiate Sports Advocates, more commonly referred to as CSA, which is today a successful recruiting company that has expanded nationwide.
Her vision, she says, was to spread truthful recruiting education across the country based on her own experiences which has included two of her children playing sports (softball and soccer) in college at the Division 1 level.
Seeing her two athletes go through the recruiting process, the sports mom feels she was able to see first-hand how incredibly difficult getting the exposure and accurate facts was and began to note the intangible aspects she learned along the way.
She, simply put, began creating a game-plan based on her learnings that she could share with others.
“I began cultivating a process to educate and guide entire families thru the recruiting process that placed emphasis and focus on creating an individualized path for each athlete,” she recalls.
CSA Advocate Penny Roberts (left) with Cheri Naudin and 2022 lefty pitcher Brianna Roberts.
Naudin began to align herself with coaches, former players, and anyone else that added value to her mission. She notes “The entire platform that CSA has been built upon—and all the processes used—come from the suggestions of college coaches of every level.”
The company’s president stresses it all comes down to listening.
“We listen to the positive and negative feedback college coaches are so gracious to provide us and use that, along with other factors, to help players find the right fit.”
Naudin has partnered with other professionals that provide useful tools for student-athletes total on and off-the-field success like SAT/ACT test prep, mental skills and athletic training and proper nutrition to ensure the players are college ready.
Today, CSA employees 22 “Advocates,” or company representatives, who each have an extensive background in the sport they mentor, which has grown to include softball & baseball, volleyball, soccer and golf. The company has mentored football and basketball players as well.
Naudin explains that “each Advocate works in conjunction with the other Advocates across the country as a team to better support each student-athlete who may travel to a different Advocate’s area.”
“Advocates spend their time at the biggest tournaments across the county networking and connecting with college coaches at every level,” she continues. “They get to know the ins-and-outs of each college and program, the kinds of things each college coach is looking for and take that information back to the student athletes they fill could be a great fit for the school.”
Jetta Little, a 2021 grad from New Mexico, and Cheri Naudin enjoy their furry friends.
One emphasis for CSA is to teach the athletes how to market themselves to coaches and exploring multiple opportunities so the athletes find the best fit.
Naudin states the goal of CSA is “to teach them how to self-manage with needed time management tools we provide, to teach and provide them with necessary communication skills that are needed not only for recruiting, but in life, and to have a system of accountability in place to ensure the athletes and Advocates all hold up their end of the process.”
“The result is that we assist in getting them recruited, but the biggest task is that we help ensure that they are prepared to be successful student athletes.”
CSA is selective of the athletes they work with as everyone must be a “fit” for the program and each other. The athlete is expected to do a lot of the work and the amount of work required isn’t a match for everyone, Naudin admits. “And that’s ok!”
As CSA is focused on helping to create a complete athlete, the company has designed a program to run the entire course of the athlete’s playing career, even until college is complete.
The founder says that “CSA is dedicated to providing mentorship and guidance because we understand that successfully facing the next 40 years in life is the ultimate goal of being a collegiate student-athlete.”
And it’s not just for four-year DI programs either: Naudin says that if an athlete’s journey leads him or her down a two-year college path, Advocates are prepared to help find a four-year school later if that’s the desire.
CSA has 22 Advocates in addition to full-time staff like Erin Sykes, the National Director (pictured).
“Creating options at various levels is one goal CSA has for our student-athletes,” the president states. “This ensures that athletes stand a better opportunity to make the best choice for themselves.”
Having just recently celebrated its four-year anniversary, Collegiate Sports Advocates is now immersed in all areas of the country including an especially deep presence in the Midwest. The company has 400 total athletes in the system with 154 either committed or in college.
Looking back on the last half a decade, Naudin’s vision of educating young athletes and their families has been rewarding and made all the hard work worth it, she feels.
“College coaches have taken notice of the difference with CSA and are establishing lasting relationships with Advocates who continue in turn to educate Advocates on more ways to help hopeful college athletes attain their goals.”
“It’s truly a case of ‘Teamwork Makes the Dream Work!’”
To get information on College Sports Advocates, email CSA National Director Erin Sykes at: email@example.com
Happy Anniversary CSA! Yes, 4 years ago today I had a dream... it became a team of hardworking, dedicated, committed Professional's that have guided 369 Student Athlete's to becoming Student Athletes!
CSA has started to graduate some of the most decorated Student Athletes! We have created a system of Accountability, Time Management and Communication that benefited from all the changes with NCAA. CSA has committed over 154 to-date!
This fall will be a big event with even more commitments on the way! The difference is our TEAM!!! Happy Anniversary Collegiate Sports Advocate!
#TeamCSA #BeBetter #TruthRecruiting #BeCSA
Softball Mom looking back….. It goes by FAST so sit down, cheer, enjoy the journey, have fun, count the positive things happening, make life long friends.
So now the Travel Ball season begins and we reflect on High School and finish seeing some of the most amazing College Softball in NCAA and NAIA…(yes, google it… NAIA – athletic scholarships and an amazing level of play for Student Athletes)
The Chat boards are buzzing. Everyone has their own opinion and expectations of the past and what tomorrow holds.
Here’s a few words of wisdom!
The opportunity to play the game is PRICELESS and a huge Privilege at any level. But YOU have to train, condition, eat right, practice manners and good behavior. Not everyone is talented enough and not all parents make the right decisions to get there so RESPECT it when YOU do.
Parents! I heard someone say “YOUR kid isn’t good enough to cause all that trouble”!! Think about it for a minute. What are YOU really trying to accomplish when YOU hold the key, the answer, the solution to ALL the issues YOU’RE raising? Teach YOUR athletes to work harder, do more, find out what it takes to be the coaches favorite, develop better skill, train with professionals, LISTEN, LEARN, and APPLY and oops, get along with other! Please think about what YOU’RE saying because to many of us it sounds like Excuses and Blaming… I’ve said it many times that the comments sound like excuses and they’ll say “no really” and I’ll say “yes really”. Play that scenario in YOUR head before YOU complain.
YOUR attitude and YOUR perspective is what YOUR athlete is going to develop so YOU ’RE the solution!
Quitting, blaming, making excuses as it all turns out bad in the end because what didn’t happen was the necessary work, perspective, attitude, and approach to problem solving and YOU’VE created a culture of behaviors that will repeat itself over and over again. It’s not the black cloud, it’s YOU!
It’s easier to be a loser, a quitter and a complainer and YOU have lot’s of friends sitting with YOU in the corner, in the parking lot and on the sidelines when YOU’RE all commiserating instead of getting to work! Misery loves company!
Where ever YOU go YOU go with YOU so FIX YOU!!!
YOU choose the path for YOUR athlete every time YOU make a decision to make it easier for them instead of providing the tools for them to “overcome” and grow past the challenges. Moving teams, playing pick up player, playing on teams with only 12 or less all cause the end result of YOUR happiness when they get to college. YOU have to teach them about the Bench and about working harder even when it doesn’t seem fair, they win in the end because they did more work and they OVERCAME and they were better athletes for it too!
It happens the same at every layer all the way up to college. YOU picked the Tball team and Travel ball teams just like YOU picked the colleges and then YOU complain about the schedule, the lineup and the Coaching. Really??? I’m so confused, didn’t “YOU” do YOUR homework and ask the right questions and evaluate the situation? I hear parents complaining about their schedule, well didn’t YOU know where YOU were going before YOU committed to the team? We have all been down this road but YOU have to learn from it, grow and teach others to not make the same mistakes. If it happens to YOU again, then YOU OWN IT! Don’t blame someone else for YOUR mistakes.
It cracks me up to see the movement at the college levels. Didn’t YOU choose that program or did YOU allow YOU r daughter to make that decision without proper knowledge, I doubt it. Just like the College Coaches made the mistake picking YOU , YOU must have been on YOU r best behavior every time they came to see YOU r daughter play because no College Coach wants a parent that doesn’t appreciate the opportunity to play at the highest level, that complains and criticizes and thinks they have better ideas or options. It’s all the same because it is YOU !
Well, we all know how this story ends. Many don’t get the chance or opportunity because they weren’t taught how to overcome and work harder and earn it against all odds and all the bad coaching and playing favorites. So REALLY don’t blow it while YOU ’RE there! That’s YOUR opportunity NOT someone else’s fault.
Control what YOU control, YOUR athlete! Fix it before it gets to college or its highly unlikely it won’t get there.
Imagine a crowd of people going to YOUR office/workplace and yelling at YOU and watching every move YOU make and criticizing every decision and yelling and gossiping and complaining at the job YOU’RE doing? They get to sit and eat and snack and watch YOU! Then they go home and get on social media and hammer at the keyboard some more. This is what the Coaches feel like each and every weekend at every level. And it is easier to be part of the complaining crowd then the positive parent that chooses to look at all the GREAT things this coach is providing. Complaining about the coach only makes YOU look bad.
YOU’RE going to miss it when it’s gone!
Be part of the solution not the “know it all that has an opinion” crowd. Be thankful for what others are providing for YOUR athlete. YOU picked them, remember… and don’t tell me YOU didn’t pick the high school coach because the last set of parents ran that good coach off YOUR roster!
Pitcher parents! YOU signed up for that role. Embrace it, YOU control more of the outcome than YOU think. It grinds my gears to hear the pitcher parents complain about the pitch calls or the umpire calls. Be better, get to work, if YOUR athlete does the best job possible then everyone is better off. Don’t complain if there is an error if YOUR pitcher isn’t planting every location and doesn’t make a fielding error too, come on…. It’s a team effort for sure so do YOUR part, get a more comfortable bucket because YOU can contribute positively if the work is done!
I challenge YOU all this season, whatever age group to grab a note pad or note app and jot down all the GREAT things that this coach is doing for YOUR athlete. Be APPRECIATIVE of the coaches 99.99% are NOT paid no matter how much ya’ll think they are. A privileged few get their expenses reimbursed and still people think that is too much when these coaches take away from their family and give their vacation time to helping YOUR athletes! Just a simple THANK YOU or we APPRECIATE YOU is the answer. Then get to work and solve the playing time issues in YOUR own backyard, YOUR athletes wins!
Have winning expectations, that match the winning work ethic and hang out with other winners not WHINNERS!
The “Bench”. Most players fear being put on the bench only because someone told them that it is not a good place to be. Why is it perceived as not a good place to be? I’ve said it for years, you can’t manipulate playing time so if 7 players never touch the ball and only the pitcher and catcher can be guaranteed playing time, why is it so bad to be on the bench? Here’s a new perspective that every softball parent needs to share with their players. If there are 12 players on a team minimum, then if the 3 on the bench come in to play they have to sub for 3 other players, that means only 6 players aren’t on the bench. Half the team are “sub’s”. Any many more should rotate unless the rules in championship play prohibit the rotations.
You’re right, I grew up in the land of softball and raised my kids around the game where it was an honor to be on the bench for a team like the Orange County Bastbusters. You knew you made it… you would get recruited because coaches knew you were good enough to play on that team and to be on the bench on that team. Why you ask? Because you get trained by Coaches that know how to prepare you for the competition that you will face in college. If you’re not playing with or against your peers that you will play with or face in college then it makes it a lot harder to be ready to face that level of play.
Practice and training is where you get the tips and the repetition to be effective. The techniques and the experience can be created and repeated. You can’t get that experience in a game. I hear sooooo much crying from parents about playing time and I’ll share the magic secret, if you spend the time you spend crying and whining about playing time on preparing, teaching and training you’ll never have to worry. The hard work and effort will always pay off even if you just get one inning or one at bat. You can only play so long on natural talent as we have seen over the years the kid with talent and hard work will always outlast the kid with natural talent that doesn’t do the work. If you do everything YOU can to prepare your kid for the opportunities they’ll be more valuable and less likely to sit on the bench! Get it??
On the other hand, I’ve never understood why a Coach would put a kid on the roster if they can never find a place to put the kid in the game. Parents, put your kids on teams that they “can” play on. Take off your rosy glasses and put them on a team that they get the right training, coaching and can be put in the game without hurting the outcome of the game. Parents, get them to private or group hitting, fielding, technique training as a Coach will never have the time to individually train these kids as they have minimum coaching time to teach them to play as a team. It’s a privilege to be on a team where each kid is good enough to be on the field and on the bench.
I started playing this game in 1970 and it has changed significantly. However, one thing remains, the rules of the game that we all love puts 9 players on the field but you need depth on the bench to compete and to actually play the game. You need pinch runners that have speed and can slide. You need extra pitchers and catchers because of the amount of pressure and physical requirements. You need kids that can play another position at any time to cover injuries, sickness or absence. It made me crazy when we moved to Texas in 2007 and each team only wanted 10 on the roster. Then a kid gets sick or has another event or sport to play then it was left to the coach to find a “pick up player”. What the heck is that? Now you have another kid to train, teach and incorporate into the team chemistry all because someone else felt the team was a lessor priority. They all want their kids to stand there for the innings and act like that is valuable playing time. But they’re the least committed to the issues of the team and the Coach.
Let them all bat, what’s the big deal? Give them as many at bats as you can. What ever happened to playing 7 innings so the kids can get as many at bats as possible. Oh yah, the tournaments directors want as many teams as possible to make more money but it surely doesn’t create more playing time for the kids. You’re not preparing your kids to play the real game. Pitchers especially need to be able to get through an entire game to understand all the issues and challenges that lay ahead of them in college.
Play 7 innings! Host more “Friendly” games where you can play all 7 innings, teach and train and create opportunities for all kids on the field. The crying about being on the bench gets less when you can have the time to get them all in the game. Scrimmage your own team. I think it is ideal to have 16 to 18 on a seriously competitive roster, one that is trying to win National Championships. Never less than 12 or it becomes the Coaches issue because these are the classic teams where the parents complain the most and are the least dedicated because Susie has cheer, or volleyball or something else that is perceived as “balance” for them but not good for the team or the Coach. These are usually the families that have never coached because they don’t understand the responsibility of the Coach. Oh, I’ll have another blog about the Coach, don’t worry!
Here’s what the bench player should be doing. Cheering for their team. Keeping a score book so they understand the game. Charting pitches so they learn strategy. These tips can be modified by their level. I taught 10U players to keep the scorebook and they loved it. Have a coach talking to them explaining the game. Teaching the game to them while they wait their turn. Have them help the catcher get their gear on. Warm up a pitcher or two. There are so many things they can be doing. It is not punishment to be on the bench. Give them all a chance to be on the bench. Coaches… don’t make it so lopsided. This way they all get some opportunities and it will be obvious to the parents when you have to play only 9 by the rules.
It is a very rare moment for any player to NEVER sit the bench. And, those that haven’t, miss out on other aspects of the game.
I promise you they have less struggles in High School and College if they learn all aspects of the game including THE BENCH! This is a big reason why so many freshmen are leaving their college rosters, it is the first time the experience THE TEAM!
And FINALLY, no employer will ask how many innings you played, what division or anything other than a deep appreciate for a all the hard work, sweat, tears, teamwork and accomplishments they’ve made!
Teach the players the value of the Bench. Enjoy the journey, have fun along the way.
President, Collegiate Sports Advocate www.CollegiateSportsAdvocate.com
The Warning Signs of Inappropriate Interaction with Minors and how to recognize it.
The Warning Signs of Inappropriate Interaction with Minors and how to recognize it.
As Advocates for Student Athletes we feel it is our responsibility to continue to educate Student Athletes, their families, and others in the sporting community.
With Social Media and the constant barrage of information available it is important to put some warnings in place.
When CSA takes on a new Student Athlete, we take them through a training of Communication, Time Management, and Accountability. In the Communication segment we go through detailed information about the dangers of Social Media and the negative affects on a Student Athlete and now we will be adding the warnings and what to look for in inappropriate interaction with minors.
CSA is presenting to all Student Athletes the dangers of sexual predators and inappropriate conduct by others that they may come in contact with.
Warning Signs below are a collaboration of internet articles written to educate the public on the dangers.
Most sites agree that some of the signs may include:
Ways to protect your child
#TeamCSA #BeBetter #BeCSA #TruthRecruiting
Small Business News
Ripl UpdatesRipl Case Study | Collegiate Sports Advocate17 SEPTEMBER 2018 on Case StudiesHow Collegiate Sports Advocate uses RiplWho: Cheri Naudin | President, Owner, CEO, Marketing | Collegiate Sports Advocate
Why did Collegiate Sports Advocate need Ripl?
Collegiate Sports Advocate, Cheri Naudin, chose Ripl because she wanted to have creative visuals that stood out from her competitors, to send to Student Athletes across multiple Social Media platforms.
Their mission: Help College Coaches notice Student Athletes
How did Ripl help?
Quick, effective, interaction that helps Collegiate Sports Advocate grow! Ripl is CSA's company marketing tool.
Key Benefits & Results:
"We doubled our website traffic in one year using RIPL."
Ripl has brought a consistent brand message with the CSA logo automatically featured in each post. Collegiate Sports Advocate's audience quickly spots each of their posts because they are branded with the CSA logo and colors, and highlight their messages.
Collegiate Sports Advocate increased likes, follows and interactions because viewers who are not yet customers are seeing CSA promotions crafted with Ripl.
Ripl saves Collegiate Sports Advocate time and marketing effort because they can schedule posts to be shared at a future date. As a very small company representing over 300 Student Athletes nationwide, Collegiate Sports Advocate benefited from a good tool.
Advice For Other Ripl Users
More About CSA
Collegiate Sports Advocate helped over 300 Student Athletes in 27 States with over 107 Travel Clubs, and currently has 114 athletes committed to attend or playing in college.
There is no other company like Collegiate Sports Advocate. We get classified with other "recruiting" firms, but we're so much more as we STAY with them until they GRADUATE College, which is the real purpose.
Get Ripl Today!
Christine EvansChristine focuses on our customers’ happiness! She is passionate about helping others through communication and technology. You can bet she'll ask a lot of questions!
Bellevue, Washington http://ripl.com/
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I’m amazed at the amount of people in athletics who aspire to help their kids reach the next level but can’t seem to grasp the reality of it. How do parents presented with the numbers (kids aspiring to play collegiately vs available college roster spots) think that they’re going to pay for travel ball and the endless Camps and showcase gimmicks and all the other wasteful experiences that don’t have a bearing on recruiting and yet they really don’t have a plan in place to bring the success they want?!
CSA is NOT like the other recruiting agencies out there!!! We have a proven system that in 2 1/2 yrs has seen 105 athletes committed. We are a truly PERSONAL to YOU group of advocates who cater directly to our players and their families. We actually save our families money by helping you know what’s helpful vs what isn’t!! We are NOT a “DataBase Company” each player is individualized. If your kid isn’t playing at the HIGHEST of HIGH levels in Travel Softball then traveling the USA shouldn’t be on your to do list especially when college coaches aren’t following your team. Stop playing roulette with your kid’s futures and find a trusted source who has proven results. I promise you CSA’s fees are MINIMAL considering we stay with our players until COLLEGE graduation continuing to provide them with our support and cheering them on to their degrees and careers. Don’t waste another Showcase season without a PLAN of Action in place!!
#TeamCSA #BeCSA #RecruitingTruth
CSA Southeast Regional Director
1. Invest in weekly sessions with private hitting/pitching/catching/fielding instructors?
2. Invest time in conditioning/weight training/fundamental running mechanics?
3. Get to practice early and leave last?
4. Feed your body or Fuel your body?
5. Spend adequate time focusing on mastering the basic skills to this game?
6. Grind so hard you can’t hear what’s happening around you?
7. Focus on your mental game as much as your physical?
8. Request feedback from coaches on things to improve?
9. Work on your weaknesses as much or more than your strengths?
10. Lead by example in a humble/compassionate/competitive manner than earns the respect of your teammates?
If the answer is No...then stop wanting/hoping for what others are willingly working for. You’re not deserved anything in this game just bc you showed up. Work ethic catches and surpasses natural skill in a quickness.
#TeamCSA #BeCSA #RecruitingTruth
CSA Southeast Regional Director
BeKind! BeYou BeCSA
It continually amazes me how ADULTS can be so mean to Student Athletes. Why? Ask yourselves WHY do you need to put your negative comments out to others. Doesn’t matter if it is in a Company InBox or on your Facebook page. Just the negative thoughts alone are TOXIC and only hurt you. We call ourselves Advocates because we’re out here fighting for our Student Athletes. We don’t boast times, or statistics to trying to SELL a kid. We have a strong foundation of supporting and promoting POSITIVE accomplishment and moments that they have.
This is what is wrong with our Society. Somehow ADULTS feel that they have the RIGHT to post and comment and say mean things about others. Really??? Are you still in Junior High, and there too, we need to teach our youth that this is NOT the way to deal with jealousy, past history, past grudges or whatever your ridiculous motives are. The negative lives within YOU so maybe your day will be better too. I’m so sickened by the comments I see on the internet criticizing Student Athletes, instead, GO make a positive message to them. Put aside your petty ways and realize it is only hurting you!
Start over TODAY… when your critical thoughts enter your mind, ask yourself WHY? What good would this thought do? How will it be received? Who will it BENEFIT? Where will this be seen? When is this EVER appropriate.
Try a new approach today. Dismiss that thought immediately. It’s not a threat that someone else has success or support. Cheer for the others. Support our SPORT! Make this WORLD a better place TODAY.
Please share this with others. WE, not me, US not I need to make this a better life each and every day.
BeYOU – Be A Leader - Trying Times
It has taken a couple weeks for me to sort through my feelings about all the issues our Student Athletes have to cope with in this generation. Gun Violence, Mental Health, Social Media, Family, and School challenges. To me, these events seem so polarizing due to the constant battering of information and immediate reaction to everything that is said and done.
In my generation if it wasn’t on the nightly news; it wasn’t being discussed so we were somewhat protected from the evils of this world. We still had major crises and a few come to mind. Such as the McDonald's shooting, where a gunman entered a McDonalds’ and killed 22 innocent victims, or the Chow Chilla bus kidnapping where they kidnapped a bus load of kids from school and were held at gun point. There were the Manson Murders, and the Hillside Strangler, that resulted in the death of a classmate and a brother to my dear friend Troy. We were all terrified and these events changed our lives.
Social Media has changed these types of events because they're constantly revisiting these issues, the trauma, the opinions, and the details continually. Worse, then everyone has an opinion about the issues with little or no filter as to how their words affect others. It is difficult for our young Student Athletes to be bombarded with this constant reality of the EVIL world that we live in. They’re brains are not mature enough to cope with the intensity of this information. We are NOT giving them solutions and coping skills.
I think all of us agree, ENOUGH is ENOUGH. But the solutions are NOT with our Government, or our Families alone. We need to give them life tools, “Eternal” life tools.
We want to provide a SOLUTION for our Student Athletes. Get involved with a Local FCA group. We have a Softball FCA led by Dana Jenkins. firstname.lastname@example.org CSA has partnered with FCA http://fcasoftball.org/ and we want to encourage our Student Athletes to JOIN, get involved. Help others solve their issues. Be a leader in making change! Don't wait for someone else to do it for you. There is a powerful resource waiting for YOU. Form your OWN group. Gather, Discuss, and Help others.
Contact FCA to create your own support group! Join an already existing one! Seek the Answers through HIM!
Matthew 19:26Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
#BeCSA #TeamCSA #RecruitingTruth #FCA