DENVER (CBS4) – A former college baseball player that knows the challenge of getting the attention of coaches in order to get a scholarship has created an app called Sports Thread to help current players get the attention they need all from their phone.
"We've really gotten to a point with college recruiting where you know, you've got to make some noise to get noticed."
Sean Leary played for multiple college teams and had to work hard to get recruited by coaches on his own. He realized the amount of effort you need to put in so you can stand out. After graduating from Oral Roberts University in 2015, he started working on the app to change the way students highlight their abilities in a variety of sports.
"On LinkedIn you get a business profile that you use to network to try and find a job," Leary explained. "On Sports Thread you get an athletic profile that you use to network and find a place to play."
Before an app like this or any other digital service for athletes, most players looked to scouts and agencies to help them connect with coaches. They also could try getting placed into a database and hope colleges found them in that system. Leary explains these options were either expensive or limited in their ability to reach programs across the country.
"We aren't doing the work for the kids," he said. "We're providing the platform and the tool to get their name out there."
Athletes ages 13 and older can set up their own profile with their statistics and upload video highlights on Sports Thread. Then they can build a mailing list of programs they're interested in and start emailing coaches. The app provides templates for messages to send a coach.
Sports Thread has information on more than 2,000 colleges built into the app. If an athlete gets the attention of a coach, they can start chatting directly into the app. Users can also access a resource center with more information about the colleges and important rules to remember about recruitment.
"It gives the high school coach an avenue and a resource to point their kids to, to help them get their exposure."
All the posts from users feed into one universal thread that everyone sees, unlike other platforms like Facebook or Twitter that build a timeline based on whom you follow. While it is a service that could benefit any athlete, Leary says it is ideal for students that are not already on the radar of several Division I schools and need some extra help to get noticed.
"We use social media and social networking to get the kids' names out there," he added.
Leary hopes the app can also help high school coaches educate their players on the process and let them focus on developing their skills.
Sports Thread has an advisory board that includes Derrick Martin. he has two Super Bowl rings and currently coaches at Denver's Thomas Jefferson High School.
"It's in your hand, it's an app, all the kids at least in my school, they're on the apps, Martin said. "They're constantly trying to get more popular."
Martin also remembers the challenge of trying to get attention when you're a young athlete, and now as a coach he says it is exciting to have this resource for his players.
"Back in my day, we were still sending out cassette tapes. The game has changed immensely since I played," he said. "As a high school coach, you're trying to get your guys prepared to go to college. I think this is one of those tools that we can utilize that gives them the ability to have all the resources at their fingertips."
Sports Thread launched in late September and the company has already helped players get scholarships, including one student in Texas.
"The coach who offered him the scholarship said I can really see the passion that this athlete has for football, that he really loves it," said Leary.
Improper recruitment is an ongoing concern for colleges across the country. Sports Thread says it relies on its users to help police any inappropriate activity like other social media platforms.
The app is also developing a sense of community for athletes. They can post about their challenges in an individual sport and get the advice of others.
"Sports Thread is a platform that we are going to see grow tremendously in the coming years," Leary said.
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