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About VSI

About Us:

Our Mission - To provide innovative and insightful educational resources, tools and programs for student athletes, their families and coaches in the Northwest to help them better understand the college identification and selection process.

The VSI staff consists of college coaches, high school coaches, guidance counselors, ex-college athletes, ex-professional athletes and parents that have all been involved with the college selection and recruiting process. We all know how the process works and how to work the process and be successful.

Scott Brayton - Founder/Coach/Advisor/Mentor

Scott's genuine interest in sports and those who participate in them has led him to create unique services that educate those who are looking to find the college that is right for their educational needs. Scott considers himself one of the lucky college students who was able to receive an excellent education while playing the sport he loves. He has watched others who have not been as successful in achieving similar goals and has set out change that trend.

  • High School Career
    • All-State, All-New England, Honorable Mention All American – Soccer
    • Varsity Basketball, Baseball
    • All State Lacrosse
  • Junior National Team Member - Soccer
  • College Soccer Career
    • Hartwick College (4) year player
    • Member of the 1977 Division I National Champions
    • Member of the 1980 Final Four Team
  • Professional Soccer Career (4) years
  • Assistant College Coach (2 years)

Gary Whitehouse - Coach/Advisor/Mentor

Coach/Advisor – Gary has a passion to help young student-athletes pursue their dreams.  He has seen too many student-athletes in the Northwest over the years not attain their dreams of going to college, getting a great education and playing the sport they love. Gary has also experienced first hand with his son how hard the college selection and recruiting process can be.  He will admit to anyone how many different ways a parent or child can mess up the process by not knowing what is important and what is not. He lived it himself…….

Gary’s background in sales, communications and his empirical knowledge of the college selection and recruiting process has made him an expert.

“Developing a plan, executing the plan will always create a winning situation for each of his clients..!”

2003-Present        Varsity Student Institute

1997–20016            LWYSA Crossfire Premier Soccer          

  • Vice President of Crossfire Board from 2000-03
  • Secretary of Crossfire Board from 1998 to 2000
  • Crossfire Team Manager from 1997 to 2016
  • State Cup Representative 1999-Present
  • 2000 WSYSA ODP Program ODP Administrator/Team Manager
  • Attended Regional Camp with WSYSA Team at NW Nazarene College

Larry Judd-Coach/Advisor/Mentor

As you’ll quickly discover, Larry’s passion for the world of higher education is both engaging and infectious. Using a detailed selection process to determine the “right” school for each student-athlete, Larry looks at all of the different factors that lead to a highly successful college experience. Along the way, he’s able to share critical tips with students and parents on how to work effectively with a school’s admissions staff, how to choose the right major, and how to maximize the odds of obtaining the best balance of athletics and academics.   

  • High School Coaching Career (Head Coach)
  • Eleven Years of Experience
  • Two Conference Coach-of-the-Year Awards
  • Sportsmanship Award winner
  • Four Regional Final Fours 
  • College Coaching Career (Assistant Coach)
  • University of Maine Farmington
  • NAIA Regional Final Four
  • Set school record with most wins in a season
  • Bethany College-West Virginia
  • Conference Tournament Champions
  • Pikeville College-Kentucky
  • #1 rated recruiting class in the nation for NAIA Division 1
    (Blue Chip magazine)
  • Keene State College-New Hampshire
  • Sweet 16 of the Division 3 National Tournament
  • Set school record for most wins in a season
  • Master’s degree in Sports Sciences from the US Sports Academy (Alabama)
  • Published in Coach magazine

Meri-Jo Borzilleri - Coach/Advisor/Mentor

A sports journalist for more than 20 years, Meri-Jo Borzilleri has covered a wide range of sports and events, giving her the opportunity to explore what makes athletes tick -- from high schoolers to Olympians.

Borzilleri has observed and interacted with players at all levels of competition, winning state and national awards for her writing. Among her highlights was covering NCAA Div. I college football, state prep tournaments, Super Bowls, the World Series, the Stanley Cup Finals, U.S. Open tennis, the NCAA Tournament (basketball) and four Olympic Games.

She played four years of varsity tennis for NCAA Div. III Johns Hopkins University and recently completed her third season coaching high school soccer at the JV and assistant varsity level.

Before becoming a freelance journalist, Borzilleri was a staff writer for newspapers including The Miami Herald and the Colorado Springs Gazette, where she covered Air Force Academy football, the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

Through her own collegiate and professional experiences, she has seen the impact college athletics can have on the lives of young people, and is eager to help students find the right place to grow in the classroom and on the playing fields.

Troy Niehaus - Coach/Advisor Service Academy Readiness

Troy is a 1993 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and spent over 15 years as an Admissions Liaison Officer for the Academy where he counseled high-school students who are candidates for a Service Academy appointment or ROTC scholarship. In addition, he has served for many years on Congressional Nomination panels for former Governor Inslee, Senator Cantwell, Congresswoman DelBene, and Congressman Kilmer. Troy developed his interview skills as an Air Force Special Agent and has extensive knowledge about the different Academies and various commissioning programs, the admissions process, and life in the military.

Troy offers a specialized Service Academy Readiness program for high school students. Depending on which Service Academy you are looking to attend, or ROTC scholarship you are looking to earn, an Interview may be required.  In addition, most Congressional and Senatorial Nomination Panels require an interview.  The interview is one of the student's best chances to stand apart, and this course is designed to help with interview skills, including possible questions, what to wear, and what the interviewers’ general expectations are.  We also conduct mock interviews to fully prepare the student for the stresses that interviews can cause.