Imagine it: you’re a senior in high school, being recruited to play soccer at the colligate level, and you blow out your knee. You need reconstructive surgery. A doctor tells you that you’re never going to play again.
How do you recover from this devastating loss? If you’re Emily Buettner, you make an award-winning app designed to help more athletes to play the sport they love.
Buettner and her team are launching Plug, a social media recruitment platform for coaches and athletes to connect on. The app will be coming out on iOS, Andriod, and a website.
Plug democratizes the recruitment process for less privileged athletes who don’t have the financial resources to go to the college showcases, where we know the coaches are recruiting.
- Emily Buettner
“Plug democratizes the recruitment process for less privileged athletes who don’t have the financial resources to go to the college showcases, where we know the coaches are recruiting,” Buettner said. “It levels the playing field. It’s beneficial for recruiters as well, because now they have a diverse set of talented athletes to choose from.”
Buettner, an IT Innovation undergraduate at IS&T, knows first-hand how expensive the recruitment process can be. She says while her family had the financial means to help her along this process, she knows there are more talented athletes who face inequity.
“Athletes don’t have the power to take it into their own hands,” Buettner continued. “So, how do we eliminate the middle man and give them a platform to showcase their talents?”
Athletes will upload videos that showcase their skills to Plug, and add the appropriate tag. Recruiters will be able to search for the skills they’re looking for, and find athletes they may have never been able to see in action. Traditional social media platforms aren’t built for athletes to display their talents, and Buettner says that Plug will be a platform dedicated for athletes and recruiters.
The passionate soccer player always knew she wanted to play through college, but the rest of it was a little unplanned. When a high school teacher had heard about IS&T’s High School Internship Program, they encouraged Buettner to apply, and she landed a spot in the IT Innovation lab. It was a natural fit. While Buettner didn’t end up playing soccer at UNO, she moved on to work in the IT Innovation Lab as a freshman in college and earned one of IS&T’s Women in IT Scholarships.
Just last month, Buettner and her team entered UNO’s Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Franchising BigIdea! Pitch Contest. Buettner competed against 40 other teams. Through a series of refinements, Plug won the top spot at UNO which included a $500 prize and a trip to Tampa, Florida to compete in the National Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) Pitch Competition. While Plug didn’t move forward in the national competition, Buettner says she is grateful for the experience.
“I think UNO really did shape me to understand the whole lifecycle of entrepreneurship,” Buettner said. “You have to know the technology, and you have to know the business.”