Recruiting and Academics Tips
1. Be realistic of your ability.
If you are not a National level or Region player, do not focus on top 10 schools or the super conferences. Be realistic of where you can play. Ask your coach for an honest evaluation or do so at a local camp. Exert your energy to where it can be productive.
2. When do I start?
This is a really a tough question to answer but it is the question I am asked the most. First, for the girls’ side I would advise freshman year and for the boys’ sophomore year. Sophomore year (U16) for the girls is the year that most top prospects end up committing or narrowing down their search. I like to use the freshman year to get used to the recruiting process and prepare for U16. My girls hit the ground running and I love to have them committed before their junior year or down to their final choices. For boys this rings true too, but since they are still growing, the process is one year later. With that being said here is what affects the entire process. First, what is the prospects soccer ability? Are you a national, region, or state selected player? Being a part of these teams provide early identification by top college coaches. Next is your club team and league. Playing ECNL, Region play, and qualifying in top brackets at showcases attract the top college coaches. Staying local and playing on a team with a low ranking isn’t going to draw Division I coaches to your game like top ranked teams. With all that being said, I have seen girls commit in their freshman year and their senior year to major programs. But the more exposure, the more opportunities to show your skills off.
3. Focus on your grades.
I have conversations with college coaches and besides from their play on the field, grades are the first thing we discuss. Patriot League and Ivy League schools, along with some of the higher-level institutions, have admissions for a reason. Even if they think you can play at their college, if you do not have the grades and test scores you will not play there.
4. Send emails with your schedule.
A solid way to have coaches give you a look is to email them your schedule for the upcoming tournament/showcase. This should be brief and easy to read. Do not send the schedule link. Type it out! I also make sure the level of play and rank of the team is in subject so they know you’re a player worth checking out. Also, if you have not been identified by that school, you do not need to provide your favorite foods and hobbies. Until they identify you as a player they want to continue to evaluate, it doesn’t matter!
5. Be Proactive!
Recruiting is not just about sending a few emails and playing soccer. If you have aspirations treat the recruiting process like another job. Doing research on the school and its program is just a start. Sending emails prior to tournaments, follow up emails, selecting the right camps, dealing with the frustration of phone calls, and making a final decision are all part of the process. Be prepared to work.
6. If you aren’t speaking to the coaches, you are not being recruited.
If a college coach has interest they are going to make sure that you know it. They will reach out to the coach, team manager, recruiting coordinator, or DOC. Just because a college coach was at your game does not mean you are being recruited. If you do not receive an email or have any of the following people above let you know that the coach specifically asked about you, then you are probably not being tracked.
7. Follow up and don’t give up.
One of my prospects had a dream school. She attended their camp, emailed, called on the phone, and was evaluated several times, and nothing. I told her to move on but she persisted. As she continued to develop, the coaches saw her growth and were impressed with her potential. She ended up receiving an offer to that school! Until a coach kindly informs you that it probably isn’t a good fit, there is nothing wrong with staying after it.
8. Your coach should be your advocate and pass on information.
Club coaches may be great trainers or tacticians but being a recruiting advisor isn’t necessarily something they know (many do of course). After a college coach approaches a team manager, coach, or DOC, that person should simply pass on the information to that prospect and their family. Assisting in this process is great but do not let that individual tell you that they are the person that should handle it.
9. Don’t continue the process forever.
With the families I currently work with, the formula is simple. Once we get an offer from a few schools that are a good fit, we make a decision. You could continue to showcase and always get a new school involved in the mix but as time ticks by, those schools may realize you don’t feel their program is a great fit and they will move on. Also, once you receive an offer if you continue to play, if you hit a stretch of bad games they can pull the offer.
10. Send coaches video.
Video is an easy way to show coaches from another region who you are. It is always great if you caption your highlights vs. a solid team. Performing well in a region game or high level bracket shows you can perform vs. the level of talent they are looking for. This is also a nice way to keep your coaches updated throughout the process. I love video that shows some weight training, speed and agility, and some technical skills work. Showing your committed to the hard work goes along way.