Players must be proactive and assertive in the college soccer recruiting process. Parents are encouraged to support this, but college coaches will want to hear from the players.
Here are 8 steps to support a player's college recruitment process:
STEP 1: COMPLETE THE NCAA ELIGIBILITY CENTER REGISTRATION
In order to be considered for college sports, you must be registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center. The link to get started is here.
STEP 2: COMPLETE EACH SOCCER QUESTIONNAIRE
Almost every college soccer team in NCAA Division 1, 2, and 3 has a soccer questionnaire that is available for prospective students to fill out on their team's website. A completed questionnaire allows potential recruits to put themselves in the college coach’s system of communication. Once you have identified the college soccer programs of your choice, go to their websites and fill out their soccer questionnaires. This action will alert college coaches that you are interested in their program. This questionnaire also supplies them with the correct contact information for when their staff is attending tournaments, hosting clinics or camps, and having visitation days. Players should include a link to their College Fit Finder page.
STEP 3: MAKE A HIGHLIGHT VIDEO
This is a great asset in the college recruitment process since college coaches receive many emails describing the 'greatness' of prospective players. Also, it is impossible for college coaches to attend games of all prospective student-athletes. A highlight video will offer the college coach an opportunity to see you play early in the recruiting process. It could put you on the shortlist for that team. Players should think of it as their "movie trailer" to help convince the college coach to come to a game of theirs at a college showcase. For assistance and tips, you can contact Ryan C. French at firstname.lastname@example.org. This video can be uploaded to a player's College Fit Finder page.
STEP 4. GIVE COACHES YOUR SHOWCASE TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
Let coaches know what soccer tournaments, showcases, and leagues you are playing in. Coaches have limited resources and need to prioritize what events to go to and who they will be seeing. Factor yourself into the coach’s decisions by providing your soccer schedule early in the process. It will increase the likelihood of them seeing you play if they are already going to the tournament.
STEP 5. BE CONSISTENT AND RESPONSIVE
If you are not diligent about responding in a timely fashion (24 hours) and/or following up with the college coach, then he/she may think you are no longer interested in his/her program. On the other hand, not getting an email back from the college coach in a timely fashion or not getting one back at all does not necessarily mean that he/she is not interested in you. Remember, they are managing a list of current and prospective recruits that can be hundreds of players. College can receive over a hundred emails a day, so please follow-up! Persistence makes you more visible and shows that you are interested in that team and college.
STEP 6. ATTEND COLLEGE ID CAMPS
College ID camps are a popular way for coaches to identify potential recruits. With so much going on during the year, many college coaches utilize a popular summer ID camp to energize their recruiting pool. In contrast to a showcase tournament, the reason soccer ID camps are so popular is because they give coaches the ability to watch players in different settings over a 2 to 4 day period. College coaches can see players play in several different situations, try players in different positions, and see how players fit into different formations that they are considering. Furthermore, college coaches want to see players in different positions to understand if the recruit can adjust and test game intelligence. Our suggestion is to only attend the ID Camps for the colleges that you are interested in attending. Also, try to find out if the Assistants or Head Coaches will be attending the camp. Not all College ID Camps have the coaching staff running them; some colleges have the college players run the camps.
STEP 7. PLAYERS NEED TO COMMUNICATE…NOT THE PARENTS!
As you get further along in the process of communicating with a college coach, it is important that the player (not the parents) communicate and organize the process. This means responding to their emails in a timely fashion and filling out the required forms coaches request. This is important because ultimately coaches look for more than just talent on the field. They want responsible, mature adults that will represent their program well. Additionally, most coaches want to see the player personally communicating with them. For many college coaches, constant communication from parents is a “red flag” and will make you a less attractive recruit.
STEP 8. MAKE ACADEMICS JUST AS IMPORTANT
Grades matter in the college soccer recruiting process! The player must remember that it's STUDENT-athlete. Many players are enamored with the “full-ride” dream, but the reality is that academic scholarships are more prevalent and easier to attain than athletic scholarships as there as so few athletic scholarships offered. Having a strong GPA makes the player more attractive to college coaches because better students may require less scholarship or less admissions involvement from the college coach. In many cases, college coaches need their incoming class to have an average GPA that reaches the school’s standards for the coach to push his/her class through. The more selective the academic school and the harder a coach must push for a player, the less likely he/she is to offer you a roster spot.