The process of being recruited to play soccer at the collegiate level is much more involved than most realize. The behind the scenes work from both players and coaches are very important when recruiting or trying to be recruited. Here are some tips for players who are wanting to play soccer at the next level.
If you take the sport seriously, which is a characteristic most coaches look for when recruiting, then it is absolutely necessary to perfect your game whenever you can. Whether it’s everyday at a practice, by yourself, or even watching soccer, expanding your skill set of the game is key when trying to play in college. You should work on your strength, fitness, technique, and knowledge of the game whenever you have an opportunity to.
Always remember when trying to be recruited to college, that you could potentially have the title of “student-athlete”. With that said, academics are a huge part of what playing at the next level is about. College coaches will always be interested in your grades, especially during the recruiting process. No coach wants a prospective player with low, questionable or potentially problematic grades. Academic eligibility varies depending on the division you may be recruited to, but no matter where your education takes you, it is always important to take responsibility of your grades.
You should find at least 10 schools you are serious about and are wanting to pursue. It might be a waste of time to show interest in schools just because they are nationally ranked, are close to home, or just because they showed interest in you. You should research schools that are a good fit for you. Look into their academic programs, where they are located, how much they cost and then start to learn about their athletic programs. Once you have a narrowed list of about 10 schools, you then should start to show your interest in them.
After you have narrowed your list of schools that you are seriously interested in, start contacting them as soon as possible. You want to start your recruiting process during your freshman or sophomore year of high school. It is important to realize that depending on the level of school you are interested in, there are certain rules that coaches have to abide by during the recruiting process. For example, if you are interested in a division I school, NCAA rules prohibits college coaches from contacting you first until your junior year of high school. They are allowed to answer your calls, but they are not allowed to call you back or email you back. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t email them or call them if you are in that stage of recruitment. Whether it’s about your game schedule, injuries or just to update them about whatever. This will show coaches that you are seriously interested in their program and will allow them to put names to faces if/when they come to see you play.
To put it frankly, coaches don’t have much time to go out and recruit. They have other responsibilities to take care of, such as office work, coaching, and other priorities that take over watching potential recruits. It can be helpful for coaches and could help you showcase yourself if you make a highlight video of your technique, style of play, and skill. Put together different clips of games you’ve played that reveal what you have to offer coaches and their programs. Make sure to include basic information, during this 3-4 minute video, like: Your name, what club you play for, DOB, weight, height, and accolades. These videos are especially helpful to coaches to know your name, see your skill and understand that you are expressing interest in them.
Believe it or not, you’re current coaches can help move the recruiting process along. It is important to notify your current or past club coaches about the schools you might be interested in. They could contact those specific programs and put a good word to your name and soccer skills.
If you have a certain list of schools and programs you are interested in, it is important to showcase yourself as much as possible. Not only should you notify coaches about your tournament/game schedule and provide them a highlight video, but showing interest also includes participating in camps. Even if the school you are interested in is far, traveling to those camps can be worth the exposure. Plus, it’s always good to visit schools to make sure the environment is something you would be comfortable in.
DON’T GIVE UP
It might be frustrating when trying to be recruited because many coaches might not be too concerned with players at first, but don’t give up on contacting them. It does not go unnoticed when potential recruits keep expressing interest in their programs.