Athletic Recruiting 101 – What Student Athletes Need to Know
So, you think you want to be a college soccer player? Keep in mind the three R's of Recruiting. It will help you find the right fit so you can hopefully have the best experience possible.
RESEARCH. You need to do some homework to find the right school that meets your goals.
Geography - Location (distance from home; urban/suburban/rural setting)
Size - What is the enrollment? (which can affect class sizes); How many degrees do they offer? (in case you don't know what you want to study and/or change your major)
Cost - What does it cost to attend the school? What opportunities are there for either athletic scholarships or financial aid to attend the school?
Athletics - Coaching staff; history of the program; roster (who is playing your position because this could affect your playing time); style of play.
Rules - Know the recruiting rules for each level. For example, NCAA Division 1 & 2 coaches cannot contact you until June 15 after your sophomore year of high school.
REALISTIC. You need to have an honest assessment of your abilities as a player and student-athlete to find the right fit.
Meet and discuss with your current/past coaches for feedback on where you are at and what you need to improve upon to play at the level that you want.
If college coaches are reaching out, what level are they at? That generally gives you an idea of how you are being perceived.
Do your goals align with reality? If you want to play right away at a college, the higher and bigger the program, the more likely you will have to sit your first year or two.
There are many college soccer programs at various levels, even within each level of NCAA Division 1, Division 2, Division 3, NAIA, and Junior Colleges. You need to find the right level and fit for your goals and the experience you want.
REACH OUT. Once you have decided on the level and have done the research to narrow down to a top 20 or even top 10 schools of your choice, you need to contact the coaching staff at those schools.
Emails - Send an initial email to the coaching staff to express your interest in their school and soccer program. Provide basic information; for example, first and last name, graduation year, GPA, name and address of your high school, name of your club team, your coaches' contact information (email and phone), upcoming schedule of games and tournaments, and your position(s) and jersey number(s).
Look at the soccer program's website to see if they have an online questionnaire that you can fill out and submit.
Stay in contact by continuing to send updates on your season and schedule at least every two or three weeks. Persistent pays off!!
If you have a highlight video, send the links so the coaches can see you playing. Note your jersey number and position on the field.
Ask if there are upcoming camps that they are hosting in order to get in front of the coaching staff.