For most young soccer players in United States the college soccer recruiting process
World Cup U.S. vs Slovenia
College Recruitment, Part II
College Recruitment, Part I
Eric’s Tips on Training
begins with marketing yourself. It may seem like an intimidating and confusing venture, but the process can be easy and rewarding for those willing to take a little initiative. The recruiting process and time table is different for everyone. While some players are making verbal commitments to universities at age 16, others might not even start the recruiting process until senior year. There are often coaches looking to add players late so it’s never too late to start the process. Here are five easy tips to help make the recruiting process less daunting and to hopefully assist you in getting a spot on a college roster.
1. Figure out where you would like to go to school
It doesn’t need to be set in stone, but making a list of 10-20 colleges that you are interested in is a great way to narrow down the process. Pick schools based on academics, location, and cost, as well as what you know about the soccer program. Make sure you include your dream school even if the you might think the academic or soccer team level may be a bit out of your reach. Also include schools that are realistic for you and your academic and athletic ability.
2. Send an email
The best time to start writing emails to coaches is during your junior year in high school. Due to NCAA rules, most coaches are not allowed to write emails to players about recruiting until September of their junior year, so if you write an email to a coach before then don’t expect a response. If you’re playing in a tournament near a college you like, don’t hesitate to ask the coach if there is a time you could stop by the office and say hello. Most coaches will take ten minutes to meet you and show you around.
Once you have your list of 10-20 schools, check in with each school one at a time. Most coaching staff email addresses can be found online. If you can’t find the email online, call the athletic department for the coach or recruiter’s contact info. Write the email to the head coach, and cc’ any assistant coaches for the team as well. Don’t send a mass email. Keep the email short and include your name, graduation year, GPA, SAT score or when you plan to take it, position, team, and where the coach can see you play. Your email should look something like this:
Dear Coach Hartford and Coach Smith,
My name is Lionel Messi and I play right-wing or up top for CV Manchester BU17 Red. I’m graduating from Mt. Carmel High School in 2011, and I have a 3.6 and I’m taking my SAT test this May.
My CV Manchester team is playing in Nomads College Showcase this weekend and Surf Cup in August. I posted my team’s schedule and game locations below. I’d appreciate it if you could watch me play.
3. Follow up
If you invited coaches to come watch you play in a tournament be sure to send a follow up email after the tournament or showcase. Ask for some feedback. Send a thank you if you met with them on campus. Ask questions about their program. Some coaches will write you back and some will not. Some will express interest, and some will tell you that you are not what they are looking for. Some will ask to see you play again. Responses and feedback with coaches (or lack thereof) will help you narrow down your list. Be patient and don’t expect to be offered a spot on the team after the coach has seen you play one time. Most coaches will want to see you play several times and get to know you before they make you an offer. It’s important to try to keep your head up and not get discouraged in the process.
4. Go watch the team play
College soccer season runs from August to December, and it is cheap and exciting to watch. Watching a team that you might be interested in playing for will provide insight about the players, coach, program, students, and more. See if you might fit in with the team’s formation and the level of play. In San Diego alone there are two-year and four-year colleges of all different levels and styles. Game schedules can be found online.
5. Attend a Camp
College camps are a great way to get direct contact to college coaches. Most camps bring in coaches from other schools to work with the players directly. At our UC San Diego camp last month we had coaches from UC Santa Cruz, Stanford, San Diego State, UC Irvine, Saint Louis, San Diego Christian, and Cal State San Marcos, in addition to the whole staff from UCSD working with campers. Playing for a college coach for a week during camp will really give you a chance to see what the coach is like, and will give him an extended and close view of you as a player and teammate. Most camps also house players in the college dorms, which will give you great insight into college life and figuring out if that campus is right for you.