The years go by quickly.
• Sophomore year - Start thinking and talking about colleges with parents, teachers, academic advisors and peers. Build a list of 10-20 schools. E-mail those coaches your game stats, GPA/Test scores, team schedules and highlight tapes.
• Junior year - Reduce your list to (roughly) 5 colleges and schedule visits during the summer before your junior year. ATTEND YOUR DESIRED SCHOOLS CAMPS and I.D CLINICS. E-mail the coaches your updated game stats, GPA/test scores, team schedule and highlight tapes.
• Senior year - If you have not committed, maintain communication with the coaches on a regular basis. Not every school secures its targets immediately. Many schools lose out on top recruits and need to find players of a similar profile. If you have not committed to a program going into your senior year, don’t panic….IT IS NOT TOO LATE.
Communication with coaches
• If you don’t receive a response from a coach after 2-3 weeks, call him/her. Don’t over do it with the calls. Don’t call or e-mail more than once a week. You don’t want coaches to ignore you.
• Coaches can only contact you once a week.
• Respond to EVERY coach that e-mails you. You never know what will happen as this process unfolds. Option 5 on your top school’s list might become #1.
• Never send generic templated e-mails. Personalize your e-mails. Let your e-mail demonstrate your interest and or appreciation for the correspondence.
• Prepare for every phone call you schedule with a coach. Create a list of questions to ask the coach and think about responses to potential questions he/she might ask you.
• There are rules about the type of communication you can have with coaches. The rules are based on your grade. Consult the NCAA/NAIA rule book online for more information. Pay specific attention to the difference between HOW COACHES CAN CONTACT YOU vs HOW YOU CAN CONTACT COACHES.
Don’t pick a school because you like their basketball team!
• Does the school have the major you want to pursue? Do you believe in the mission of the athletic department? Can you see yourself fitting in to the athletic culture?
• How does the coach view your involvement?
◦ Do the coaches want you to be a starter?
◦ Will you get a roster spot?
◦ How far down on the depth chart might you be? How likely is it that the coach will try to recruit over you?
Mom and Dad’s role
• Don’t let mom and dad call or e-mail coaches on your behalf.
• Take responsibility and own the process.
• Consult mom and dad. Ask them questions about their experiences in college. Use them to bounce ideas off of. Use them to proofread e-mails. Your parents are in your corner, give them a role in this process. The only role that should be off limits to them is captain of the ship.
• Don’t send 4th grade state cup semi-final videos to anyone other than grand-mom. Send your latest game footage. Seems obvious, but it’s not.
- Ask your coaches to load your games onto Dropbox
- Download the file from Dropbox onto your computer
- Ask your coaches what moments should be captured
- Load the video file to I-movie or any basic video editing software
- Edit the video based on your coaches guidance
- Load edited video to Dropbox let your coach review
- Make edits if necessary
- Upload video file to Youtube and share the link with colleges
- Be sure to identify yourself in your videos!
- If this is too complicated, hire a company.
• The NCAA has a lot of rules…..so….learn the rules. Go to the NCAA website and study their eligibility requirements. Not knowing is not an excuse. If you don’t qualify to play college sports, there are NPSL and PDL teams.
• Register for the NCAA and NAIA eligibility clearing house (Eligibility center). Information about courses, testing and gpa requirements can be found there.
• You should get letters of recommendation from people that will write positive things about you. Having coaches write letters on your behalf is a smart move (unless the coach doesn’t like you).
Grades are critical…I repeat…..Grades are critical
• Just because you can kick a ball does not mean all of the rules will be broken for you. I would be lying if I said that some rules won’t be bent or even broken, but some rules have to be accepted for what they are. The top schools have minimum standards for admittance. If the player is a national level player and his or her grades are a bit low, the coach can go to bat for him/her. Coaches will only go to bat for a player that is not at the academic level of the school he/she wants go attend if they believe they can support him/her academically and if the player will significantly improve the program. Most of the soccer population does not fall into this category.
• It is not wise for coaches to recruit players with bad grades when it could affect the coaches’ scholarships and job stability. Keep that in mind.
• Coaches want students that care about their academics.
• Again, for the 99 percent of you, soccer will get you to the door but you won’t get into the school if your grades are bad.
End of the world scenario
• Ask yourself: Would I be happy at this school if you could not play soccer? If yes, go there….if no, keep searching.
Scholarships? Where is mine?
• College is very expensive. How will you pay for your education?
• Scholarships are given to the best players. Period.
• Scholarships are competitive and if a scholarship is a requirement, be sure to look at D1, D2 and NAIA schools.
• Not all scholarships are FULL scholarships. Coaches can divide scholarship money any way they see fit.
• Scholarships landscape / per team / Men
- NCAA D1 - 9.9
- NCAA D2 - 9
- NAIA - 12
- NJCAA -18
• Scholarships landscape / per team / Women
- NCAA D1 - 14
- NCAA D2 - 9.9
- NAIA - 12
- NJCAA -18
Contact me @firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to discuss these topics in more detail.