College Soccer Explained Part 2: How To Build Your College Prospect List
Understanding the College Recruiting Process & Finding Your Ideal College Experience
Posted by: Jordan Collins | Director of Marketing and Communications
Talk to your current coach
Talk to coach about the transition to college soccer and what needs to be done. Ask your coach about timing. Seasons do not match and people are looking for different things at different times of year.
If (s)he coaches your age group (s)he has probably been a part of this process with former players a lot of times and seen the good and bad that his players have done as well as their results.
Ask if you can use them as a reference, if a potential coach calls you, you want your current coach to verify your ability.
Decide what you are looking for in a school
The term student-athlete is 100% accurate in putting student before athlete. You are going to college to prepare for your future and that means thinking about programs that could be interesting to you.
Think about location and expenses. Out of state and private institutions are more expensive than going to your community’s college
Be honest about your ability and seek opportunities to test your skills against players who are at the next level
Make contact with the coach
If you are a freshman or sophomore in high school, you will want to cast a wider net and contact more schools at various levels. If you are a junior or senior you will want to have a shorter list of schools that you will want to have a relationship with. Coaches speak with one another about recruits and players and if one program likes you but has depth at your position, this relationship could still benefit you in the long run with a recommendation to another program.
This portion requires research. When is their season? Do they have the academic program you want? Is there an ID camp?
Make contact far in advance about where you will be at tournaments, showcases, and other events, and send a reminder as the event approaches. Communicate during the periods of times that are important. Pay attention to what their team is doing via updates through social media, news, etc. Part of developing a good relationship with a coach is showing interest. Coaches are not always going to look for you at the tournaments you are at, you need to seek their attention.
Personalize your message and have materials to qualify who you are. What should you say? Is your social media appropriate for a prospective coach to see? Do you have a player resume or something showing where you have played and what you have done? Do you have game film of you playing that is watch-able? (it’s easy to tell who you are and what you are doing. Many highlight videos are too long, keep it short and tight. Do not have your parents send the e-mail or write it for you. You will have to talk to the coach and take on the responsibility of communication. This shows leadership and will push you above the players that are not direct. Ask your coach for help with the process. Why do you want to go there? What are you doing with your team?
DOs of contact
- Tell the coach why you would like to go to their school. Not just about soccer but also academics, if you don’t have the grades you can’t play.
- Ask your coach for help with personalizing your letter, maybe send them a copy or cc them on your correspondence.
- Tell the coach when you will be playing at a convenient location for them to attend or that you are attending their ID camp. (do this prior to a week before you attend, this will help your chances)
- Have materials and references on hand to prove that you are who you say you are. This can mean coaches, a player profile/resume, game film, and people who can vouch for the positive things that you do. Utilize Google Drive or YouTube and make it as simple as possible for a coach to you see you play as possible.
- Tell them what you are doing in your current team and what you are working on.
- Know the rules of contact for soccer (links below)
- Talk to the coach when you attend the camp introducing yourself
- Visit the school to see how it feels on campus. See if you can watch a practice or speak with the coach
- Copy the team’s assistants onto your correspondence
DON’Ts of contact
- Don’t contact a coach the night before you arrive on campus for a visit or camp. You need to show initiative to stand out from other players.
- Don’t have a negative or profane image on social media. Coaches care about the content of your character because they care about the culture of their team and locker room. They have a limited number of spots on their roster and you don’t want to give a coach any reason not to include you.
- Don’t have your parents or someone else constantly communicating for you. You need to be able to present your ideas and market yourself as a responsible young person looking to contribute to their program. Being able to properly represent yourself publicly is a large part of growing up and it is always good practice.
Now that you have the knowledge of how to stand out and how to communicate with coaches be sure to take some time and form a plan. There are actionable steps in these lessons that can open up your future, it is up to you to take advantage and make the most of this process.