In order to play soccer in college you must prepare academically which we have talked about. Prepare athletically by attending extra training, pushing yourself in regular practices, and do whatever it takes to become a better player. Complete the administrative preparations that we discussed in the year by year section. Make sure to identify “realistic” college and playing options. You can play, but can you play at the highest level out there? Generate contacts and communicate with the colleges and especially the college coaches that you have selected as possible options. Make sure to follow up consistently with these contacts.
Ask yourself which team will give you the most exposure to the coaches you want to see. Read our interviews and you will see that coaches at different levels are going to different events throughout the year. Some stay local, some travel around the world. Some watch only the highest level NPL, ECNL, WCDA events. Others get players from regular tournaments and ID Camps. Guest playing can get you on to teams and increase your exposure also.
For players of equal academic and athletic ability, those who have the opportunity to create more contacts, and those who are more diligent about communicating effectively will find themselves with more opportunities to attend school and play soccer.
Communication with the coach is very important, but good communication is essential. Do all that you can to complete your player profile and cover letters and send them out promptly. Make sure to make further contact by following up by e-mail and phone. If you get a phone call, return it immediately, and remember that the NCAA coach cannot call more than once a week and in some cases they can’t call you at all. You can call all you want though. If you have a message from a coach, call back and keep calling until you get through. There is no harm in attaching YouTube or other video content of yourself too. Some coaches we have spoken to said they much prefer seeing this over not seeing it. Let them know you are going to be at specific tournaments or showcases – what times and fields. Similarly for league games and invitationals. They are unlikely to be there but it shows how committed you are.
When the coach calls, the coach wants to present the school and soccer program, to learn more about you – the player, and to arrange to move you further along the recruiting pipeline, possibly to a home visit or to an official visit to the school.
“Knowledge is power and having the tools to turn that knowledge into results will pay huge dividends for the next few years of your life. Be proactive.” (Tony McCall (Regis U))
Questions to Ask
First do some research on your own and make sure you know who you are talking to and a bit about their program. You want to impress them with your knowledge and your research.
- Could you tell me a little bit about your coaching philosophy and what you look for in a recruit?
- Can you tell me a little bit about your program that may not be apparent in any of your recruiting materials?
- How many players are you looking to recruit the year I graduate from high-school?
- Could you give me an idea of a typical in-season schedule?
- Could you give me an idea of a typical out-of-season schedule?
- Do you see yourself being at _______________university for the period of time that I will be a student there?
- Coach, are you currently on a contract? (You want to make sure that they are not leaving once you are there).
- Would you mind telling me where you are in that contract?
- What do you believe sets your program apart from other programs?
- Is your program a fully funded NCAA program? (Hopefully you know this one?)
- If not can you tell me how many scholarships your program has?
- Is there an opportunity for a freshman to receive athletic financial aid in addition to academic scholarships?
- What do you normally offer incoming freshmen from an athletic scholarship point of view?
- How long does my scholarship last for?
- What happens to my athletic scholarship if I get injured while playing for your institution?
- Do freshmen have an opportunity to get quality playing time?
- How good is the department of ______________________ in my chosen major?
- What percentage of your players on scholarship graduate within 4 years?
- Do you as a coach have a minimum play GPA?
- Do you as a coach have a team travel GPA?
- Do student athletes get priority when registering for classes at the beginning of each semester or quarter?
- Do you have a preference of the class load students should undertake in-season?
- In your opinion how flexible are professors in reference to athletes and their travel schedules?
- How many classes will I typically miss due to in season and games and how do I catch up?
- Do you have a study hall policy for your team and what is it?
- If I come in on an un-official visit will I have an opportunity to sit down with you and discuss the program and school?
- When do you encourage students to come in for un-official visits?
- May I have a copy of your roster and the players contact information so that I may contact some of them to chat about the program?
- Thank you for taking the time to chat with me and could you please send me a media guide and summer camp brochure?
- Can you describe for me, the typical class size for students at your college.
- What are the residence halls and dormitories like?
- Do student athletes live in an athletic dorm environment or with the general student body?
- Do you encourage players to room with other players? (Particularly as freshmen?)
- Do you encourage your players to join a fraternity/sorority?
- From what you have experienced how is the food in the cafeterias on campus?
- Is your campus a safe campus? Can you explain the security and environment around the campus?
- Would you consider your college/university to be in a college town environment