There is more to the NCAA college soccer recruiting process than simply performing well on the soccer field. The truth is that both NCAA women’s and NCAA men’s college soccer teams at the DI, DII, or DIII level have a lot of prospective soccer players to choose from when recruiting. Depending on the college and NCAA division, you are often competing with hundreds of recruits for only a few roster spots per team. Given this highly competitive landscape, it can’t be stressed enough how important it is to be aggressive and proactive in the college soccer recruiting process. Here are 7 ways to help yourself stand out and get recruited to play NCAA women’s soccer or NCAA men’s soccer.
1. Make your highlight video
This is extremely important and can be a great asset in the NCAA college soccer recruiting process. With so many prospective student-athletes and so few college soccer coaches, it is almost impossible for coaches to make it out to see everyone play across the country. A soccer highlight video will give the coach a chance to see you play early in the college recruiting process and could put you on the short list for that team. Coaches will rarely make a trip out to see one individual player play so in many cases a soccer highlight video is your best way of getting your foot in the door. ACA has heard many college coaches explain the situation this way, “a soccer highlight video is a lot like a movie trailer, you never go see the movie unless you have watched the trailer first.” To learn about how to make a great college recruiting highlight video which will help you play college soccer follow this link. A great tool for highlight video creation is ACA’s Highlight Video Creator. The soccer recruiting video should be attached as a link in a personal email communication with college coaches.
2. Complete Each Soccer Questionnaire
Almost every college soccer team in NCAA men’s and NCAA women’s Division I, II and III has a soccer questionnaire that is available for prospective students to fill out on their website. A completed questionnaire allows potential soccer recruits to put themselves in the college coach’s system of communication. Once you have identified the college soccer programs of your choice, go to their college websites and fill out their soccer questionnaires immediately. The earlier, the better. This action will alert college soccer coaches that you are indeed interested in their soccer program and supply them with the correct contact information for when their staff is attending tournaments, hosting soccer clinics or camps, and having visitation days and college campus tours.
3. Give Coaches Your Showcase Tournament Schedule
Let college coaches know what soccer tournaments and showcases you are playing in. Coaches have limited resources and need to prioritize what tournaments to go to and who they will be seeing. Factor yourself into the coach’s decisions by giving them your soccer schedule early on in the process. It will increase the likelihood of them seeing you play if they are already going to the tournament.
4. Be Consistent
If you are not diligent about responding in time and/or following up to the college coach, he/she may think you are no longer interested in his/her college. On the other hand, not getting an email back from the college coach in a timely fashion or not getting one back at all does not necessarily mean that he/she is not interested. College coaches sometimes get over a hundred emails a day, so make sure you follow up. Persistence makes you more visible and shows that you are interested in the college. Ensure that you send direct and personal college coach emails, following this template.
5. Take Control of the Communication
As you get further along in the process of communicating with a college coach during your NCAA soccer recruiting process, it is important that you (not your parents) stay on top of it. This means responding to coach emails in a timely manner and filling out whatever forms or paperwork they request. This is important because at the end of the day, college coaches look for more than just talent on the field. They want responsible, mature adults that will represent their program well. Additionally, most coaches want to see YOU personally communicating with them. For many college coaches constant communication from parents is a “red flag” and will make you a less attractive recruit.
6. Focus On Academics
Grades matter in the NCAA college soccer recruiting process. Period. At the end of the day you cannot forget that you are still a student-athlete. Although many players are enamored with the “full-ride” dream, the reality is academic scholarships are more prevalent and easier to attain than athletic scholarships, for both NCAA men’s soccer and NCAA women’s soccer. Having a high GPA makes you more attractive to college coaches because better students may require less scholarship or less admissions involvement from the college soccer coach. In many cases college coaches need their incoming class to have an average GPA that reaches the school’s standards in order for the coach to push his/her class through. The more selective the academic school and the harder a coach has to push for you, the less likely he is to offer you a roster spot for you to play college soccer.
7. Attend College ID Camps
First, make sure that the NCAA soccer colleges you are interested in are actually going to the ID camp you are attending. College soccer ID camps are becoming a very popular way for coaches to identify potential recruits to play college soccer. With so much going on during the year, many college coaches will utilize a popular summer ID camp to energize their recruiting pool. In contrast to a showcase tournament, the reason soccer ID camps are so popular is because they give coaches the ability to watch players in different settings over a 2 to 4 day period. Coaches can see players play in a number of different situations, try them out in different positions, and see how they fit into different formations. College coaches like to be able to see players in different positions to understand if the recruit is able to adjust.
Following the above steps will help you during the college recruiting process to get recruited and play college soccer at either an NCAA men’s or NCAA women’s soccer program.