Ask The College Coach: Is the Path to a College Roster Spot Different for Goalkeepers?

Welcome to iSoccerPath’s “Ask The College Coach” column, where real college coaches tackle questions from soccer parents around the country. If you’re interested in having a coach answer your question, please send us an email at with the subject “Ask the College Coach.”

“Dear iSoccerPath-

We have a 16 year old son who has played goalie since he was 8 years old and seems to have a passion for it and wanting to play college soccer. It seems that this position is hard to find out from college coaches if they will recruit one in his graduation class of 2021. Doing research on the internet and talking to our club coaches and other goalie parents, there is not one good path it seems to follow. Some say look at the current roster and see in 2 years what goalies they will have. Others say go to their summer camps or hire a professional goalie coach that knows college coaches. Can you help us with some suggestions please?”

Our answer this week comes courtesy of Matt Hall, Associate Head Coach of San Diego State University Men’s Soccer Team:

Thanks for reaching out with this question, as it is a very important one.  Being recruited as a goalkeeper is quite different than being recruited as a field player, and it will take a good amount of research to make sure that your son is looking at the correct schools.

I would say most of the information you have received so far is accurate, but there is no clear path for goalkeeper recruitment.  The most important piece of information, as you’ve alluded to, is whether the colleges your son might be able to attend need a goalkeeper in 2021. You can certainly do research online, but this is not always going to give you the most accurate information. For instance, there may be a goalkeeper who has verbally committed in the 2021 recruiting class but that information may not be listed online.

In my opinion, it is better to find out directly from coaches if they are looking for a keeper in 2021.  Unfortunately, per NCAA rules, the coaches at these schools cannot respond to you about recruiting through email until September 1 of your junior year. Therefore, you will need to work through your club or high school coach to find out. If they write an email to the coaches of your son’s desired schools asking about their needs for goalkeepers in 2021, you should start to get an idea of which colleges are looking for goalkeepers in 2021.

Once you have established a list of schools looking for goalkeepers, I would then look at coordinating a phone call with those program’s coaches. Although college coaches cannot send you recruiting emails at this point, they can receive calls from you to talk about their program. This phone call will be significant in establishing a relationship with the programs you’re interested in, and it will also allow you to ask other significant questions about the university and its soccer program.

Once you establish which colleges might be a good fit for your son, then I do think it makes sense to attend a few camps. This allows you to move your relationship forward, and gather significant information about the school and program. It is important at the end of the camp to have your son ask the coaches how they feel about him as a potential recruit. This is one of the most significant components of attending camps. You should receive significant feedback from college coaches on your son’s ability and this will help you figure out your son’s path.

Matt Hall

SDSU Men’s Soccer

Associate Head Coach

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