Welcome to SoccerNation’s “Ask The College Coach” column. In this series we take questions from soccer parents from around the country and have real, currently employed college coaches answer.

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Dear Coach,

I wanted to ask if a coach in college can explain why girls in 8th ,9th or 10th grade can get committed to college when every rule I can find on this on the NCAA website says they cannot talk to college coaches? Is it because the different Divisions have different rules? How do these girls get this type of communication with college coaches at their age?


Phoenix, AZ

Hello Brian,

That is a really good question. The answer to you comes down to pure semantics. When a kid who is in the 8th, 9th, 10th, or 11th grade commits, it is not an OFFICIAL commitment. It is purely VERBAL. Any kid can initiate conversation with a college coach, it is the coaches who have the restrictions. Depending on the division, the time frames college coaches can initiate contact vary. (Caveat…the rules for communication only apply to High School age kids. College coaches can talk to any kid in the 8th grade and below without the restrictions).

For instance, Division II coaches can only initiate contact with a recruit any time beginning June 15th going into their Junior year. Prior to that date, a coach can talk to that recruit IF the recruit contacts the coach via a phone call and the coach ANSWERS the call or the recruit shows up on campus the coach can talk to them. Prior to June 15th of the Junior year, a coach cannot return phone calls or reply to any type of messages from that recruit or the parents of that recruit. This date varies amongst the Divisions.

The way coaches talk to the kids is via a secondary contact, which is usually the club coach. College coaches reach out to the club coach to have them relay the message of interest and to have the kid call them at a specific time. Once this happens and the coach answers that phone call, recruiting conversations can be had. The other route to communication between a young recruit is via an unofficial visit to campus. Once again, this is usually arranged by the college coach contacting the club coach who relays the message to the recruit.

The recruit then contacts the club coach who then relays that message to the college coach. Once the kid is on campus, recruiting conversations can take place. After these types of activities; phone calls initiated by the recruit, on campus visits, electronic message (email or text) communication between college coach, club coach, and the recruit, a kid will then make a VERBAL commitment to the college. Once they enter their Senior year, the official commitment can be initiated with a National Letter of Intent (NLI) being signed.

I hope this helps explain how 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th graders can be committed to a college before their 12th grade year.

LeBaron Hollimon
Women’s Soccer Head Coach
California State University, San Bernardino

[Source: Soccer Nation]