Ask the college coach

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Ask The College Coach

Ask The College Coach: Will Only Playing for Local Clubs Hinder Chances at a College Roster Spot? Is it Necessary to Play for Academies?

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 news@soccernation.com with the subject “Ask the College Coach.”

“Dear iSoccerPath-

My son wants to play in the academy, however it’s about a 90 minute drive each way and I am worried his grades will suffer. He plays in our local club and does very well but some of his friends are going to the academy. Can you advise us on if it’s worth it? Do all academy players get college scholarships? If you play in the local club does that mean you can’t get a college spot?”

Jennifer H.,

Washington.

Our answer this week comes courtesy of Kelly Findley, Associate Head Coach of Davidson College Men’s Soccer Team:

“Let’s start with the last couple of questions and work our way backwards.

A player from any club of any level can earn a spot on a college roster. Which roster a player can make is always dependent on the quality of the player and the college program, and not which club/academy team they play for. This would also go for players that play on academy teams.  All academy players do not get college scholarships or play in college.

Playing in the academy may create more exposure, that is playing in front of college coaches more regularly due to the events academy teams participate in, but it does not guarantee anything.  Coaches look for players that can help the program on the field, have the grades and test scores to gain admission and have the character to have a positive impact on the programs culture.

One very important aspect is development.  Some teams, coaches and clubs are more focused on winning than player and personal development.  When college coaches are recruiting potential players, they are projecting and investing in what the player will develop into, not the players current level of play.  

The most important thing is to find an environment where aspiring college soccer players can get coaching focused on development, play in meaningful games and train regularly at a high level.  If you can find that, you have found the right place to play, whether it is academy or club.”

Kelly Findley

Associate Head Coach/Recruiting

Davidson College

kefindley@davidson.edu

For more answers from coaches around the country, be sure to check out the rest of the “Ask The College Coach” series and see how iSoccerPath is committed to providing the best information possible for youth soccer players.

By | 2018-10-24T17:31:15+00:00 October 24th, 2018|Categories: Ask the college coach|0 Comments

ASK THE COLLEGE COACH – WHAT DO WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DIVISION 3 SCHOOLS?

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. If you’re interested in having a coach answer your question, please send us an email at news@soccernation.com with the subject “Ask the College Coach”. 

Dear Ask The College Coach,

We learned from one of the iSoccerPath college panels that Division 3 soccer does not offer athletic scholarships. However, what other rules should we know about that are exclusive to D3 programs? Do you have official visits? When can our son apply and when do they get accepted into the school and the soccer program? Our son has very good grades and test scores and wants to go to a school in a conference that has schools that allow for a less soccer schedule during the year. Thank you so much for providing us some direction.

Doug F.
Kansas City, Mo

Dear Doug,

Division III soccer does offer an excellent option for a student athlete who does want a good balance between athletics and academics, thus many of the Division III rules are geared toward that end.  In addition to not offering scholarships, the athletics program is not allowed to affect the financial aid package of the student athlete.  In other words, the school itself is responsible for dictating the amount of financial aid that someone will receive not the athletics coach.  This creates an environment where student athletes commit to play without separation created by athletic scholarships, and also for reasons not influenced by direct monetary reward.

Moving away from the financial aid picture, the playing seasons are slightly shorter, as dictated by the NCAA calendar, in order to give student athletes more time to embrace other opportunities that the school offers them.  For example, the Division III calendar prohibits any official game to start prior to September 1, which in turn means a later return in preseason somewhere in the middle of August. That’s opposed to the Division I and II calendar that officially starts preseason in early August along with official games approximately 10 days earlier.

At the end of the Fall season, our National Championship is at the start of December, whereas the Division 1 championships are a week later, thus the Fall season is about one to two weeks shorter on the front end and about another week on the back-end of the Fall season.  Continuing the theme, in the spring, Division III schools are only allowed five weeks of instructed practice which is about half of the time that Division I programs are allowed with their coaching staff.  During that five-week training period, there is only one official game date in the spring season, as opposed to five at the Division I level.

Because of some of the legislation in Division III, to balance and keep our programs strong, the Division III recruiting rules are more relaxed than the other NCAA divisions, which means that there are no set NCAA Division III Recruiting Calendars, thus college coaches at the NCAA Division III level can contact and recruit without certain dead periods, contact periods, and quiet periods.  With approximately 410 men’s soccer programs at the Division III level, finding quality student athletes is a challenge, but not one that is impossible to fill due to the lessened contact rules.

What really differentiates the process here is that you can call college coaches and they can call you back as often as they’d like, as opposed to the Division I and II levels. In the recruiting process, some rules that are different are the tryout process, which means at Division II institutions, prospective student athletes may participate in an official training with the team they can, but at the Division 1 and Division III levels, this is not permitted.  Regarding official visits, while many schools call them that, you’re unlimited in the Division III level on how many visits you can take which gives you a great opportunity to view as many options as possible.  These do not count toward your five Division I visits mostly because many Division III visits are not offering other financial incentives during the visit.

When discussing the application process almost every institution handles their ability to tell a student if they are admitted differently.  Primarily Division III schools officially inform their prospective student athletes in early decision I and II, with the Deadline for ED 1 anywhere from Nov 1-15.  It is very rare to have someone committed to a Division III school prior to that date because of the typical admissions standards, but with the ability of some division III schools to provide an early read, sometimes coaches can get a head start on that process as well.

Rod Lafaurie
Head Men’s Soccer Coach
Occidental College Athletics Department

[Source: Soccer Nation]

By | 2017-12-12T23:05:38+00:00 December 12th, 2017|Categories: Ask the college coach|0 Comments

Ask the college coach – How are so many kids committed to school so early?

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.

If you’re interested in having a coach answer your question, please send us an email at news@soccernation.com with the subject “Ask the College Coach”.

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?

Brian

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]

By | 2017-10-21T04:22:57+00:00 October 21st, 2017|Categories: Ask the college coach|0 Comments

What to look for in an unofficial visit?

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. If you’re interested in having a coach answer your question, please send us an email at news@soccernation.com with the subject “Ask the College Coach”.

Dear Coach,

My son is in 11th grade now and we need to start doing unofficial visits. We have been told that at these visits that our son and us parents will be meeting directly with the coaches.

What do coaches look for in these meetings from the player and the parents?  Are there any rights and wrongs that our son can do, or that we as parents can do in order to take advantage of what seems is a great opportunity for the college to get to know our family and make sure we are a good fit for their program?

Thanks for any direction.

James P.
Parent of 11th grade soccer player son
Fresno, Ca

Hi James,

Make sure you come prepared with a list of questions about the university, academics, and soccer program.  This decision is about the student-athlete experience. It is important that the student-athlete is the one asking the questions of the coaches and answering the questions (not parents).  The student-athlete is the one that will have the relationship with the coaching staff so it is vital that they are the ones who are interacting with them.

Don’t make the meeting entirely about the soccer program; it is important to find out what structures are in place in the organization to help the student-athlete grow as a person and in their academic fields. This should be a value driven decision so  you want to make sure that you can identify what the main values of the organization are. How does the actions or structures help support these values? In addition, another important piece is to speak or spend time with the current student-athletes on the team as they will give you another perspective than that of the coaching staff.

You are looking for an honest dialogue with the student-athletes as you are trying to uncover truths about the program.

Jamie Franks
Head Coach
University of Denver Men’s Soccer

Source: SoccerNation

By | 2017-10-04T05:00:42+00:00 October 4th, 2017|Categories: Ask the college coach|0 Comments

How important is my child’s social media footprint?

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. If you’re interested in having a coach answer your question, please send us an email at news@soccernation.com with the subject “Ask the College Coach”.

Dear Ask The College Coach,

We are trying to help our son understand how important it is that his social media accounts can take away his chance to playing college soccer. We heard at the College Soccer Panels that everything that a kid posts is seen by the college coaches when they are looking to recruit him.

How important is the social media footprint of my son to college coaches and do you have tips on how we as parents can get across to him that he needs to watch everything?

Thank you,

Frank B.

Hi Frank,

In the ever changing landscape of college recruiting, social media is the newest challenge we all face in identifying the right people for our programs. Social media has quickly become the main medium for how teenagers communicate. Texting has been replaced by snapchat, bullying can now be done from a keyboard.

Because of all this, kids seem to only think about an individual moment and not the potential long term consequences. So often we hear negative reports of tweets or snaps made by celebrities, pro athletes or politicians that get deleted almost immediately, but that only deletes them from their feed. Once something is put out on the internet, it must be considered as being there forever.

In the college recruiting process, I really look at it this way; your social media accounts will likely never have a positive impact in your recruitment. However, it can have a drastically negative impact. One of the most talented players I’ve ever coached had her career completely derailed over social media. While her talent could make some of the difficult moments of coaching her manageable, what she showed on her social media accounts made it clear her priorities were not it the right place. At that point, all the talent in the world wasn’t enough to keep her in a program.

College soccer is becoming more and more competitive to break into every day. Recruits are being scrutinized not only by coaches but colleges as well. You may find a coach who is interested but in getting the student to apply for school, they may find out from admissions that there are red flags on the student’s social media accounts. The school may deny the student admission based on this alone.

We all know that kids can make mistakes and that can include posts on social media. Being vigilant on monitoring your accounts and limiting opportunities for compromising posts can minimize those mistakes. It’s important to think of what the response to your post would be from potential recruiters and coaches. Keeping that in mind before posting is important. As we often say on college panels, don’t let a 140 character tweet cost you a $140,000 education.

Best of luck in the recruiting process!

Mike Herman
Head Coach – Women’s Soccer
Holy Names University

Source: SoccerNation

By | 2017-07-26T20:57:08+00:00 July 26th, 2017|Categories: Ask the college coach|0 Comments

How a 140 Character Tweet Can Cost you a $140,000 Soccer Scholarship

Be careful what you post! College coaches always look at the full player.  They look at their abilities on the field, their skill and technique, their decision making, how they behave with their team or with their coach, their character, and many other components.  If they like what they see they may contact a player’s club coach.  Then they will ask questions and look into their social media footprint.  Coaches are not only looking for great players, they’re looking for students who they want representing their school.

Most college soccer programs use interns to review potential recruits to their program.  Their role is to find anything that could make a coach question a student’s character. We continuously hear from college coaches that there are so many good soccer players with great grades to choose from now that a negative social media post or tag can easily remove your son/daughter from their watch list.  Also, parents, YES, they are looking at yours too as they say the “apple doesn’t fall from the tree”.  

It’s never too early to learn the importance of your player’s “brand”, or what everyone sees and thinks of them.  And remember, even if your kids don’t plan to play in college, protecting their “brand” is important because all colleges now are checking social media accounts at time of admission decision.  And the scrutiny continues even after college, as any job they apply for will have the same process to go through.

Take the time now to educate your children on the importance of scrubbing their footprint on the internet.  All it takes is 1 post to take away your child’s soccer dreams.

iSoccerPath assists your family in this very important part of the college education process to ensure your kids are at the top of the college coaches recruit board.

By | 2017-07-26T20:43:35+00:00 April 25th, 2017|Categories: Ask the college coach|1 Comment