When over 2 million high school soccer players a year are trying to land one of the coveted recruited spots to become a college soccer player, what are the tools and programs that are needed to increase your chances?
After interviewing over 100 college coaches over the past year on our College Education Panels, the one main constant to be ahead of the game is that the process now is 80% on you, the family and player. The items and processes that were on the club in the past have now morphed into the player and families having to do almost all the work.
Why is this?
College coaches get over 500 emails in a normal week from players from all over the world and this number doubles to 1000 in a week leading up to a College Showcase. With the average recruiting class each year of 6 players a program, coaches have little time to spend on actively pursuing players. How can your family and player make an impact on that coach, how can you brand and market your son/daughter to these coaches? How can you utilize these coaches to help your son/daughter become admitted to the college of their choice when schools all over the Country are only admitting 10% of applications each year in most cases?
What College Coaches are Saying:
A player with great grades and test scores, skill, athleticism, mental toughness, and is coachable is a great recruit. However, the number of these players available each year has now grown exponentially and these traits are now considered normal.
Before you reach out to college coaches define who you are and what you can bring to the program. They are looking for certain traits including..
- Skill and Technique – Your coaches are your primary resource to teach and guide you to what level of a college player you have the talent for. Strive every year to become a better player.
- Athleticism – You are the responsible for keeping fit and pushing to be the best athlete you can be during high school years. Many clubs and teams offer fitness days but most fall short of what is expected at the college level. Your daily training routine can only help you be fit when you walk in to college. If you have seen the resources poured into campuses for the strength and conditioning departments you will know what level of fitness the college coaches expect.
- Academic Aptitude– This is all about you the student. Your GPA and test scores are required for entrance and can deny you a spot on the team if the player does not meet the college minimum requirements.
- Proactive Attitude-Use your high school resources and work closely together to see that you reach your goals. Planning with your counselor on appropriate courses that will allow you the largest advantage as a player. Meet yearly if not bi yearly with your teachers and counselors and allow them to guide you. Study for entrance tests and meet the requirements by end of junior year so that if you fall short you have senior year to improve upon your test scores.
- A coachable character – Your teachers, coaches, counselors and any extracurricular staff are a part of your team. When you build your resume they can vouch for you as a player, student and person and can recommend you on your work ethic and how you perform. You will need them as you go through the enrollment process. Critical that all aspects of your social media footprint including your email address are now the final deciding factors for most coaches.
- Mental Toughness – Much of your mental toughness will grow with maturity. If you are able to adapt in environments well, communicate well, behave well, and respond well while under pressure, process instructions and understand what coaches, teammates, roommates, and teachers are asking of you. As well as understanding on how to protect yourself in a manner of professionalism that tends to surround college players of any sport. If you possess these traits you will be considered a highly regarded prospect.
What Parents Need to Be Doing:
- Support your child and teach them life skills.
- Lead your child on the journey to identify what’s important to them at college and what they like to gain from college. Unofficial visits help students identify what colleges have to offer.
- Help review all email communications but don’t overtake the process. Coaches can tell a parent email from a player. Help them keep a communication log.
- Role play and help them learn interview skills.
- Educate your child on your family’s financial contribution for college and what they will be responsible for- Both parent and child should educate themselves with the college admissions process and college financing options.
- Coaches are happy to meet with the family while on unofficial visits. Ask questions and have your son/daughter ask questions.
When interested Coaches contact a player then the player needs to step up and communicate back in a timely period. Coaches will include parents but the objective would be to have the player be the primary communicator during the process. Best that parents help to advise your child before your student takes a call, meets the coach, travels to the official visit but do not overtake over the process. The player is the person that will be at the college for four years and coaches are trying to evaluate the player off the field as well as on the field before they make an offer. (Role playing helps!)
What Do We Do Now?
As parents, use your club’s and your coach’s resources to the full extent. Remember they are responsible for building your son/daughters technical and tactical soccer ability. They get your teams into showcases to be seen by college coaches. They teach you how to travel as a team which is important at the college level. Most importantly they teach you “Soccer Character” which is understated in what could be your child’s final assessment for an offer. This is about 20% of what the process is and the other 80% of your responsibility can be found on-line with research of program who specialize in knowing and delivering the “Secret Sauce”. Best of luck in the process and please visit www.isoccerpath.com to learn how to find the 80% all in one place.