Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and like with many things in life, if you had the opportunity to redo them, I am sure there are certain elements that you may change. Fortunately for you, either as a parent or an athlete, I am going to share what you will learn as go through the college soccer recruiting process to hopefully save you from making the same mistakes!
1) Go and watch a college soccer game at every level
The hardest question that an athlete or parent will ever face is being realistic with their playing ability. And whilst some recruiting agencies will simply categorize you as a Division III player or a NAIA player, it is not quite that simple. Throughout your college career you will see transfers between the divisions, where Division I players chose to move closer to home and therefore play for one of the local schools, or Division III athletes decide to move up a division after their freshman year.
So how do you know which level you should be trying to play at? Attending as many college games as possible!
2) The Sad Truth About Showcases
Every year, thousands of athletes attend college showcase events up and down the country, all with the same hope of being recruited to play college soccer. But how successful are these showcases at actually getting athletes recruited? Or are they simply massive revenue generators for these companies?
RecruitChute Tip: Many college coaches that attend showcases have been paid to attend or have personal relations with the companies.
How can getting your name in front of hundreds of college coaches be a bad thing?
At any given showcase event, there are the college coaches that are there to recruit, there are the coaches that are there because they have been paid, and there are the coaches that are there because they have personal relations with the host company. Unfortunately, it is impossible to tell which coaches fall into which categories.
3) Stay Clear of Third Party Recruitment Services
There are three things in the world that college coaches hate: bad referees, angry parents, and third-party recruitment services. We sent a survey out to college coaches asking how they respond to an email from a third party recruiting service, 8 out of 10 current college coaches will delete that email before opening it.
So, whilst these companies may boast that they have thousands of college coaches within their network, simply having a college coach directory does not qualify as a connection. For this reason alone, RecruitChute does not have a college soccer coaches directory as part of our platform, instead we encourage the college coaches to create their own profiles and search for specific athletes based on their requirements.
If you are debating joining a third-party recruitment service, before you sign up, email your local college coach and ask their opinion on that particular company.
4) Don’t Pick the School Purely for Soccer
The biggest mistake you can ever make is picking a school for all the wrong reasons. If you have ever found yourself saying the phrase “well I could always change my major and play there…” STOP. TAKE A STEP BACK AND REMEMBER WHERE YOU ARE GOING. You are going to be a student-athlete at a college or university, and academics should be the number one factor in making your decision.
An easy way to test this theory is to ask yourself “would I want to attend this college if I didn’t play soccer there?” If you can answer this question, then you will know whether this school is a good fit for you.
5) Clean Up Your Social Media
If there is one thing that will bring all of your dreams crashing down, it is having your scholarship opportunity ripped away from you because of your social media presence. Having your profile set to ‘private’ is not enough.
If you are serious about playing college soccer, get serious about keeping your social media clean. This means no pictures of you out of a Friday evening, no pictures of you at parties, and controversial tweets!
For more information on the college soccer recruiting process and to view our full seminar click here!