TIP OF THE WEEK
Tips for Creating a Great Recruiting Video
A good recruiting video can make a huge difference in your chances of getting an athletic scholarship. In many cases, your highlight video is your greatest shot to get the attention of a coach. Coaches look for specific things in video, and there are steps you can take to make your sure your video doesn’t get thrown in the trash.
Put Your Best Plays First
Make it a compilation of plays, with the best plays coming first. Coaches will make their mind up on viewing a video in the first fifteen seconds. If you don’t have anything to get their attention, they will turn it off.
Don’t Add Music
You should not have music on your video, especially music with explicit language. It’s all about first impressions; this is a recruiting video, not a music video. Coaches are watching hundreds of videos and having to listen to music they might not like isn’t going to make them like your video.
Use Spot Shadows or Arrows
Make yourself easy to identify. Use a spot shadow and/or freeze the tape before each play and highlight yourself with an arrow. Many times the video isn’t high enough quality to easily identify you on each play. Most coaches expect video to have spot shadows now.
Include Your Contact Information and Measurables
The first screen of every video should include your jersey number and team colors. Also add any sport specific measurements like height, weight, PR’s, etc. The last part to have on your opening frame is your complete contact information (your personal phone and email along with your coaches).
Get High Quality Video
The film your team or coaches use to break games down should be good enough. If you are going to need to record footage yourself invest in a good camera and use a tripod. Often times video companies can record your games for a very good fee if you don’t want to shoot it yourself.
Keep It Under 7 Minutes
The goal of your highlight tape is to show your best plays and get coaches interested. Most times, coaches don’t watch the whole video and if it is really long it can be off putting. If a coach likes your highlight tape they will ask you for more film and/or come evaluate your play live.
Put Your Video Online
Put the video online so that coaches can see it easily—DO NOT MAIL DVDs unless it is requested by a coach. Upload it to a video-hosting site, such as YouTube, and send the link to coaches in our email to them. You can host on your Playerocity page and send one link to coaches in that form.
Following these steps will help you create a highlight video that coaches want to see. The key is to create a video with just your best plays to keep the coach wanting more. Coaches do not give out scholarships based on a highlight video, but they can decide not to.
Steps to Get Recruited!
The most frequently asked question I receive is where do I begin in the recruiting process. Below is an abbreviated version of the primary topics and steps to take during the recruiting process. Use this as your reference as it has all pertinent links and steps. Steps 1 & 2 pertain to being eligible. It is important that you start strong from the beginning and meet with your High-school guidance counselor to ensure you meet the proper criteria.
No.1: Take the Right Classes
Long before college catalogs clog mailboxes, and recruiting tapes are viewed, a student-athlete takes classes in their freshman year of high school that directly affect their NCAA eligibility.
Because eligibility standards continue to evolve--in 2008 the NCAA increased the number of English and math courses required by one--it's an athlete's responsibility to make sure their class schedule fulfills NCAA core course requirements.
The best way to make sure you meet all requirements is to schedule an appointment with a high school guidance counselor to ensure your course schedule is in-line with the approved high school core course list. (It's a good idea to do this each year as high school curriculums can change as often as NCAA compliance standards.)
Quick Tip: Let your guidance counselor "guide" you in your high school course selections--starting with your freshman year and continuing throughout your high school career.
No.2: Register With the NCAA
It used to be called the NCAA clearinghouse, but now it's the NCAA Eligibility Center that students must register with to validate their status as an amateur athlete. (This is to ensure an athlete isn't secretly playing defensive back for the Denver Broncos during their high school career.)
The process is relatively pain-free; all you need is $50 and a Social Security number. But don't leave it to the last minute. Every year a few student athletes miss out on the chance to play collegiately, because they fail to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Quick Tip: Register with the NCAA by your junior year.
No.3: Make Your List(s)
Before you compile a list of 200 schools you would just die to play for, remember the function of the list is to help you focus your search year, do not overly complicate the process with unrealistic expectations.
"I tell athletes to make three lists," says Michael Husted, former NFL kicker. "One: a list of their dream schools, two: a list of schools that they could realistically get into and three: a list of fallback schools in case something happens at the last minute."
Now before you freak out about the prospect of not attending your favorite university, Husted concedes that "there will be some overlap between the first two lists." But ideally your three lists should total no more than 12 to 15 schools, with the bulk of the schools residing in the "realistic" list. If you have worked those lists and not gotten the results you want, then begin to add to those original lists and adjust items accordingly.
Quick Tip: Make three lists--with four or five schools per list--to focus your college search.
No.4: Create a Video
The recruiting video is one of the most important ways an athlete can attract the attention of coaches at the university level. Unfortunately, it's also where many athletes come up short, with substandard video quality and unnecessary production components.
Soccer film should have 10 to 15 highlight plays-- with an additional game half included to show real-time ability. Coaches have limited time to view film. The quality and content are key. The content should display your abilities in most game like situations (i.e your range of passing, defending ability, aerial balls, and finishing talents)
So how do you make the video? Well, like anything in life, quality does count. This doesn't mean you have to hire Steven Spielberg to shoot your footage, but many people find hiring a videographer a worthwhile expense.
For those on a tighter budget, it is acceptable to shoot footage from the stands with a modest camcorder. Just make sure to use a tripod, if possible, to avoid camera shake and practice following the action numerous times to get the feel of filming a live sport. (The general rule of film is to shoot five times more footage than you'll actually need.)
Also, skip the heavy metal soundtrack and colorful graphics. Coaches hate them!
Quick Tip: Keep your video short, simple and as professional-looking as possible.
No. 5: Research the Schools
This task used to be a lot more difficult 10 years ago. But with the rise of the internet there is a multitude of recruiting information, both official and unofficial, about virtually any college or university you're interested in.
For starters, check out the school's website to find out the best coach or school official to contact. For smaller schools, individual e-mail addresses for coaches can be found quite easily, as they often view the website as a promotional tool for their institution. Bigger schools may require a little detective work to find contact information for specific coaches, but it is not impossible.
A university's website can also save you time by pinpointing which schools are recruiting your position.
"If you're a Goalkeeper, you can see that they've got four Goalkeepers coming back next year. Chances are they're not recruiting a Goalkeeper for the following year and you should probably look somewhere else."
Another great resource is to talk to current and former players who've already been through the recruiting process at that particular university. You can get player referrals directly from the school, or perhaps do a search for athletes who've played at the university on social networking sites such as facebook, or connect directly through the club. These players can be a valuable asset giving you a leg up in the recruiting process. Just let them know you're interested in attending their alma mater and ask if they have any tips or information about the program. Though the information you receive may not be entirely reliable, it can be an invaluable way to peek inside a program, warts and all.
Quick Tip: Check out a school's website. Find out who's on their roster and collect contact information for relevant coaches.
No.6: First Contact
Now it's time to place yourself on a college's radar in an aggressive--but friendly--way. It used to be this could wait until your junior year, but with the pace of youth sports increasing all the time, it's probably a good idea to begin contacting coaches in the beginning of Freshman year for girls and beginning of Sophomore year for boys. All of the listed items below can be done inside the Playerocity system (www.playerocity.com)
So what do you include in your e-mail or letter to the coach? Well, some sort of introduction explaining who you are and why you're contacting them. (Keep it short-- coaches are busy.) A few paragraphs should do.
A copy of your recruiting video or a link where they can view your video--the latter quickly becoming a popular choice with coaches--as well as a recruiting resume with details such as stats, honors, academic data and contact information for your high school coaches should also be included.
Some people prefer to make contact with a coach by phone. This is fine as long it is the athlete who's making contact, and not the athlete's mom or dad claiming their kid is the next Reggie Bush. (Not only does it come off as a unprofessional, but it also robs the coach of a chance to get to know the athlete on a personal basis.)
Quick Tip: Check out a school's website. Find out who's on their roster and let the coaches know you're interested.
No.7: The Evaluation Process
Once you have contacted the coaches and begun creating a raport, the next steps are for the coaches to begin the evaluation process of you as a player. This can happen at local, regional, and National Events. The key is when contacting them to offer them options of when you are playing for them to come evaluate in live games. Coaches will want to evaluate you a minimum of 3-5 times to ensure they can see you in all types of situations. Coaches don’t want to see a player that doesn’t make mistakes, they want to see players make mistakes and how they react to those situations. How do you react when you are winning, how do respond when you lose etc…
After each event coaches attend, make sure you follow up with those coaches to gain feedback about what they saw and where they see you fitting in their program. The ultimate goal is to get clear “yes” or “no’s” as far as interest and continuing the recruiting process. The evaluations will also provide chances for you to continue communications with college coaches and build those relationships.
Quick Tip: You have to be persistent! Coaches are not always easy to get a hold of, you must be persistent in trying to get a hold of coaches.
No.8: Increase Your Game and Your Exposure at a University Camp
Sports camps generally serve two different functions: to help an athlete get better and to help an athlete get noticed. Some sports camps, especially those at universities you've targeted, can often do both at the same time. (Many coaches find camps a great way to fill out their rosters.)
Unfortunately those hoping a few days at a university camp will magically get an athlete recruited, without having established rapport with that institution beforehand, are often disappointed.
"At the big camps, less than five percent of the kids who attend are actually on the radar of that specific university," said Husted. "But that doesn't mean the experience is wasted."
This is because the coaching fraternity, despite the large number of colleges in the United States, is actually quite small. Though you may not get an offer from Penn State simply by attending one of their camps, this doesn't mean the coach running the camp can't point you toward an opening at a different university.
Like any job, it's all about networking and creating relationships. So be on your best behavior and be ready to learn as much as possible. You might just get recruited, without even realizing it.
Quick Tip: Attend a camp and be flexible; you never know where that first impression might lead.
No.9: The Final Choice
Ok. It's your senior year and, hopefully, you have a few offers on the table. So what do you do? How do you narrow it down to the one school that is right for you?
For most athletes, it will depend on the financial package being offered by the school. Are they offering a full-ride? A partial scholarship? If one school offers a significantly greater financial award, it shouldn't be considered lightly. (Not just to avoid going into major debt, but because it demonstrates their interest in you as an athlete and a student.)
For others, it will be a question of possible playing time on the next level. Do you have a good chance of getting in the starting lineup by your sophomore and junior year? If you're a third baseman, and they've already got two underclass third basemen in front of you, there might be better places for you to pursue your higher education while playing the hot corner.
Ultimately, though, most people suggest basing your final decision on the university itself. Not just the athletic department, but the overall collegiate experience a school has to offer.
"My suggestion to athletes is to narrow it down to their three top choices, " says Husted. "And then think, 'if something happens to my athletic career which school would I be happy at.' There are no givens when it comes to athletics. All you know for sure is whether you'll feel comfortable at a certain university."
Quick Tip: Choose a university that offers you the best environment for athletic, academic and personal development.
Q: How Can I Pay for School if I’m a Walk-On?
Hundreds of thousands of student-athletes are lucky enough to earn athletic scholarships… but millions of other students each year are not, and must find ways to pay for their college education! Tuition, university fees, room and board, academic supplies, books and living expenses add up quickly!
Here are some ways to help cover expenses for your college education:
o Merit – Artistic, Extracurricular, Community Service-based aid
o Student-Specific (gender, race, religion, family/medical history and other factors)
o Career-Specific (based on your choice of major or field of interest)
- Federal Student Aid
Shop around! Tuition’s vary greatly from school-to-school, schools are able to offer a variety of different aid packages and most schools charge higher rates for out-of-state students. Sit down with your family and determine a budget, and begin the paperwork for other aid.
Q: During a home visit, what does the head coach hope to accomplish?
A: Ultimately, their goal is to get you to commit that day. They are there to close the deal and solidify you as part of their program and future, they want you to be ready to end the process. As times progress for younger players, also be aware the same situations will occur on your unofficial visits. Coaches want to use the excitement and momentum of the visit to make you want to commit to their program.
Home visits, while rarer, are normally one of the final steps of recruitment. They have likely offered you, scouted you, built a relationship with you and your family, had you visit campus—and this is the final piece, their last “big pitch” to you and your family. They are there to answer any other questions you or your family may have, and strengthen the bond.
Unofficial Visits for younger players represent what a home visit would in this context. The coaches have built relationships with you and are looking to complete the recruiting process with you.
Depending on how the signing class for your year has taken shape, they are traveling to the region or country trying to lock up multiple players near the road to Signing Day. It’s one of the most nerve-wracking times of year for college coaches.
In either scenario, the head coach is often joined by the assistant coach who has primarily been recruiting you and possibly other assistants.
These visits are often laid back with the coach’s goal to blend in as if they’re a long-time family friend or your favorite relative. They want your family to trust them, after all they will be your primary mentor for the next few years!
If you are being recruited by other schools with multiple offers on the table, coaches know that you may not be ready to commit that night—but they’ll most likely be pushing heavily for a “Yes, Coach I’m in!”
What is a contact?
A contact occurs any time a college coach says more than hello during a face-to-face contact with a college-bound student-athlete or his or her parents off the college’s campus.
What is a contact period?
During a contact period a college coach may have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, watch student-athletes compete and visit their high schools, and write or telephone student-athletes or their parents.
What is an evaluation period?
During an evaluation period a college coach may watch college-bound student-athletes compete, visit their high schools, and write or telephone student-athletes or their parents. However, a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents off the college’s campus during an evaluation period.
What is a quiet period?
During a quiet period a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools. Coaches may write or telephone college-bound student-athletes or their parents during this time.
What is a dead period?
During a dead period a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools. Coaches may write and telephone student-athletes or their parents during a dead period.
What is the difference between an official visit and an unofficial visit?
Any visit to a college campus by a college-bound student-athlete or his or her parents paid for by the college is an official visit. Visits paid for by college-bound student-athletes or their parents are unofficial visits.
During an official visit the college can pay for transportation to and from the college for the prospect, lodging and three meals per day for both the prospect and the parent or guardian, as well as reasonable entertainment expenses including three tickets to a home sports event.
The only expenses a college-bound student-athlete may receive from a college during an unofficial visit are three tickets to a home sports event.
What is a National Letter of Intent?
A National Letter of Intent is signed by a college-bound student-athlete when the student-athlete agrees to attend a Division I or II college or university for one academic year. Participating institutions agree to provide financial aid for one academic year to the student-athlete as long as the student-athlete is admitted to the school and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules. Other forms of financial aid do not guarantee the student-athlete financial aid.
The National Letter of Intent is voluntary and not required for a student-athlete to receive financial aid or participate in sports.
Signing an National Letter of Intent ends the recruiting process since participating schools are prohibited from recruiting student-athletes who have already signed letters with other participating schools.
A student-athlete who has signed a National Letter of Intent may request a release from his or her contract with the school. If a student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent with one school but attends a different school, he or she will lose one full year of eligibility and must complete a full academic year at their new school before being eligible to compete.
What are recruiting calendars?
Recruiting calendars help promote the well-being prospective student-athletes and coaches and ensure competitive equity by defining certain time periods in which recruiting may or may not occur in a particular sport.
The amount of personal attention that a college coach shows you is a sign of their interest level. If they want to talk to you on a weekly basis—that’s a pretty good sign.
If they asked you to call them, are you a sophomore or younger? Coaches are restricted on when they can call or recruit you (normally around your junior year, it varies by sport). However, there are no NCAA restrictions on when or how often you can call them.
When a coach is interested in you as an athlete, they will work on building a personal relationship with you. The frequency of their communication is often a sign of their interest. Time is one of their greatest resources, so the time they spend building a relationship with you (outside of just talking about sports) is a good clue. They want to know about your family situation, your decision factors, your likes and dislikes—from food, musician, video game, movie, etc. They’ll likely try to build relationships with your family, coaches and mentors if they’re highly interested.
Coaches may even ask you about your likes/dislikes about other schools. Be up front, they’re trying to figure out what you like about particular programs/cities/coaches/styles of play and what you don’t like—so they can tailor their recruiting pitch to you.
Most coaches say what they mean, so if they encourage you to call them weekly, do so! They’re interested!
Next steps: Once there is mutual interest, coaches will work to get you to campus for a gameday,unofficial visit, camp or Junior Day. They’ll likely evaluate you in person or request your film as well as a copy of your transcript, and encourage you to take the SAT/ACT tests.
Recruiting—for most players – is a process. A coach will rarely call you and offer you a scholarship out of the blue without first building a relationship with you and your family and doing their research!
When beginning the list building process, I will get the question of where to look and if there is a system for searching out matching schools. There are many match finders out there, one is not necessarily better than the other, but the reality is the NCAA has provided athletes and parents with these databases already. So I always ask why pay for the additional bells and whistles when the process of working through, researching and building the college list is the most bypassed piece of the puzzle.
Why is this so critical? Because it gives you and your athlete the chance to really determine what is most important in a school/athletics experience beyond just chasing a scholarship. We have all heard that money won’t make you happy; and in the college case while scholarship money is ideal, I see more cases of athletes looking to transfer because they simply took the biggest offer.
For me there are four categories when building a college list that become important to the process.
a. Do they have your major or majors you are interested in?
b. Size of classes- ultimately also the size of the School itself
a. Where is the school located- State, Region
i. Distance from home
iii. Culture- Different regions are very culturally diverse.
3) Social Environment-
a. School size plays a factor, but what is the overall culture of the school
b. Do they have major sports? Greek Life?
a. What Division?
b. Coaches, do they fit your style?
c. Program Type
i. Power house
ii. Up and comer
Please use this link to begin exploring the various schools that are available. You will need to select your division and run a report, but from there is it all sortable within the system.
1)What are the academic requirements for admission, athletic graduation rates and number of players to go on to graduate school?
2) What is the faculty-to-student ratio (class size)?
3) What types of campus housing are available and what percentage of the students live on campus?
4) Will I need to apply before an official scholarship offer can be made?
5) Does your program have a full-time academic advisor?
6) What type of off-season activities are expected (conditioning and strength training)?
7) Do you have school insurance that covers medical expenses incurred while playing?
8) Where do you see me fitting into your program and what class are the student-athletes currently playing my position?
Coach communications guidelines vary according to the level of competition and by specific sport. The NCAA strictly regulates the recruiting process and dictates when and how college coaches can approach you.
When will I start hearing from coaches?
You won’t see any official “recruiting materials” from NCAA Division I and II schools in the mail before the summer of your junior year. And that’s because coaches at these levels can’t send specific recruiting literature until then. (Note: Division III and NAIA coaches can sent recruiting materials at any time in high school.)
But that doesn’t mean the recruiting process doesn’t start until junior year. Coaches can send you the following at any time in high school:
- Camp brochures
- General college information from the admissions department
Can I contact coaches at schools that I’m interested in?
Absolutely, and you definitely should.
In most sports phone calls are limited and coaches can’t start making them until after your junior year (basketball and football and major exceptions and allow some calls during your junior year). Coaches are regulated, but there’s no limit on how many calls you can make to coaches as long as those calls are at your own expense. Take advantage of this and establish communication with coaches early and often.
Emails and Letters
Communication with coaches by emails or printed letters can certainly put you on their radar. Try not to send the same generic email/letter to each coach. Make the correspondence specific. Mention something about the college that you like, or congratulate a coach on a big win. Personalized contact might just set you apart from others.
Also, make sure you close every email or letter with a professional signature. Include your name, address, email, cell number, and NCSA recruiting profile link.
What about text messages?
A new rule adopted by the NCAA allows recruit/coach communications via text message only for Division I men’s basketball recruits. It’s likely that the NCAA may relax text messaging rules for other sports in the near future.
Coach Communications Guidelines
Below is a brief overview of NCAA rules for communications with college coaches. For in-depth recruiting rules download the most recent NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete
NCAA Division I
- Coaches start sending recruiting materials on September 1 of your junior year (except in men’s basketball and men’s hockey where coaches can begin sending printed materials on June 15 after your sophomore year).
- You can call coaches any time you want but in most sports they cannot call you until you are a junior (calls can startJune 15 after your sophomore year if you’re a men’s basketball recruit).
NCAA Division II
- Coaches can start mailing recruiting material, calling you, and making off-campus contact on June 15 before your junior year in high school.
NCAA Division III and NAIA
- Coaches can send printed materials and call at any time.
The Recruiting Process can be comp;icated, but not if you know the rules! The NCAA Rules govern everything from timing to communication during the recruitment process. It is important to know when coaches can be proactive and even more important to know when players MUST step up and begin advocating for themselves and taking charge of their recruitment. Below is a breakdown of the current NCAA Rules by division to help parents and players understand how to work within the recruiting process.
• You may receive brochures for camps, questionnaires, NCAA materials and nonathletics recruiting publications
• You may make calls to the coach at your expense only.
• College coaches cannot call you.
• None allowed.
• None allowed.
• You may make an unlimited number of unofficial visits, except during a dead period.
• You may begin receiving Sept 1 of your junior year.
• You may make calls to the coach at your expense.
College Coaches May Call You
• May not be made before September 1 at the beginning of your junior year.
• Allowed starting July 1 after your junior year.
• None allowed
• You may make an unlimited number of unofficial visits, except during a dead period.
• You may make calls to the coach at your expense.
College Coaches May Call You
• Unlimited calls after you sign an NLI, written offer of admission and/or financial aid: OR after the college received a financial deposit from you.
• Allowed beginning opening day of classes your senior year.
• You may make only one official visit per college and up to a maximum of five official visits to Division I colleges. There is no limit to official visits to Division II colleges.
• You may make an unlimited number of unofficial visits, except during a dead period.
Evaluation and Contacts
•Up to seven times during your senior year.
• Unlimited number of contacts and evaluations after you sign an NLI, written offer of admission and/or financial aid: OR after the college received a financial deposit from you.
How Often Can a Coach See Me or Talk to Me Off the College’s Campus?
• A college coach may contact you or your parents/legal gardens not more than three times during your senior year.
• You may receive brochures for camps and questionnaires at any time.
• A coach may begin sending you printed recruiting materials June 15 before your junior year in high school.
• No limit on number of calls by college coach beginning June 15 before your junior year.
• You may make calls to the coach at your expense.
• A college coach can have contact with you or your parents/legal guardians off the college’s campus beginning June 15before your junior year.
• No limit on number of contacts off campus.
• You may make an unlimited number of unofficial visits any time, except during a dead period.
• You may make official visits starting the opening day of classes your senior year.
• You may make only one official visit per college and up to a maximum of five official visits to Division I colleges. There is no limit to official visits to Division II colleges.
• You may receive printed materials any time.
• No limit on number of calls or when they can be made by the college coach.
• You may make calls to the coach at your expense.
• A college coach may begin to have contact with you and your parents/legal guardians off the college’s campus after your junior year.
• You may make an unlimited number of unofficial visits any time.
• You may make official visits starting the opening day of classes your senior year.
• You may make only one official visit per college and up to a maximum of five official visits to Division I colleges. There is no limit to official visits to Division III college
PARENTS RECRUITING RESPONSIBILITY, http://www.ncsasports.org/college-recruiting-for-parents/parent-recruiting-responsibility
The recruiting process is tough on high school athletes, and it’s stressful for parents too. Parents want the best for their kids, and as a parent the natural urge is to jump in and do anything you can to help your athletic offspring land a coveted athletic scholarship. But there’s a fine line between offering gentle guidance and being overbearing.
Recruiting responsibility likes mainly with the athlete. Parents that take too active of a role in the recruiting process may actually hamper the efforts of their athletic son or daughter.
Recruiting Rules for Parents
Don’t be a helicopter mom or “we dad”.
A helicopter parent hovers over their child and doesn’t let them grow or act on their own. A “we” parent lives vicariously through their child, and uses phrases like, “We are interested in State University and tomorrow we’re visiting College A&M”. Remember, the athlete is the one who should be in charge of the recruiting process.
Teach humility and use the “ACE” formula.
Some gifted athletes are never told no. College coaches don’t want to add attitude problems to their programs, so parents should try to instill humility in their child and nurture a humble, gracious athlete who works hard on the field and in the classroom.
The ACE (Academics, Character, Effort) formula is a good way to remember what’s important.
- Academics: Teach the importance of having high academic standards at an early age and grades likely won’t ever be a problem.
- Character: An athlete with character works hard, makes good decisions, and can become a team leader.
- Effort: A good work ethic is a huge part of the success of student-athletes. College athletes with the desire to improve on the field or court and in the classroom are all but guaranteed success.
Be an assistant and a mentor, and not just a cheerleader.
Teach your child how to stand on his/her own. Help them set goals, but give them the freedom to reach them on their own. Help coordinate the recruiting process, but make sure that your student-athlete does most of the work him/herself.
Also, know that rejection is part of recruiting, so provide loving support when rejection happens and always remind your child that you’re proud of them. Rejection, and the response to it, can be an exercise in character building.
Create a timeline and a recruiting plan and follow them both.
There are several ways a parent can help with the recruiting process without taking over completely.
- Set up a recruiting plan that includes academic tracking (including monitoring core courses and GPA), setting athletic goals, and creating a recruiting resume.
- Get a third-party evaluation. Let’s be honest, parents aren’t the best talent evaluators. A third-party evaluation can help you realistically assess your child’s talent, which makes choosing a college a lot easier.
- Become familiar with the NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete and research college websites. Check college media guides online for athletes at colleges your son or daughter is interested in. Biographies of players already at the school can provide a good idea of what the program is looking for.
- Set aside time for campus visits and make sure that your high school athlete is regularly communicating with coaches. A parent should never make calls to prospective coaches. Coaches recruit athletes, not parents.
- Help your child create a highlight or skills video
- Encourage the athlete to have a positive relationship with his/her high school coach. College coaches talk to high school coaches during the recruiting process, and a bad relationship between a player and coach can prove to be harmful.
Breakdown of where to begin looking based on current experience.
All players can look at all levels. The top tier is made up of top level youth players. Each division has higher levels within the division that recruit a higher caliber of player.
Should players want to play, they can always find a home, including club options at varying schools.
Use the below as a guide to help narrow the search for the right fit in soccer level. As you progress as a player, more options may be available to you as well. Ultimately, this is only one aspect to your college decision, so make sure that you are looking at prospective programs comprehensively. Academically is the school a fit? Geographically is the school in a location you enjoy and can travel to and from easily? Socially, is it the size of school you want with all of the activities? And then look at soccer options.
Grades: 3.0 GPA + 24 ACT + 1000 SAT (out of 1600)
You've played your way to a respectable high school and club soccer career. You've put together a recruiting video, and you have an idea of different schools you would be interested in attending.
There are a couple of big steps to be made before recruiting gets rolling. One is being proactive, and the other is being informed.
Being on top of what different schools can offer you--and being realistic about where your talents could fit in--will make it easier to be effective when you make college soccer coaches aware of your abilities. The first step is knowing the number of scholarships out there so you have a better idea of what coaches have to work with.
Here's a quick rundown:
NCAA Division I
How Many Schools: There are 199 men's soccer programs in Division I, including powerhouses like Indiana and UCLA. There are 320 women's programs, including titans like North Carolina, Notre Dame and Portland.
Scholarship Count: Women's soccer is allowed 14 scholarships. Men's soccer is allowed 9.9 scholarships.
Scholarship Breakdown: Scholarships can be full or partial rides at the Division-I level, but with rosters exceeding 20 players, they are used carefully.
NCAA Division II
How Many Schools: There are 179 men's programs and 227 women's programs in Division II soccer.
Scholarship Count: Women's soccer has 9.9 scholarships to work with. Men have nine scholarships.
Scholarship Breakdown: Partial rides are common in Division II soccer, as coaches can distribute the money to as many players as they wish.
NCAA Division III
How Many Schools: Division III soccer consists of 401 men's programs and 424 women's programs. Powers include Messiah (Pa.) College for the men and Wheaton (Ill.) College for the women.
Scholarship Count: Athletic scholarships are not offered in Division III athletics.
Scholarship Breakdown: With no athletic scholarships, students often find financial aid or academic scholarships to assist with costs while playing soccer.
How Many Schools: There 218 men's programs in the NAIA and 223 women's programs.
Scholarship Count: Both men's and women's soccer are allowed 12 scholarships per team.
Scholarship Breakdown: Partial scholarships are common. Strong students who meet certain academic criteria can receive aid without it counting toward the program's limit.
NJCAA Division I
How Many Schools: There are 136 men's soccer programs at the junior-college level and 118 women's programs.
Scholarship Count: Men's and women's soccer are allowed 18 scholarships at the junior-college level.
Scholarship Breakdown: Many scholarships at the junior-college level are full rides, but partial rides are common, too.
NJCAA Division III
How Many Schools: There are 78 men's programs in NJCAA Division III, and 58 women's programs.
Scholarship Count: Much like Division III four-year schools, D-III schools at the junior-college level do not offer scholarships.
Understand what is important you and your family. Whether it is playing time, scholarship money, academic reputation, rate what is most important and start there!
What does verbally committed mean and can a player/coach renege on a verbal?
In any sport, there will come a time when coaches will begin pressuring you to commit. Some coaches will be up front with you and say, “We have one scholarship left for your position and you are one of two (or three or four or five) players we’d like to sign for that spot. We’d be happy with either of you, and whoever commits first will get the scholarship.” Depending on your talent level—some coaches will wait as long as they need for your decision and others may give you an ultimatum or deadline before moving on to the next-best player on their list. Some may hold a scholarship for you until you make a decision, others will not—it just depends on their interest level.
Verbal commitments are NOT binding and players have the right to change their mind! For prospects, you 100% have the right to de-commit before you sign your NLI (National Letter of Intent).
It’s important to note, you have to have an offer from a coaching staff before you can commit. Every year I’d work for programs where prospects who were getting mail from us would call us to commit without a coach ever offering them a scholarship. Coaches can be sending you all the mail/email in the world but without an offer, they’re still in the evaluation process with you.
Decommiting can come with some temporary criticism from internet haters – but in the long run, it’s better to decommit if you know the school/coach aren’t a good fit than to go through with it and transfer a year or two later.
With college coaches pushing for recruits to commit earlier and earlier, players may verbally commit to a program before they’ve done their research or gotten a feel for other schools. You have to do your research in order to know what is really a “fit.” Get to know your options!
Some coaches push players to commit to a program before they’ve had a chance to take anofficial visit or unofficial visit to campus, or visit on a gameday to experience the atmosphere.
In football, verbal commitments don’t usually mean much to opposing coaches, especially with high-level prospects. In football it is pretty common for coaches to continue to recruit players, even after they’ve verbally committed to another school. The level of recruitment may vary, but it’s common for coaches to continue to send mail, email and possibly invite commits to camps or unofficial visit events even if they are verbally committed to another school.
In men’s basketball, it is more common for coaches to back off of a recruit once they have committed to another school. Overall, they take commitments more seriously and are more likely to move on to other non-committed players. Each sport varies.
In some cases, you may not get a warning to make a decision if another player they have equal interest in decides to commit. Your recruitment can end at any time for reasons you can’t always control. Experienced coaches can usually be up front with you about how the process is going from their prospective and where you fit in.
It’s best not to commit to a program unless you are 100% sure. You don’t want to commit and de-commit more than necessary. Commit to a school only if you think it’s a good fit.
Is it okay to ask a coach where you fit on their list and how they see you competing?
Sure, in fact you should if you have a scholarship offer and are considering committing to them. You should ask coaches what their specific plan is for your development.
And remember – competition is not a bad thing, especially if you want to win games and play for a successful team. Winning teams have depth at most positions, so competition on the depth chart is inevitable if you want to win!
But also be aware that you’ll likely be getting the sugarcoated version. Coaches are always “recruiting” you, especially before the NLI (National Letter of Intent) is signed, so they’ll always over-compliment you. Not too many coaches will flat out tell you – if they’re pushing you to sign – that you’ll probably redshirt for a year and be a backup as a sophomore. They’ll tell you that you’ll come in and compete but they’ll see you starting or heavily contributing as a freshman right away.
If you don’t have an offer but are in the mix of evaluations, coaches may be more honest with you. Coaches have a list, position-by-position, class-by-class of the top targets and keep them in order of priority to sign.
If you’re in the top group and already have an offer, coaches usually have 2-5 players who they’d be happy to sign, all interchangeable and pretty equally talented. This is the group they are “actively recruiting,” calling, building relationships (with you, your parents, your prep coaches, your mentors), visiting in person, mailing info to you about campus and the program. In many cases, a coach may have 1-2 scholarships to sign for that position, that year, and be equally recruiting 2-5 players hard for those spots. Outside of that, they’re sending mail to 30-100 players for each open scholarship.
ASK. Find out where you fit in. There are a lot of scenarios of how this could work out and even if they haven’t offered you yet, there’s still a possibility of a coach following your progress along and eventually offering you!
Q?: How much of an advantage do in-state athletes have over out-of-state or International players for scholarships?
A: Every coaching staff will say that they put priority on keeping the best in-state players at home. But when making scholarship decisions, it’s irrelevant to coaches where you are from. They are looking to sign the best players that they can, period!
Being in-state does help you get your foot in the door. Most schools make it a priority to keep “the best players in the state at home,” making sure each of the assistant coaches play a role in identifying ALL potential recruits in the state and building relationships with prep coaches and programs at home. Each assistant is often assigned a handful of counties to become an expert in within the state, so you probably have a better chance to get someone to watch your unsolicited film.
In most cases, college coaches still put a lot of attention to in-state high schools even if they currently have no prospects. They will spend time talking to prep coaches and their players who may not make the cut athletically as a goodwill gesture for the program. They are building long-term relationships for the future so that once the school has a great player they will already have close relationships with the coaching staff. They’re never just building for that season, they’re building for the future.
Being an in-state player can help you get a quick evaluation but won’t usually effect scholarship decisions. Certain states it will determine and affect an offer. California State school costs nearly double for out of state students. It also depends upon how schools view scholarship dollars. Some view it as a total number, others view it as a total pot of money. It is important you understand how each university works and views these offers.
Q: At what point do injures become a factor in recruiting?
A: One of the toughest adversities all athletes face are injuries, particularly season or career-ending injuries. From my experiences, they are much tougher mentally on most players than physically.
From a recruiting standpoint, not all season-ending injuries will affect your potential to earn a scholarship. From my experiences, college coaches will often stick by injured players and continue to recruit and evaluate them, possibly even offer them. If you already have scholarship offers, an injury doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be pulled.
Some players may repeatedly face the same injuries – ACL tears, meniscus tears, chronic back or neck pain. Not only is it frustrating to face one ACL tear, but I’ve worked with players who have faced them two or even three times. Yes, the road is tougher but not completely impossible. If it’s the same chronic issues are there different treatments that can be tried? Are you allowing yourself time to completely heal? Can weightroom work help strengthen that region to help cut down on injuries?
Yes, injuries have ended the careers of a handful of players I’ve worked with. And yes, at the high school level the road may be much tougher to get noticed, recruited and offered. You may have to start out at the Junior College level, as a walk-on or even as a regular student who tries to walk-on as s sophomore or junior after some time to heal, as long as you are able to stay working out and working on skill drills. It’s a long-shot, but I’ve seen it happen.
The toughest situation is for those players who are seniors and still working towards getting offers, if you find yourself in this situation you will just need to get more creative and more aggressive. The key to success in this situation is to remain mentally tough. You must keep your confidence, develop other aspects of your game, become a master of the playbook.
If you are an unsigned senior, you must continue to pound the pavement, work the phones, send your highlights and follow-up. You may have to go to prep school, Junior College or a much less competitive program.
You must find a way to OVERCOME. You must work towards this every day. You must stay positive! You may not start your college career where you dream of, you may not have several options to choose from but at the end of the day it’s about finding that one or few coaching staffs who believe in you and finding the best situation for you.
Q: Is it typical for a coach to offer you a scholarship, then later tell you they’ve offered that scholarship to 2 other players?
Yes, it does happen.
With recruiting beginning earlier and earlier, coaches are anxious to get their top prospects committed and finished with the recruiting process.
With each scholarship class coaches determine their position needs and allocate slots based on where they are lacking depth at each position. Once they determine their needs for each signing class, they rate their prospects at each position and work to sell their program to the players who they feel are the best fit.
In many cases, each scholarship slot will have 2-4 equally talented players that the staff would be happy to have… so their attention and efforts will be directed to those key players. As players begin committing to other schools, the priorities of the coaching staff shift to the next-best players available.
There will come a time when coaches may begin to pressure you to commit. If you are a top prospect, they may wait your decision out as long as they need to. If they feel they have other prospects who are equally talented, they may accept one of their commitments and tell you they are no longer recruiting your position.
Some coaches may be honest with you and communicate this possibility to you before it happens, others may not.
There is so much turnover in the coaching profession, and so many coaches changing schools each year, you also have the right to do what is best for you, especially before that NLI is signed. And truthfully, most coaches are understanding if you get a much better opportunity.
Your recruitment to a particular school can end at any time prior to signing your NLI (National Letter of Intent) with little or no warning or explanation. For this reason, if you know in your heart where you’d like to play, it’s best to go ahead and commit and focus entirely on your playing season and grades.
Verbal commitments are not binding, NLIs are. If you are verbally committed to a program but not signed, you have the right to change your mind. But don’t just commit to commit and continue looking around, focus instead on making an informed, smart decision. College coaches will generally not speak with you if you have made a verbal commitment. Their fear is getting labelled in their profession in a negative way.
If you are being pressured to commit (especially early as a Freshman or Sophomore) and haven’t really made up your mind—don’t commit. It’s better to take your time and feel confident and happy with your decision. If you feel confident in a time range with which you will commit, then communicate that clearly. For example, we are not planning on making a decision until middle of sophomore year.
How do I go about asking a coach to take a visit after they’ve seen me play & shown interest?
As coaches are evaluating prospects and prioritizing their recruits, they want you to do your research and be just as proactive and involved with the process as they are. While college coaches first must be interested in your athletic and academic abilities they love recruits who show a passion for their program.
If you have an offer or are a top prospect to a coach they will be inviting you to camps, unofficial visits, and games.
If you haven’t been offered yet but coaches are showing signs of interest, this means they are still doing their research on you, are waiting on commitments from a few players they may have ranked above you, are still determining needs for your recruiting class and/or doing their in-depth evaluations for players in your graduation year, especially if you are a junior or younger.
Both college coaches and prospects are trying to do their research, especially early in the process. Within all of the programs that I’ve worked with, a good portion of players we offered were players who came to us. Coaches may not always find you; you may need to be a little more aggressive to get the process going on your own. So if there are signs that there is some level of interest and coaches are communicating with you, it’s common for players to bring up unofficial visits on their own. It’s definitely worth your time, if financially possible, and if there is mutual interest.
Some examples of how to bring up taking a visit to campus:
“My parents and I want to come up for the day to check out campus.”
“I’d like to come up to a game this season.”
“I will be in town with my family and we’d like to stop by next week.”
If coaches have offered you or are extremely interested, they will bring up bringing you in on an Official Visit.
It’s better to bring up visiting the campus on an Unofficial Visit if a coach hasn’t brought up offering you an Official Visit. Schools have a limited number of Official Visits to give out, and financially, they are expensive so coaches will normally only invite recruits for Official Visits if they have offered them.
Making the effort to visit a school in person shows coaches that you are serious about the process and have some interest in their program. Coaches are evaluating and gauging interest – if you offer to visit and express interest in learning more about the program the coaches will be more willing to make a stronger decision of their level of interest in you, and where you rank among other players they have interest in and are recruiting.
Q: How do I ask for scholarship money without looking like I’m just in it for the money?
A: Realistically, for many players, money WILL be a major decision factor. Colleges vary greatly with the costs of tuition, room and board, course-related books, fees, along with transportation and extra expenses you may have such as cell phone bills, clothing, entertainment. It all adds up—and scholarship money makes a difference for most players.
There is nothing wrong with being direct and up-front with coaches because at the end of the day, money may be the final factor for most of you. “Am I being considered for a full ride? Am I being considered for a partial scholarship? What would a partial scholarship cover?”
There WILL come a time when you must sit down with your family and decide if it’s better for you to go where you can get most or all of your education paid for, or if you have the option of going to your dream school with the help of loans, family support or additional academic/leadership/merit scholarships.
There is a chance you may start out on a partial scholarship and later earn more scholarship aid year-to-year as your contributions to the team increase. On visits, ask other players how the coaching staff handles financial aid.
It’s best to have this conversation to help you get a better picture of your options, never feel bad for bringing it up. Coaches are evaluating their options in terms of players, it’s your right to evaluate options in terms of financial aid.
There are a lot of options, and a lot to think about…
- Some schools have high tuition costs and if they are only able to offer you a partial scholarship covering books – is that a realistic option for you?
- Would you rather go to a state school on a partial scholarship and graduate with much less debt than going to an expensive out-of-state private school?
- Are you able to secure other loans, pay out-of-pocket, qualify for academic or other scholarships in order to go to your dream school?
- Are you financially able to walk-on at your dream school with the goal of earning an athletic scholarship as a sophomore or junior?
In the long run you must look at what will be best for both the player and family as the costs of college continue to increase.
REMINDER- Next Webinar is scheduled For Wednesday May 7th at 7 pm MST !!! We will have a special guest coach there to help answer all your questions. We will reveal the coach in next week’s tip!
Q: When is the best time to contact NCAA coaches?
A: A few answers to this question…
Best time of day: Between 11am-2pm on their office phone. They may not be there the whole time, but most coaches will be in their office at some point during this window. While this is a general rule, one item I always advise our players on is to either email or text prior to the call. In this way coaches are able to adjust their schedules if possible. Persistence is the key and once you begin communicating, connecting with that coach will become easier.
Best time of year: In the off-season is probably best. During the season coaches are extremely busy with their current team and keeping up with players they are already recruiting. It’s still fine to send them your film and resume, but if you don’t get much feedback, try again a few weeks after the season when they have more time to focus on finding new great players. Also, during evaluation periods (check the NCAA recruiting calendars for your sport) they may be out of town for weeks at a time, so they may be tougher to reach during key evaluation periods. Many parents get worried in soccer specifically that during the fall they aren’t being recruited as heavy. While some recruiting does go on, from November to April and then again in May-Summer showcases are really the prime time coaching will be out scouting events. Events are tailored to some extent around the coaches calendar and dead periods. This allows for all parties to focus on the current season in the fall and then work into the recruiting and showcase event calendar.
Parents of Athletes
I'm a long time athlete, coach, and physical education teacher. Needless to say, I know a little something about sports.
One very important part of sports is the relationship between an athlete and parents. So on that note, I want to share two excellent statements from top notch coaches on this subject.
The first statement is from Coach Cael Sanderson. Coach Sanderson is a four time NCAA wrestling champion, an Olympic Wrestling Champion, and has coached his Penn State wrestling team to three consecutive D1 National Titles.
When asked what advice he gives parents to help their athletes succeed, this was a part of his response...
I tell them that the biggest mistake parents can make with their children in athletics (or anything for that matter) is to blur the lines between why they support and love them. It is very easy for kids to mistake why a parent is proud of them. Kids need to know that their parents love them just because they are their son or daughter.
To help kids reach their greatest potential, they need to know that their parents support their effort--not whether they win or lose. A lot of parents give their kids the impression that they are only proud of them if they win.
Parents are the most important people in the world to their kids.
If a kid thinks he has to win to make his parents proud of him--that is a ton of pressure. In my opinion, that is the greatest pressure in the world, especially for a kid. A parent not being proud of you is far more frightening then the scariest opponent. Most kids won't last long in sports in that kind of environment. And the kids who do tough it out, or have no choice, are usually the ones who develop mental problems. They are the ones who usually end up being labeled "head cases." The kids whose parents simply expect their best effort in training and in competition are the ones who have the better chance of reaching their potential.
That is incredible advice from one of the greatest coaches of all time. I agree 100% with Coach Sanderson's advice. Parents must let their athletes know that they love them for who they are and not how they perform. Young athletes can blur these two easily and feel they are only loved if they perform well and win.
This second statement is from long time Coach Bruce Brown. Coach Brown has coached at the middle school, high school, and college levels. He is the director of Proactive Sports and travels the country speaking to various groups about youth sports.
Bruce's core message is as follows...
If your kid’s goal (for playing sports) is different from your goal… then throw your goal away and adopt your child's. Sports are the safest place for your kid to take the inevitable risks that adolescents will seek out – so let them go and make their mistakes in sports!
Coach Brown and his associates have conducted numerous studies using athletes of all levels. One of the these studies asked the athlete "What do you want your parents to say to you after a game?"
The resounding answer given by the overwhelming majority of these athletes is very simple and incredibly profound. All that needs to be said after any youth sporting event or game is:
“I love watching you play; I love watching you be part of a team.”
That's it. Not discussion of the game, not advice, but simply "I love watching you play".
There it is in as concise of a blog post as I can write over such an elaborate topic. The two powerful statements above come from men who have been top notch athletes and coaches. They have years of wisdom and knowledge to share with the public.
My hope in writing this blog post is to help at least one parent (or many parents) as you watch your child compete in sports. Remember to let your child know that you love them no matter how they perform in their given sport. Also let them know that you love watching them play, no strings attached.
P.S. I'll add one personal story from my own athletic career. As a freshman in college I had been named the starter at my weight class. Two days later I was injured in practice and feeling devastated. I called my Dad and he said these words that changed my wrestling career... "Chad you don't have to wrestle. You can come back to Oklahoma and go to a school closer to home."
Hearing my Dad say that I didn't have to wrestle lifted a 1000 pound weight off my shoulders that I had been carrying for years. As a Hall of Fame coaches son I was expected to wrestle. I was good at it, but the pressure was tremendous and I felt I had to wrestle to make others proud of me. When my Dad told me that I had an option, something in my brain clicked. I thought to myself "I don't have to wrestle because anyone else wants me to wrestle. I can wrestle because I want to wrestle and my Dad loves me either way."
You see, he had always loved me, but I felt I needed to impress him by winning all the time. When I realized that didn't matter to him, then I became a better wrestler. I found the passion that I had as a youth and went on to become a College All-American!
Q: Do athletic recruiting agencies work? Are they worth the money?
A: No, not really. My advice: never pay a recruiting service to send your information to universities, especially larger Division I schools.
At competitive Division I programs, stacks of athlete resumes aren’t taken serious or even looked at in most cases. If you have to pay someone to send out your profile, you must not be that talented. True or not, that is the impression it gives off.
Put together your Student-Athlete Resume, your highlights and mail/email them off to the schools that interest you. You can find all the contact information that you need within a few clicks online. And, coaches like players who can show SOME initiative and do some of this work on their own.
I’ve worked at major DI schools and we rarely (if ever) added a player to our recruiting list based off these profiles. I’ve also worked at smaller DI schools and we did occasionally begin to recruit a player off these profiles, but all of those players would have gotten the same responses if they would have mailed/emailed their own letter, film and resume. Send it on your own and they will be more likely to read it!
These companies send stacks of profiles to schools, and many are overlooked. Those companies have no extra leverage that you don’t have yourself! Again, coaches love players who show initiative!
Q: Why is it so hard to get that first scholarship offer?
A: Even though you think scholarship offers just fall from the sky for every other player in your area, understand that coaches put a LOT of time into deciding to offer a player a scholarship. They’ve usually scouted you in personal multiple times and the head coach has also had the chance to be able to see you play in person as well. In most cases, multiple coaches from the staff have cross-referenced their evaluations of you. They may have discussed your abilities with your coach and coaches in the area at other schools or clubs. They’ve likely requested your transcript and had their academic advisors evaluate if you would be able to be admitted to the University and make it through the NCAA Eligibility Center.
The goal of each recruiting cycle for each coaching staff is to sign the best player possible to each scholarship. Many staffs don’t rush the process, they’d rather get it RIGHT than simply make it QUICK.
Coaches break down each signing class and decide which positions on their current roster lack depth. Which positions are graduating players? Have players transferred? Who are our top 3, top 5, top 10 targets? They evaluate their needs as a team—and make allotments of how many players at each position they are going to sign.
Once they evaluate their needs and scholarships available at each position—they are going to likely rank the players that they are recruiting—by position—and make scholarship offers in that order. They may be waiting on a player a little more talented to possibly commit or are still in the process of evaluating potential players at each position.
Understand—it’s a PROCESS.
I’ve worked with players who earned offers days or weeks before Signing Day. I’ve worked with coaches who don’t use all of their scholarships until they are 100% confident in a player they offer, they don’t just use every spot until they are sold on a specific player who can help their team.
In certain situations, a coach doesn’t want to offer a player they are sure will commit until they are 100% sold on that player and confident they will be admitted into school and be eligible through the NCAA Eligibility Center—so many players have had to wait months in order to have a decision from a coaching staff.
Remember—you just need to find that one coaching staff who believes in you and you must be patient with the process!
How do I attract interest when I’m not playing well? A question most parents/players avoid.
A: SIMPLE! If you aren’t playing well, you won’t get much interest! Too many players focus on the recruiting process instead of focusing on becoming a great player. Here’s what you need to do:
#1- Focus on fundamental drills. Get drills from your position coach, and do them every day. Put in extra work. Every day. Master the simple skills of your position. Dedicate your offseason to getting ahead academically and your training.
#2- Develop mental toughness. You may feel like everyone else is getting recruited and you aren’t. Put that energy into your fundamentals. Out-tough the more skilled players! Be the best at the really simple things—it’s the really simple things that win games and get players recruited.
#3- All players develop on their own time! You don’t need 50 scholarship offers, you need to find that one coach who believes in you. There are plenty of college athletes who were late bloomers. Focus on developing your position-specific skills, strength and speed and doing the footwork to find that coach who sees something in you and is willing to take a chance.
#4- How can you separate yourself and make yourself different? You can get an edge by doing the dirty work that other players don’t want to do—Tracking, organizing, playing defense, blocking shots, film junkie, etc. Master a skill that helps win games that most players don’t want to do. Challenge for loose balls, block shots, hustle, be the unsung hero who knows how to make plays instead of always looking for the spotlight. Coaches recognize players who hustle. They LOVE players who hustle.
#5- Think about starting your college career at somewhere other than the highest level. If you aren’t getting the offers you want out of high school, look at other alternatives. The first player from a DII Men’s Program was drafted into the MLS this year. Look at all your options because if you want to play, there is a place for you to play!