COVID-19 has had an impact on the College Recruiting Process but there is a lot you can be doing to get ahead of the game!
The majority of the fall college seasons were cancelled, postponed or rescheduled. Some colleges are playing their fall season in the spring or having non-conference games.
NCAA also established a Dead Period, which means DI college coaches are not allowed to attend “live recruiting” events until May 31, 2021. DII, DIII and NAIA college coaches can do “live recruiting” and they are attending games, showcases and ID Camps.
Once May 31, 2021 hits, DI college coaches will be out in full force recruiting for their upcoming seasons. Do your best to get on their list so they can come watch you plan in action!
1. Update Your Player Profile
College Coaches look at your profile to ensure you have a professional online Player Profile with a current picture, highlighting your athletic and academic achievements. It should also include your highlight video, contact information and your references. If the platform also has an APP, it is even better. I have recommended platforms in previous posts and since then, Total Global Sports has some out with a new app that is great and I highly recommend this one. Check it out here.
2. Research Schools and Make a List of Your Top 15 Schools
This is one step that I see a lot of players skip. Most players choose the most popular schools that come to their mind. Most of these schools have super strong athletic programs and they are usually very strong academically as well. These schools are very competitive and difficult to get into, unless you are on the US National Team Player Pool, High-Level ODP player with a lot of accolades and experience.
Do your research to figure out what level would be best for you and the school you want to attend. Do you want to play Top DI, Mid to Lower DI, DII, DIII, NAIA or JC.
Here are some key preferences to take into consideration: Do you prefer a Public or Private school, big or small school, in state or out of state, cold weather or sunny weather, social setting, academic standards, major of interest and cost.
3. Get an Assessment of What Level You Should Play.
The best way to get this information is from coaches that know you, respect you and will be honest with you. This is very important and this will help you narrow down the schools so you can target those schools specifically. Most players will shoot for schools that are out of their range and then miss out on opportunities. If you identify the right level for you, you will be one step ahead of the game. There is a place for everyone, you just need to find the right fit. DI, DII, DIII, NAIA or Junior College. Every level of soccer has great, good and not so good programs - you just need to find what is best for you and them. For more information on how to identify a Target List of schools for your level of play, schedule a Free Call for an Assessment.
4. Create a Highlight Video
Put together your best game clips from recent matches. You should start with a short BIO page including a picture of you, club team, age group, graduation year and jersey number. Each clip should identify you with a circle, arrow or spotlight so college coaches know who to watch. Make sure you highlight your strengths and keep the video short, 3-5 minutes max. If you don’t have game film, create an individual training highlight video for now and add game footage as you get it.
Highlight videos are key especially right now. What makes you stand out. Coaches need to be able to put a name with a face and see you as a player. Some context in your highlights, how you receive the ball etc…. Start with your best and keep it going. Make sure the video is clear and with no distracting sounds. Aerial views are good, close ups are also good but they need to see where you are on the field.
You need to get their attention as soon as possible. This is an area that will need to be used more and more with limited travel on coaches and events. So start getting comfortable with this process as much as possible. Practice being in front of the camera showcasing your skills.
5. Clean up Your Social Media
Believe it or not, college coaches will search you out on social media to get more insight on you as a player and as a person. Some schools have people designated to do this for the coaches, that is how important it is to them. They want to make sure they are bringing good people into their program! If they see any red flags on your social media, they will move on or take you off their list. Now is the time to make sure you represent yourself in the best light! No drinking, No partying, No foul language and No obscene memes. Don’t post anything that you think will jeopardize your acceptance or admission into the school of your dreams! Actually, do the opposite. Start posting positive quotes, inspirational & motivational videos or memes, athletic posts, training posts, posts of other successful pro athletes. Be positive, be inspirational, be a leader. Coaches are looking for these types of people to add to their program.
6. Send Emails to Your Favorites List to Express Your Interest in Their Program
Now, you are ready to send emails to introduce yourself to the coaching staff and express your interest in their school and program. The subject should include your Name, Graduation Year and maybe something catchy. Anything specific to their school will assure your genuine interest. College coaches don’t like mass emails, they want you to show specific interest. Include a brief intro about you, your interest in their school, schedule of upcoming events and an invitation to come watch you in action.
7. Go to their Athletic Websites and Fill Out Student-Athlete Questionnaires
Schools want to know that you are interested in them from the beginning. If you take the time to fill out the Questionnaire, it will show them you are serious. As a result, you will also get up to date information about the school and program. You will most likely get info on upcoming camps, clinics, games, schedules etc...Most of them will be mass emails, but sometimes, college coaches will use this as a way to communicate to you specifically. So look closely at the email to see if it is specific or general. If you are not sure, as you coach or director.
8. Attend ID Camps
At these camps you are able to scrimmage and play games in the camp environment, which is a great experience for you as a player to keep your level high and fitness up. You will also interact with other players with similar goals and interests. You will also have the chance to work with and meet college coaches. These college coaches might not be at your favorite schools but they can give you good advice, maybe make a connection for you and be a future reference. You will also gain experience attending and standing out in camps, so you are prepared when you attend camps with your favorite schools.
9. Get Started with an Individual Training Program
The most important thing here is to make sure you are able to stay healthy and strong. You don't want to miss out on games due to being injured or out of shape. Physical fitness and technical ability is key when it comes down to what college coaches are looking for in players. You have to stay in the best shape possible. If you are fit and in shape, you have less risk of getting injured. If you are injured or not able to play, you CANNOT be recruited. When you do play, you have to be able to last as long as possible with bursts of intensity, movements, sprints, tackles and runs. You also have to be able to control the ball and when you get tired that becomes more difficult and that is when you will really be tested or assessed technically.
10. Get Professional College Recruiting Guidance
I have 20+ years of experience working with club soccer players from across the country.
I have all been through the college recruiting process hundreds of times with all different types of players. So I know what you should be doing from start to finish.
I will help simplify the process for you.
I take away all the guesswork and we give you the exact steps you need to take to be successful.
We will help you Identify your Best Fit and Target List the schools that will be the best for you.
I will customize an Action Plan for you so you can stay on track and accomplish your goals of getting recruited.
For more information, you can Schedule a Free Call with me here.
Keep working hard and doing the best that you can!