College recruiting Q & A
Reality & Myth
Talented high school athletes are actively recruited by Division I
The majority of high school athletes and parents believe that talented High school/rep athletes are actively recruited by Division I college coaches. The reality is that only about 2% of these athletes are “actively recruited” by leading college coaches, leaving the remaining 98% to “recruit themselves” through self-directed efforts.
Most Division I schools give players full rides??
Division I men's soccer has A MAXIMUM 9.9 scholarships.
Division I women’s soccer has A MAXIMUM 14 scholarships.
Not all schools provide their soccer programs with the full allotment. Before disbanding, Vanderbilt University for example had less than 3 scholarships for its men’s program. Scholarships are usually divided amongst 22 to 30 players. Most schools shy away from full scholarships, because it is a large investment in one player, and it often costs a team potential depth. As well, many schools choose to increase individual player scholarships year by year, based on performance. If you are a female player, title IX has made scholarship money much easier to obtain than if you are a male player
Scholarship money can only be found at Division I and Division II schools?
While only Division I and Division II NCAA schools offer scholarships, many Division III schools have money available based on need, grants, etc. Many schools take a holistic approach to recruiting students, and being an athlete at Division III might increase your chances of receiving other forms of aid. NAIA schools also offer scholarships and might be a direction to consider. Whichever Division you choose, approach the economic aspects of college from every direction.
Being on the National Team, a Provincial Team or a good club team, is all you need to do to get recruited??
Do not leave anything to chance. On a given weekend in the US, college coaches see 300 to 400 players. If your team is going to a US tournament, make yourself seen. Write letters. Give coaches your schedule, your jersey number. Make phone calls. It is much easier for coaches to evaluate you when they know of you ahead of time. This will only increase interest and exposure. The school you want to go to will now make an effort to see you play. I would not recommend sending poor quality videotape of games or “highlights.” College coaches have no desire to sit through ours of shaky footage on a hand held camera. It tells them nothing about the caliber of the team, the opposition or the game. When sending highlight video, make sure it is high quality, edited, brief and showcases your various skills in game action. If a coach wants to see footage of a whole game they will request it. Expensively packaged player packets containing headshots, stats, awards and honors from the age of 5 onwards are also of little use (from personal experience, most of it went into a trash can immediately).
Players need Parent Agents
Stories of parent agents have received notorious status in the college ranks. A parent agent is considered a red flag, and often means an immature recruit, or an unenthusiastic recruit. To put it simply, college coaches are weary of parents who are the initiators in the recruiting process. Coaches want to hear from the kids. They want to know if kids are well spoken, mature, intelligent and enthusiastic about their university. In other words, coaches do not want to recruit the parent. Similarly some club coaches use the promise or lure of a college scholarship to bring players onto their team. Make sure you use due diligence when dissecting the motives behind these promises to you during their recruitment efforts.
Some schools are simply too expensive to consider?
Division I is Always the Best
"Some players don’t have a good understanding of what Division I is," say some college coaches. They might say, “ I want to play Division I,” but I could recommend a good DII, or DIII school. In reality, there are some Division I programs that are no better than some Division II, or III programs. A lot of people have a misconception about the level of play at various universities. The top 20 division III teams will beat some division I teams. The best NAIA teams will beat all but the very top NCAA teams. Determining the division a college plays soccer in has more to do with the size of the school, the money it offers (and how it is offered) and other factors away from the athletics field.
All Programs Are The Same?
Often, players will contact a college coach about attending their school and know nothing about the soccer team, the players, the coach, or the style of play. If you are a left midfielder, and the team has three sophomore left midfielders, chances are good that is not the school for you. If another school may have a graduating senior and a junior at your position, you’re more likely to get playing time earlier. If you are interested in a particular school, I recommend going and watching that team play. Watching one game will answer a lot of your questions. It is recommended that student-athletes make a list of the top schools of interest to them and then find out as much as they can about each school.
I Can’t Call the Coach
The NCAA rules regarding recruiting are more difficult to understand than any foreign language class that you are required to take in school. There are rules regarding visits to a university, gifts from a coach, pickup games while you are on recruiting visits and contact with the coach. Many student-athletes are worried they will break the rules and somehow risk their college soccer career. However, most of those rules pertain to the coach and not the player. You can usually call a coach anytime you like. He/She is restricted as to if and when he/she can call you.
High School Stars Automatically Become College Stars
If you are recruited by a major college, chances are you were one of the best players on your select team. You've been the "go-to player," the one who dictates the pace, the one everybody counts on. It's been a nice ride, but it's over. Some kids assume that since they were the star of their select team, that they will be the star in college, too. They don't fully understand the level of college soccer. They think they do, and their parents think they do, but they don't. The pace of college soccer is like nothing else they've seen before, and even players who come from some of the top club teams aren't used to the demands in college.