College Recruiting Parent Player

Are College Soccer ID Camps Worth it?

College Soccer ID camps are an essential part of the college soccer recruiting process. And they're only getting bigger.

by Tim Bennett

A veteran of the college and youth soccer ranks. 24 years at the Division I level as a player, assistant coach, associate head coach, and Head Coach in such conferences as the Big 12, SEC, PAC 12 and the Big East. Served as an ECNL staff coach, US Soccer Development Academy Director and an Executive Director at the club level.

College Soccer ID camps are an essential part of the college soccer recruiting process. In many ways, they are overtaking club games and showcases as the primary evaluative tool used by college soccer coaches. In this COVID 19 recruiting landscape, they will become even more important.

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Why are they becoming more important? Aren’t they just money makers for college coaches? Since they are open to every skill level, isn’t the level of play pretty average? With some of these camps having over 50+ players, how does a player even get evaluated by that particular staff?

Let’s look at this from a college soccer coach’s perspective. Always keep in mind, per NCAA rules, that coaches have a small number of off-campus evaluations to use for identification. Alongside a limited recruiting budget. And now in a COVID 19 world, recruiting budgets are even lower, so there are more restrictions in the number of off-campus recruiting opportunities. 

College recruiting is about standing out, separating yourself from the other players. The recruiting age player pool is deep and very competitive. The NCAA transfer portal and the ease with which players can transfer schools have even further enhanced this competitive atmosphere. College ID camps provide an excellent opportunity to stand out and get noticed!

Why are ID Camps better than showcases?

At a showcase, college coaches spend about 10-15 minutes at a game and can cover up to 40 games per weekend. What if a player wasn’t in the game at that moment while the college coach was in watching? What if the game didn’t flow enough to allow a player to showcase or impact the game well enough to be noticed? There is a lot left up to chance.

Here are some additional reasons why college ID camps are becoming more and more critical:

  1. Coaches have a lot more time to properly evaluate a player in a training session and/or game situation. Most college coaches actively participate in their ID camps so they get some hands-on experience coaching a prospective student-athlete, evaluating whether or not that player would be a good fit for their program.
  2. Besides the on-field evaluation that an ID camp provides, college coaches are getting more time to spend with players getting to know their personality and character, which are essential factors when evaluating a prospective student-athlete.

Besides being beneficial for the college coach, ID camps are just as helpful for the players:

  1. Players get a feel for the college coach, how they coach, how they run their program, and other program details. A player will leave the camp with a better understanding of the coaching staff, athletic facilities, and student-athlete support. Players also get a feel for the campus, academics, and general student life. This knowledge will go a long way in making a choice on which college to attend.
  2. Players also get a feel for the level of play expected at that school. A player also gets to experience first hand other potential recruits for that school and their ability.  
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When should a player start attending college ID camps?

It’s easy to understand their value for a junior or senior. However, attending ID camps at a younger age while just beginning the recruiting process is just as beneficial. ID camps are unlike “regular” soccer camps or clinics. They are performance-based and competitive. The earlier a player gets introduced into this type of environment, the better they will perform during the later stages of the recruiting process.

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