NCAA college soccer rules are complex and College soccer recruiting starts as early as freshman year, whether players realize it or not. GPA is a key factor in college admissions, so it’s important for parents to instill in their children the importance of the transition from middle school to high school. While no one wants to put too much pressure on kids, this time period can set the course for the rest of a person’s life.
When can colleges start to recruit for soccer?
Recruiting effectively begins sophomore year of high school because college coaches can receive calls from players (although coaches cannot call players back!), and players can make unofficial visits as long as they are not coordinated as a meeting with coaching staff. College athletic departments may not participate in a prospective athlete’s unofficial visit until September 1st of their junior year.
Recruiting really ramps up on June 15 after sophomore year. This is when NCAA D1 and D2 coaches can start reaching out to players directly and begin extending verbal offers.
Coach Tim Bennett Offers Advice on Recruiting Timelines
High School Timeline for Playing College Soccer
- Focus on GPA and academics to give yourself a strong start.
- Sign up to play club soccer outside of school, if it’s feasible where you live. College coaches want to see you are playing at the most competitive level available to you.
- Start getting serious about game film. Many of the top clubs have players using the Trace soccer camera even before their freshman year. But early high school is the time to start collecting highlights and getting in habit of keeping the best clips organized.
- College coaches cannot contact you during this year.
- Keep focused on academics. Better grades will make college recruiting much easier down the line.
- Begin conversations with your club coach about playing in college and start building a development plan to improve the soccer skills you need.
- Keep recording soccer games and make sure to add moments to your Trace iD, which allows coaches to see your progress over time.
- Start building your list of colleges and safety schools. Visit college campuses to build relationships and show coaches you are genuinely interested.
- Leading up to June 15, start emailing college coaches with your key information and be proactive about contacting college coaches so that when June 15 hits you will already be on the coach’s radar.
- June 15 before Junior Year: NCAA D1 and D2 coaches can start reaching out to players directly and begin extending verbal offers.
- August 1 before Junior Year: Athletes can begin taking official or unofficial campus visits.
- Get your standardized test(s) taken (ACT or SAT)
- Stay focused on academics.
- Hone in your realistic college list (top 10 schools + safety schools)
- Start getting letters of recommendation from high school and club coaches. Build a relationship with your high school counselor to get a strong recommendation down the line.
- Plan to play in competitive tournaments and attend ID camps, and create an online resume or document to present to college coaches about your soccer activity. (contact info, Trace iD URL, school and GPA info, and upcoming events you’ll be attending)
- Record soccer games with Trace soccer camera (which provides automatic edits and playlists after games) or another camera plus an editing team.
- Register with NCAA National Eligibility Center, attend some college games if possible
- Start building real relationships with college coaches and sending your Trace iD after competitive games. Arrange official visits at colleges, attend games if possible at target schools, and attend recruiting seminars at tournaments.
- Keep building real relationships with college coaches and sending your Trace iD after all competitive games.
- Arrange official campus visits at colleges and build relationships with soccer team members at target schools. This could be vital, as players could inform you if a teammate transfers off the team and a spot opens up.
- File Financial Aid forms (by January 1) and apply to colleges
- Choose your school!
*NCAA recruiting rules can change. It’s important to double-check the official NCAA website here.