This is a guest lesson by Buford Mobley.
Being the parent of a rising freshman or sophomore means you are probably facing concerns or challenges with starting the soccer recruitment process. This unnecessary pressure could impact the development of your child and their drive to continue playing the sport they’ve loved for so long. In a recent post in The Soccer Parent Life Facebook Group, which has over 15,000 soccer parents, we had a lot of parents share their challenges with the process. Most boiled down to the following five subjects:
For each, I’ll share some of the advice our parents lent to other parents with rising freshmen or sophomores looking to get recruited for soccer.
Picking a College
For most, the soccer recruitment journey starts with picking a handful of colleges where your kid wants to play. It could be their dream school for several different reasons. If it’s to compete at the highest level, find a strong soccer program that aligns with your child’s style of play and abilities. If you’re looking for a soccer scholarship to help support your child going to college, consider thinking about what you want in a school outside of soccer. What town or type of atmosphere does your child want to experience? Would your child prefer a smaller school as opposed to a larger one? Is your kid showing interest in a specific subject, pointing to a desired major? If so, you’ll want to find schools that have strong programs in that respective major. Start thinking about fit, academically, socially, culturally, geographically, etc. And be ready for this list to change, because finding the right fit means being open to having your kid change their mind.
Grades and Academics
Picking a college is very dependent on how your child is performing academically. If you’re not already, make sure your kid understands the importance of their grades and keeping up their grades throughout high school. Start thinking about ACT/SAT prep if that component is essential for the schools on your list. All the work they do on the field will be overshadowed by how they are performing in the classroom.
ID Camps are expensive, but they are an essential part of the college soccer recruiting process. Are ID Camps better than Showcases? The short answer, in most cases, yes. Most college coaches can spend much more time with players at ID camps than at Showcases. Camps allow the coach not only to see more of your kid’s action on the field but also allows them to learn about their personality and character.
Just like ID Camps, video of your player is a great tool to get a college coach to focus on your kid. You’ll want your kid’s video to show a wide variety of skills. In most cases, if the coach is intrigued, they will want to jump to the full game film, to get even more context into the highlighted moments you sent them. The coach is probably wondering whether this game is where the team blew the opponent out of the water. They also know your kid is human, so they want to see how they handle mistakes. It’s crucial to start filming early. Not only will it contribute to the development of your player, but it will give your player reasons to continue to reach out to a coach through their high school years.
Communicating with College Coaches
It’s important to understand the rules around what your player can and cannot do when communicating with a college coach. First, you should know that your player can absolutely communicate with soccer coaches at any age. D1 and D2 college coaches can’t return the communication, but players can still get on their radar even as a freshman or sophomore by sending them emails or moments from their games. D3 and NAIA coaches can communicate with players at any time. It’s also essential that your child is leading the communication. College reciters want to hear from the players, not their parents. Here is a player’s guide to emailing college soccer coaches.
I hope this information helps with your soccer recruitment process. It’s challenging but can be incredibly beneficial to your player’s future. If you have any additional questions, feel free to join our The Soccer Parent Life Facebook Group. We can’t wait to meet you and help you and your player through their soccer journey!