The Secret to Becoming a Recruited Soccer College Athlete
By Jeff Jaye – Founder and Director of iSoccerPath Your Bridge from Club to College Soccer!
What is the Secret Sauce? When over 2 million soccer players a year are trying to land one of the coveted recruited spots to become a college soccer player, you need the appropriate tools and programs that are going to increase your chances. After interviewing more than 100 college coaches over the past year on our College Education Panels, the one main constant to be ahead of the game is that the process now is 80% on you, the family and player. The items and processes that were mostly up to the club in the past have now morphed into the responsibility of the player and families.
Why is this?
College coaches get over 500 emails in a normal week from players all over the world and this number doubles to 1000 in a week leading up to a College Showcase like Soccerloco Surf Cup. With the average recruiting class each year of 6 players per program, coaches have little to no time to spend on actively pursuing players. How can your family and player make an impact on that coach? How can you brand and market your son/daughter to these coaches? How can you utilize these coaches to help your son/daughter become admitted to the college of their choice when schools all over the Country are only admitting 10% of applications each year in most cases? We have the answers for you.
What College Coaches are Saying:
A player with great grades and test scores, skill, athleticism, mental toughness, and that is coachable is considered a great recruit. However, the number of these players available each year has now grown exponentially and these traits are now considered normal. Before you reach out to college coaches you must define who you are and what you can bring to the program because the coaches will ask you “What makes you different?”.
- Skill and Technique – Your coaches are your primary resource to teach and guide you to the appropriate level of a college soccer that matches your level of talent. Strive every year to become a better player.
- Athleticism – You are responsible for keeping fit and pushing to be the best athlete you can be during your high school years. Many clubs and teams offer fitness days but most fall short of what is expected at the college level. Your daily training routine can only help you be fit when you walk into college. If you have seen the resources poured into campuses for the strength and conditioning departments you will know what level of fitness the college coaches expect.
- Academically – This is all about the player in the classroom. Your GPA and test scores are required for entrance and can deny you a spot on the team if the player does not meet the college minimum requirements.
- Use your high school resources and work closely together to see that you will reach your goals. You must plan with your counselor for the appropriate courses that will allow you the largest advantage as a player. You should meet yearly if not biyearly with your teachers and counselors and allow them to guide you. Study for entrance tests and meet the requirements by the end of your junior year so that if you fall short you have your senior year to improve upon your test scores.
- Coachable/Character – Your teachers, coaches, counselors and any extracurricular staff are a part of your team. When you build your resume they can vouch for you as a player, student and as a person. These people can speak on your behalf about your work ethic and how you perform. You will need them as you go through the enrollment process. It is critical that all aspects of your social media footprint including your email address are an accurate representation of you. Social media is now included in the final deciding factors for most coaches.
- Mental Toughness – Much of your mental toughness will grow with maturity. It is important that you are able to do the following: -Adapt in new environments -Communicate well -Behave appropriately -Respond well while under pressure -Process instructions -Understand what coaches, teammates, roommates, and teachers are asking of you -Understand on how to protect yourself in a manner of professionalism
If you possess these traits you will be considered a highly regarded prospect.
What Parents Need to Be Doing:
Support your child and teach them life skills.
Do lead your child on the journey to identify what’s important to them in college. Unofficial visits help students identify what colleges have to offer. Do help review all email communications but don’t overtake the process because coaches can tell a parent email from a player email. Help them keep a communication log. Role play and help them learn interview skills. Educate your child on your family’s financial contribution for college and what they will be responsible for.
Both the parents and the child should educate themselves with the college admissions process and college financing options. Coaches are happy to meet with the family while on unofficial visits. Ask questions and have your son/daughter ask questions.
When interested coaches contact a player it is then time for the player to step up and communicate in a timely manner. Coaches will include parents but the objective would be to have the player be the primary communicator during the process. It is best that parents help to advise your child before your student takes a call, meets the coach, travels to the official visit but do not take over the process. The player is the person that will be attending college for four years and coaches are trying to evaluate the player off the field as well as on the field before they make an offer. (Role playing helps!)
What Do We Do Now?
As parents, use your club’s and your coach’s resources to the full extent. Remember they are responsible for building your son/daughters technical and tactical soccer ability. They get your teams into showcases to be seen by college coaches. They teach you how to travel as a team which is important at the college level. Most importantly they teach you “Soccer Character” which is underestimated in what could be your child’s final assessment for an offer. This is about 20% of what the process is and the other 80% is your responsibility. This can be found on-line with research of the program who specializes in knowing and delivering the “Secret Sauce”. Best of luck in the process and welcome to SoccerLoco Surf Cup!
Jeff Jaye – Founder and Director of www.iSoccerPath.com is a soccer dad with a son and a daughter currently playing Division 1 Soccer on scholarship. iSoccerPath was founded based on his and his wife Barbara’s experience in the recruiting process and his hope to pass on to future soccer parents so their children can become student athletes.