According to ScholarshipStats.com
, 8% of high school soccer athletes play in college. Hundreds of thousands of student athletes compete each year for the opportunity to play at the next level –and you’re one of them. But how do you stand out? Not everyone is a soccer prodigy with recruiters from across the country flying in for each game, so you may need to showcase more than just your skill.
Here are 4 tips every soccer recruit should know.
1. Do your research
There are more than 3,000 colleges spanning five different division levels that have a men’s and/or women’s soccer team. You’ll want to narrow your search down based on what your priorities are. Do you want to stay close to home or travel? Would you play at a Junior College or only D1? There are also a number of rules you’ll need to follow. We recommend checking NCAA Men’s Soccer Recruiting Rules
and NCAA Women’s Soccer Recruiting Rules
for more details.
Pro Tip – When you’re researching the teams you would like to play for,also check the current roster. Having upper classmen in your position is a good thing; they will be graduating soon. You’ll get the opportunity to learn from someone who’s been there a while and fill their cleats when they graduate.
2. Have a highlight video
Coaches are busy and may not have the time to make it to one of your practices or games. This is where a video showcasing your abilities on the field comes in. Make sure to have more than in-game footage –have film of practice, camps you’ve attended, even a section at the beginning introducing yourself and your interest in the school’s program. Your film should also be current. You may have made some great plays in elementary school, your college coach is going to want to see your latest and greatest.
Pro Tip – Keep your highlight reel short. Have a quick introduction with name, school, position, and contact information. Follow this up with 3-4 minutes of highlights (20-30 clips). Don’t add any special effects or music –you want be the focus of the video.
3. Speak to the coaches directly
Introduce yourself. Let the coach know you’re interested in attending their school and playing for the team. If you want them to be interested in you, you need to show excitement for the program and school. Make it personal. Send them a showcase tournament schedule that they or a recruit may be able to attend. Be politely persistent. Coaches get hundreds of letters a day and have a limited window to communicate. This also means if you get a reply, be appreciative and responsive.
Pro Tip – You should contact the coach –not your parents.They aren’t the ones vying for a spot on the team. You are.
4. Keep up with your studies
From scholarships to playtime, your in-class performance affects your time on the pitch. You cannot let your grades slip. There are even many programs that require a higher GPA for athletes than the average student on campus. Soccer may be what gets you on campus, but it’s your grades that keep you there.
Pro Tip – Some colleges may not be able to offer athletic scholarships, but a coach or recruiter may be able to help you find academic ones to get you on the team. The only caveat –you need to meet the academic requirements to earn it.
Research the teams and schools you want to play for, create a concise highlight video, be the point of contact when talking to a coach, and do well in school. These 4 tips every soccer recruit should know help put a spotlight on you in the right way. You have the skill and desire to play in college, now you have a few more tools to help be part of that 8%.