YOU (the player) should be the person who contacts the college coaches and returns emails, letters and phone calls. Advice from your parents and coaches is valuable, but the college coaches DO NOT WANT TO HEAR FROM PARENTS. Parents that contact coaches are a red flag that the potential recruit is not mature enough for college athletics. Below are some examples of different types of communications you will engage in with college coaches.
During your sophomore year, you should begin contacting coaches via e-mail or letter. This is typically the first contact, so make it a great one. More and more college coaches are saying that they begin tracking student-athletes in their sophomore year of high school.
By August of your junior year, you should be proactively contacting college coaches or following up with coaches you have already contacted.
Prepare your “player profile” resume and write a personalized cover letter to each college coach. A personal cover letter is more effective than a generic version for all coaches. The cover letter should explain your expectations in terms of education, the soccer program, financial need, and any scholarship requirements. Be sure to request literature about the college, and specifically, the soccer program. The cover letter should also be typed and, of course, have correct spelling and proper grammar. Include your online highlights or a DVD.
You can call the coach as often as you wish. Be aware that the coach cannot initiate contact with you, even to return a phone call, until after July 1st following the completion of your junior year in high school. (Note: NCAA, NAIA and other governing bodies change rules on an ongoing basis.)
Talking to College Coaches
Click HERE for some ideas provided by the Duke Men’s and Women’s Soccer Coaches.
Once you reach the coach, what do you talk about? It is important that you separate the questions that you ask about the campus from the questions that you ask about the team. Remember, if a coach wants you to play for them, they can be very convincing. The students that you talk to should be realistic about the environment and the opportunities from an academic standpoint. The conversation you have with the coaches should be directed toward your athletic goals and aspirations. Here are some questions that you can include in your conversation. Deeper conversations warrant a deeper level of questioning. This is where your self-advocacy skills play an important role. Practice the conversation with your parents or your CAP Director.
Here are some valuable questions to ask coaches:
1. What is your coaching philosophy?
2. What kind of opportunities are there for my continued player development?
3. How active are you in my off-field activities?
4. Where am I on your priority list?
5. Describe the other players competing for my positions? ~ Will I red-shirt my first year?
6. Do you red-shirt injured players?
7. What happens to my scholarship if I am injured? ~ How do you determine scholarship renewals?
8. What are your strength and conditioning requirements season to season? ~ What are your academic requirements?
9. Do you allow walk-ons? How many walk-ons make the team each year?
10. How do you visit with prospective players? ~ Do you want a DVD/Video, what format do you prefer?
If a coach promises you playing time as a freshman, be cautious. It could be that they do not have a lot of depth in the roster, or it could be a sales pitch. You want to be competing for your position. This shows a lasting strength in the program and the coach. Each year, your scholarship is up for review. Make sure you ask the coach about this procedure. What happens if you get injured play soccer? Will you be happy at the school?