The player should be the person who contacts the college coaches and returns emails, letters and phone calls. Advice from parents and coaches is valuable, but the college coaches do not want to hear from parents. Parents that contact coaches may be a red flag that the potential recruit is not mature enough for college athletics. Below are some examples of different types of communications the players will engage in with college coaches.
During sophomore year, coaches may being reaching out via email or letters. 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 junior year, players should be proactively contacting college coaches and following up with coaches already contacted.
Players should prepare a personalized cover letter to each college coach in additional to updating their soccer CV. 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.
Players can call the coach as often as they wish, but the coaches cannot initiate contact with players, even to return a phone call, until after July 1st following the completion of 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. Below 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 the 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 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. Players should want to compete for positions – 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 playing soccer? Will you be happy at the school?