Supporting Players through the College Search
The role of the parent in supporting players in exploring college soccer opportunities is to provide direction and support — it is not a parents role to control the college placement process. Players will be more confident of the final outcome if they have been the active participants in the process.
Freshman Year of High School
Relax … players need time to adjust to high school without making soccer their sole focus. Help the players choose courses that are both interesting and challenging. Establishing strong time management skills now in terms of balancing soccer, school and friends will pay huge dividends in the future. Academics should always be the #1 priority. Good grades are important from the beginning and if struggles occur, seek out help before the players begin to view themselves as unsuccessful. Expect and accept the distractions that surround players at this age: learner’s permit, homecoming, prom, relationships with friends, homework and more. Assist with establishing and encouraging good nutritional habits and sleep patterns. All of the changes that surround a high school freshman require a tremendous expenditure of energy and calories. Keep your eyes open to what your child is eating – if your hear the word “diet” in their vocabulary, look and listen to what they are eating and why they believe they need to diet. Review your child’s soccer club schedule and upcoming tournaments for the year.
Buy a large, clear storage box to organize all the college mail that will begin to arrive in the fall. File the college packets alphabetically. This box will be a major focal point over the next three years! On the outside of each packet, have the players make notes of what they saw as strong positives or negatives about the school after they have reviewed the information. Consider purchasing a college resource book and/or set up a meeting with your high school counselor. These resources will list colleges throughout the United States and/or abroad and will provide information regarding the soccer program, academics and admission requirements and contacts.
The sophomore and junior years are the most important years for exposure to prospective college coaches and recruiters.
The mail and email sent and received in addition to the player’s social media accounts all may be viewed by college coaches. Take the time to have an active discussion regarding their use of social media to be sure their online activities are appropriate.
Take a deep breath! This year is the time to really listen to verbal and non-verbal language. Are their academics in sync with the admission requirements at the types of schools they is most interested in pursuing? Standardized test scores? GPA/Class Rank? Do the schools offer financial assistance should your family qualify?
Players need to be timely and responsive in email communication with coaches e.g., game schedules, upcoming tournaments and exposure opportunities. The player should be the person who communicates with the college coaches and returns emails, letters and phone calls. Offer advice , but please know that the college coaches generally do not want to hear from parents.
In additional to college showcase and game playing exposure, attending a summer camp at a college of interest to the player may be a good additional opportunity for exposure. Camps can be a great venue for players to gain increased visibility at a particular school and to have the opportunity to interact with the coaching staff. Be sure to check the dates of the camp and to look at the list of camp instructors to be sure the coach from the school of interest will be in attendance. Staying on the college campus also provides a firsthand look at dorm living in the dorm and the campus community.
If a school of interest is near your home of near to a tournament site, take advantage of the opportunity to do an “unofficial” visit. An unofficial visit is one that you arrange on your own and you cover all of your child’s expenses. You may go on as many unofficial visits as you like. You can still tour the campus and meet with the coach. Remember, your child cannot be expected to know what they have not been exposed to and visiting a campus will provide them with a point of reference for all other visits to come.
Even if not interested in attending an in-state school, take advantage of the chance to tour the different types of campuses in Colorado, observe the students and familiarize them with the college atmosphere. This experience in itself will raise questions for them to ask when they go to other campuses.
Whew… in the home stretch! Keep it in perspective and ENJOY this crazy time. It is stressful but can be so rewarding too! Be supportive. Do not pressure players into decisions. Let them decide what college will be the best fit for them. Please contacts FC Boulder club coaches with any questions.
On the first Wednesday of February, we will celebrate all the players who make their college commitments official on National Signing Day!
Online College Opportunities This is a resource from a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping students find affordable on-line or distance learning programs.