Many times parents and players are seeking information on the recruiting process and how to go about being noticed by a college coach. There are so many questions to ask and so much information to process. When do I need to apply? How important are test scores and grades? How do I contact a coach? Do I need a video? What is the eligibility center?
Even though each school and each coach deals with recruiting differently I think that there are a couple of general statements that are true for everyone:
- Do well in school
- Do well on the SATs or ACTs.
- Look for a school that has your major
- Try to be realistic when it comes to soccer
When it comes to the soccer team - DO YOUR RESEARCH!!
Educate yourself about the team and the conference. Go and watch a game or two so you know the level, the team’s style of play, and see for yourself how the coach is interacting with the players and what type of coach he or she is. I personally think that this is very important and something that many players and parents forget during the process.
Communication - How To Stand Out In a Positive Way
According to NCAA less than 6% of boys high school soccer players will go on and play soccer at an NCAA institution. That means that out of 100 graduating seniors only 6 of them will have a chance to play soccer in college, at the NCAA level. Figuring that each high school soccer team has about 8 graduating seniors it would have to take two high schools to find one college soccer player.
(The percentage is slightly higher for women soccer players and the percentage is less than 4% for both men and women basketball, statistics for more sports can be found at the link below)
I receive over 50 emails per week from players, parents, and recruiting agencies with player resumes, videos, or general emails. Most of these emails I directly delete and the biggest reason for this is that the email isn’t customized for me specifically. It is obvious to me when the email is sent out as a mass email. My name is not included, it simply states: “Dear Coach” and the name of my school is not included, it says “Your School”.
If the interested student-athlete doesn’t have the time to customize their email, I simply feel that I don’t have the time to send them a reply email either. It doesn’t take much to stand out. I strongly suggest the student take the time to customize the email. Address the email to the coach with the coach’s last name (make sure you spell it correctly!) and mention that you have looked at the school’s and the team’s website.
Maybe a line about a recent game or an upcoming game?
Example: “Coach Lindberg – Congratulations on a great result vs ABC University…” or I saw on your website that you have a big conference game coming up, I will try to make the game”
This goes a long way and it shows the coach that you have a real interest in the school and the team. If I receive an email like that, I will make sure that I reply to that potential student-athlete.
I also think that it is important that the student and not the parent(s) are the driving force when communicating with the coach. Obviously, the parents have a major role in the process, and especially the finances involved, but I look for players that are mature and independent and can keep a conversation via the phone or in-person without Mom answering the questions every time. Start with creating an email account in your own name. Your parents can certainly help you drafting the email and help you out, but when I get an email from MarySmith@emails.com from a player named Justin Smith it is pretty obvious to me that I am in fact communicating with the Mom and not with Justin.
Once you have sent an email, wait a few days and then follow up with a phone call to the coach. It is amazing to me how few times this happens. A simple call to the coach -- introducing yourself, checking to see if the coach has received your email, and once again expressing your interest of the school and the team -- would go a long way and make a very good impression on me. It tells me you are serious about your interest and that you are a mature and responsible young man. Once you have the coach (or the assistant coach) on the phone ask the coach if you can set up a visit to the school and come and meet with the coach.
Once you have a meeting set up, you need to prepare for the meeting. In my next entry, I will discuss what you need to do to prepare yourself for such a meeting and how you can increase your chances of making a great impression.
Yours in Soccer!
Andreas Lindberg is the site director for Future Stars at Farmingdale State College.
Lindberg is also the current Head Coach for Nationally ranked LIU Post Men’s Soccer Team. Under his guidance, the Pioneers won the East Coast Conference Championship in 2009 and 2012. Lindberg was chosen to be the East Coast Conference Coach of the Year in 2009, 2011 and 2012.