How to Promote your Recruitment at Tournaments

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If you are planning to compete in soccer tournaments this spring, make sure you prepare appropriately to maximize your recruiting exposure at the event.  In order to capture the attention of college coaches recruiting at these events, we recommend the following:

  1. Research online the colleges that are going to be represented at the tournament(s).  If you are considering a school, visit their soccer program webpage and find contact information for the coaches.
  2. Reach out to college coaches 3 weeks prior to the tournament when possible.  Visit our Freebies page for free pre-tournament letter and pre- and post-tournament email templates.  Do not send mass emails or copy multiple programs in the same email.
  3. One week prior to the tournament, email the coach with your games times and fields and confirm you jersey number and position and that you will in fact be playing.

Remember that the best way to start the recruiting process is to simply initiate contact. Tell the coach "I am interested in your program. Please evaluate me". Remember college coaches have a limited amount of time to spend evaluating talent.  Players predisposed to attend a given school can make a coach's life easier. Coaches will be more likely to watch you play if they know you are seriously interested in their program.

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How to contact college soccer coaches- A Student-Athlete perspective

College coaches recruiting at sideline at college soccer camp in Newton, MA

Taking the initiative and reaching out to a college coach for the first time can be a daunting task. One of the first things to keep in mind is that while college coaches are very busy, there is a good chance that they will see your efforts to get in touch.

College coaches always have potential student-athletes trying to get in touch with them, so it is important to be persistent in displaying your interest. Obviously, there is a fine line between persistent and annoying, but coaches are human beings just like you and appreciate the effort. As a student-athlete, you’ll stand out with a few emails and maybe a phone call or two. Most coaches have their emails and even their phone numbers on school websites. Unless you’re the next up and coming superstar, you’re going to have to do more than sending one email or leaving one voice message displaying your interest. When reaching out, it is always better to be thorough as well. Address the email or phone call the specific coach at each school of interest. Simply writing/saying “Dear Coach,” doesn’t signify how interested you are because you could be talking to any coach. In addition to specifically addressing the coach you’re speaking to, make sure to have your, club, jersey number, upcoming games/tournament times, and contact information in every email so that Coach can keep in touch with you.

Another way to demonstrate your interest is to reach out to admissions. Having the grades and enough extracurriculars is also important when looking at schools. If your GPA is too low, admissions will be your be your biggest obstacle. Admissions contact information is also simple to find on any schools information. Researching the necessary GPA and standardized test scores to be admitted can help keep you on track academically. Coaches will always be more inclined to recruit athletes that meet the academic standards of their schools as well.

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Understanding Financial Aid Packages

It is important for students and their parents to understand how financial aid works for student-athletes.  Each NCAA Division level is governed by its own set of rules.  During the recruiting process, college coaches may ask for CSS Profiles/FAFSA before offering athletic scholarships.  Below is a brief summary of the main differences and a link to more detailed information from the NCAA. 

Athletic Scholarships:  Athletic scholarships are awarded by institution based on the merit of the performance of the individual.  All Division I and II soccer programs are classified as "equivalency" sports, meaning that the NCAA restricts the total financial aid that a school can offer in a given sport to the equivalent of a set number of full scholarships.   

Division I:  Soccer teams can separate the scholarship awards between the roster up and till a maximum of 9.9 for the men and 14.0 for the women.  Coaches are allowed to award anywhere from 1%-100% for any individual student-athlete.  

Division II:  Soccer teams can separate the scholarship awards between the roster up and till a maximum of 9.0 for the men and 9.9 for the women.  Coaches are allowed to award anywhere from 1%-100% for any individual student-athlete.   

Division III:  The NCAA limits Division III teams to no athletic scholarships.  If you qualify for merit or need-based aid, you can qualify for financial aid.  The NCAA also require Div. III schools to show how much aid they give to athletes on sports teams. 

Need-Based Aid
Student need-based aid is related to the need of the family after completing either the CSS Profile and/or FAFSA forms.   Need-based aid is awarded on the student/family financial need.  When financial aid is determined through need-based aid, an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is determined.  Universities will work towards maximizing this aid gap.  It has often been noted that filling this financial gap, is maximized when the student has higher SAT or ACT scores.

Merit-Based Aid
Merit-based scholarships and grants are awards from educational institutions and organizations.  This aid usually comes from outstanding academic achievements in high schools grades and/or outstanding SAT or ACT scores.  Sometimes merit-based aid is awarded to students by such organizations as local club, Boy Scouts, YMCA etc.  Merit-based grants do not need to be repaid.  Athletic based scholarships are also a form of merit-based aid.

How are athletic scholarships combined with need-based and merit-based aid?  
It is possible at Division I and II schools to combine merit-based aid with athletic scholarships up to the need-based financial aid eligibility limit.  There are some limitations with combining need-based aid with athletic scholarships. 

For more information, visit NCAA's Scholarship page.

Making the most of your college visits

College visits, both official and unofficial, are important to finding out if a school is the best fit for you. Although soccer will be a massive part of your four years, there are other factors in making sure a school is the right one. If you suffer a long term injury or an injury that rules you out from playing soccer completely, would you still want to go to this school? Keep this question in mind during the duration of your recruiting process, but especially on a visit.

If you’re able to meet players on the team during your visit, it’s important to see if you gel with them.  Find out about the team culture. Some teams can be more laid back while others can be more intense. No one team culture is necessarily better than another, but consider if they atmosphere would work for you.

Make sure to find time to watch a game preferably or even a practice while you are on campus.  Does their style of play suit you? Is the coaching style right for you? Is the team lacking in the position or positions that you play? All of these are good questions to ask yourself if you get this opportunity.

The layout of the campus can also be a good indicator of whether or not you will enjoy your time at the school. College visits are a great chance to truly visualize yourself actually going to class at that school and hanging out in the dorms. Make sure to checkout the freshmen dorms.  For some students, your living accommodations can be a difference maker between schools.

If class size is something that matters to you, take the option to sit in on a class, either on your own or with one of the players from the team.  Class size will differ across programs so consider meeting with your preferred program and asking detailed questions about classes.  Getting a good feel of how classes and the environment should be part of your decision making process.

Each college will have a different vibe to it’s campus.  The right school is out there for you so take time on your visits and remember this can be a fun process.