Author: Suzie (Hinman) Locke
Recruiting is about putting your best foot forward. If you are not sure which foot is best, pick one and put it out there. There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path. People usually realize there are ways to be recruited, but too often they are content to let opportunities just pass them by for a wide variety of reasons. The reality for most players is, if you want to be recruited, you must take a proactive approach to the process.
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In no particular order, here are the five best places to be seen by college coaches.
1. College ID Camps
College ID Camps, when run correctly, are a great way to get your face and name in front of several coaches. Before you sign up for a camp, you should understand how the ID process will work for that camp. Questions to ask:
- Will sessions be run by different college coaches?
- Will there be coaches in the stands to observe?
- Will all coaches be provided registration information with all player profiles?
- Will players be wearing numbers to ensure coaches know who is who?
- What benefits will the camp provide to me? (i.e. video, networking, etc.)
There are many colleges, clubs, and individuals who run ID Camps around the country. You should target camps in regions that interest you as a player. This will make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck. EXACT offers several ID Camp opportunities with an ever expanding availability.
2. Showcase Tournaments
I know what you are thinking, these days every tournament seems to be a “showcase.” However, it is critical that you maximize your money when it comes to showcases. You can do this by considering the level of other teams in the tournament, in relation to your team. Also, be proactive in your pre-tournament preparation. Most tournaments have lists of registered coaches. Contact programs of that are of interest to you and provide your schedule. After the tournament, follow up with them and ask for feedback on your play.
*If you are on a team that does not travel to showcase tournaments, or will not be attending tournaments in the region you are interested in, look for guest play opportunities. Contact the tournament directors about guest play opportunities, hop on with a local club, or if your club is affiliated with a larger entity, find out if you can guest play on another team.
3. College Camps
Most colleges offer summer camps. There might overlap with ID Camps because other coaches are in attendance. If you have particular interest in a program, try to attend their camp, or a camp where they send their staff.
In some instances, there may be schools where you do not have an opportunity to physically play in front of their coaches. This problem can be solved with highlight videos and clips. Be sure the videos you are posting about yourself are appropriately showcasing your skills to potential coaches. Send your links or embed the content in emails to your program prospects. Follow up with coaches for feedback on your play.
If your state has a quality Olympic Development Program, that can be a great avenue, not only being seen, but also for player development. ODP is a player identifying program with the goal of identifying the highest caliber of players in the country. The state and regional programs work to develop players at all levels through quality coaching and training opportunities. Look into regional and state ODP opportunities through state soccer associations. This can be a great way to put your name on the mainstage.
While this list is limited, there are a couple of other options that deserve an honorable mention:
High School Soccer
Can provide quality competition and opportunities but often is not as recruited as the other opportunities listed above.
Professional Recruiting Services
Professional services can be very expensive and while used by coaches they are often hit or miss. See my previous article on Recruiting Teams for more information on this topic.