Rob Thompson is the Director of Operations at Clemson University. Clemson University is an NCAA Division I institution located in Clemson, SC. Clemson is a member of the ACC conference alongside other schools such as: Wake Forest, NC State University, and Louisville. 

Rob Thompson has been with Clemson for three seasons, after being named the Director of Operations prior to the 2017 season. Before coming to Clemson, Thompson was heavily involved in coaching both youth and college soccer in New Hampshire since 1993. At Clemson, Thompson serves a vital role with organization and orchestration for the program, helping manage the time management and scheduling of student-athletes, as well as serving as a liaison with University personnel. 

In this interview, Rob talks about his coaching experience and how he got started in coaching. He also talks about some pregame rituals and shares his favorite recruiting story. This is an interview you do not want to miss! Enjoy!


Rob Thompson: Director of Operations at Clemson University.

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Topic 1: Coaching Background

Rob started coaching when he finished his undergrad and was offered an assistant coach position at New Hampshire. When the head coach moved to another college, Rob was offered the head coaching position at New Hampshire where he stayed for twenty years. He now works as the director of operations at Clemson and has also coached at many different levels. 

Topic 2: Coaching Mentees

Rob says that it's important that you love what you do and he is fortunate enough to love going to work everyday, but that he does not think coaching is for everyone. He says right now he hasn’t been pushing anyone into coaching just because it is a tough business, but he does try to give younger coaches advice. 

Topic 3: Pregame Rituals

Rob says when he played he did not want to step on a line on the field before the game. He also says that when he was coaching at New Hampshire he always took a shower before every match. Rob says he prefers to look at these things as routines rather than rituals. 

Topic 4: Favorite Recruiting Story

Rob talks about an athlete that played for him who they did not recruit. He says this athlete came to a practice and asked if he could try out for the team. The first year he tried out for the team, and they did not have a spot for him and turned him away. The following year the athlete tried out again and beat the entire team in the fitness test and ended up being a vital addition to their team. 

Topic 5: Recruiting Tips

Rob thinks the most important part of the recruiting process is communication. He encourages athletes to communicate with coaches and let them know where and when they are playing so that coaches are able to watch them play in person. He also believes it’s important that athletes do their research on the schools they are interested in to make sure these schools are a good fit.

Topic 6: Recruiting Timeline

Rob says that recruiting timelines look different for every athlete. He says that a very important part of the recruiting process is getting on campus for a campus visit. He also reminds athletes that they need to do their research on a school first, there is no use in contacting a school if they do not even have the major you are interested in. 

With Coach Rob's large amount of experience, his tips for players is valuable information that all athletes should take into consideration moving forward.

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Full Transcript:

Jess Gregory  0:03  

Pick up here again. There we go. All right. Sounds still good.

Rob Thompson  0:11  

Yeah. Okay,

Jess Gregory  0:13  

perfect. My turn you up a little bit.

Rob Thompson  0:16  

I'm just gonna tell my kids I'm on this call where I am. So they're not like texting me in the middle of this like no problem. Because that that sometimes that they think something's really important like they're shopping and they want they want like

Jess Gregory  0:32  

they want you for something

Rob Thompson  0:34  

like can I get this and I'm like, this isn't that important, like calling me 15 times.

All right. Cool. Yeah, good.

Jess Gregory  0:51  

So, just everything's right. Do you want to go by Robert Robert? I assumed Rob. Rob Yeah. Okay director of operations. And Clemson. That's all I guess. All right, so we'll get started here. All right, everyone. Thanks for joining us. Today I am here with Rob Thompson. He is the Director of Operations over at Clemson men's soccer. How are we doing today? Rob?

Rob Thompson  1:16  

We're doing good.

Jess Gregory  1:17  

How are things out on South Carolina?

Rob Thompson  1:20  

A little rainy today, but the weather's been nice. And, you know, we're anxious to get back outside. So it is. It is what it is. Right. Where we're all hanging there and, and doing what we can.

Jess Gregory  1:33  

Absolutely. Is it warming up at least down there?

Rob Thompson  1:37  

Yeah. Nice. It's been Yeah, it's been really nice and summer like and some of the some of the days. So you know, we've been enjoying some weather and getting outside and you know, doing what we can outside so it's been spent okay.

Jess Gregory  1:48  

Yeah, absolutely. I think that's probably helpful. People can kind of get outside and move around a little bit. You're not kind of stuck in a in a high rise or anything. So

Rob Thompson  1:56  

yeah, we've been we've been swimming in the lake. We've been doing a lot out King aspirin. It's been really nice.

Jess Gregory  2:02  

Nice, awesome. Um, have you guys been able to kind of like chat with with players, I mean, not even about soccer, but just trying to keep in contact with other people, because that's gotta be hard on people to not be able to see others face to face.

Rob Thompson  2:15  

Yeah, we've done a lot of stuff with our Korean players. You know, they're sort of at a standstill in terms of in terms of recruiting and kind of building relationships that's kind of off but uh, but in terms of our staff, and we're doing a lot of fun stuff at Clemson and stay connected with the staff and actually have Family Feud tonight with our coaching staff against like somebody else. So we've been doing some fun stuff and clumps is a great place so that they really looked out for the staff and the employees. So a lot of family time it's been there's been positives in it. So

Jess Gregory  2:47  

yeah, you definitely got to look at the positives, I think because otherwise you can go down that rabbit hole of everything you've missed out on. So we don't want to do that. All right, Rob. Well, I know a little bit about you from having worked with you. camps and such. But can you kind of share your coaching background with us and how you got started? Um, and then how you kind of ended up at Clemson?

Rob Thompson  3:09  

Yeah, it's kind of a interesting story in the sense that uh, you know, I started my coaching career with working for Mike noon and the head coach at Clemson when he was at New Hampshire. So I was thinking about going to law school or graduate school after playing and went up to New Hampshire and looked around and he offered me an assistant position and I was there for two years. We had two of the best years ever in the history of the program. And when he got the head coach coaching position at Brown, they offered me that job at university Hampshire I took that was there for 2020 years. And when he got came down to Clemson, and he talked to me about coming down here and it just wasn't the right time and then and, you know, and it was the right time. So I've kind of come full circle. I worked from IKEA, so 9394 and now I'm back working for them again here at company. So it's been kind of an old experience to work for Mike but also new because because of the the support that Clemson gives in terms of athletics so it's been fun and it's a different obviously different place. You know, geographically New Hampshire and South Carolina so it's been good.

Jess Gregory  4:21  

Yeah, definitely a little warmer down there but you now don't have those winters. Have you coached at any other levels or was it just all college?

Rob Thompson  4:30  

Yeah, no I coached for seacoast united up in New Hampshire forever. I coach in the academy system I've coached I've coached little kids, my I've got three daughters. So I switched over and coach to on the girls side up there at the club, Coach Olympic development program when that was sort of the thing to do was in the regional staff or region one. And since I've been down here at Clemson, I've just been with our program like we do so much with our program that there isn't a lot of time do other things. But I've coached some PDL, some www PSL with the women's You know, just a number of youth, you've different levels, I mean to just tiny kids, where it's just recreational and fun to elite like us development Academy, guys. So it's been sort of all encompassing. And because I've had three daughters, I've coached a lot of a lot of girls, because I wanted to see them play and develop in an impact their games and their friends. Yeah. And kind of all encompassing. Very cool.

Jess Gregory  5:27  

Yeah. Well, it sounds like then not only did you have a mentor in the coach that you're with now, since you guys kind of moved around a little bit. I'm sure you've coached with a lot of, you know, different coaches that are at different levels in their career. Do you have any kind of mentees that you're looking forward to how they're kind of moving on to the next level? Oh,

Rob Thompson  5:48  

yeah, it's kind of it's kind of funny.

I love my job. I really do and I think that, you know, even with my daughters that are going to college, and they're Thinking about careers I tell them that you know you have to love what you do and not many people really enjoy going to work every day and are passionate about what they do. And you know a lot of times you don't you don't get to do that. And I feel like I'm I get to do that every day. On the other hand, I don't think coaching for every everyone I think it's a tough business I think it's um you know, like right now if you're a youth coach, I talk to my my buddies is still in the youth coaching at the clubs and you know, their baseline is shut down so I think it's a difficult I think you have to be the right person I try to be really reserved and in recommending that for for guys that I work with and and for people that do I think it's awesome and most of the guys that Clemson You know, they're gonna go on to some sort of professional soccer career, you know, first and then you know, maybe get into coaching later. So, right now, I haven't been pushing anybody currently into the profession but you know, I'm still work a lot of camps and stuff. There's a lot of young coaches out there and I try to be I try not to feel old, but I try to give them some advice in terms of, you know, that to work with good people to work with good programs to make sure that you're passionate about what you do. And if you can do that, if you feel passionate about coaching kids and seem to develop that, I think it's a great career. Great, great thing, a great thing to do.

Jess Gregory  7:18  

Yeah, absolutely. Plus, I think a lot of coaches, for the most part, at least ones that I've I've encountered, we like to continue to learn so it's nice to learn from coaches that have been around the game for a while, hear different perspectives and things like that. So I'm sure you've had plenty of mentees that have learned from you throughout the years and have gone on to do great things. Yeah, I

Rob Thompson  7:38  

hope so. I think you know, it's one of the nice things about coaching for so long as you see run into people that you know, you coached you know, a long time ago and they have kids and that they say that now they're a coach of the team or, or just that they give back in some way and the you know, the game and when I grew up, my dad coached a little bit but he had never played soccer. So now what you're seeing is a lot of people have played the game and are giving back and Working with their kids. And so it's easier. So it is kind of cool to, you know to, like I said, I think it's great that I work with Mike, who has been my mentor and then and he was, I feel fortunate that he wanted me to come and help him in his program at Clemson. And it's, it's a, it's kind of a nice circle. And it's been very rewarding for me and our staff is great to work with. So it's kind of cool that I've come full circle. So it's been a neat experience and that that certainly could happen with factor communities pretty small. You'll work with people and you'll run into people and they there's a lot of people I first worked with, through john Ellis and Soccer Academy in Virginia, where I grew up, those guys are coaching and you know, coaching on the women's side, the men's side, and then always in youth youth side, and it's been cool to kind of run into them and say, oh, man, yeah, yeah, we work together 20 years ago, so

Jess Gregory  8:54  

yeah, that's very cool. Um, all right now having been a player and a coach, do you Have any like pregame rituals or maybe superstitions that you just have to do before?

Rob Thompson  9:05  

Yeah. I like to think of them as more of a routine I think that I feel like rituals are for fans, you know, you're sitting there watching a game or you're trying to you know, you know, yeah, when I played I didn't want to step on a line on the field like when I would be caught, you know, not you know, running into a one B one tackle or something, but if I was, you know, getting ready for a set piece I didn't want to actually step on the line it sounds silly, but like you know, we've had players that I've coached that put always put their left foot on you know, before the right foot shoe on you know, and as a coach actually, when I was Head Coach in New Hampshire, I used to take a shower before every every match. So like we do the pregame talk, guys would go out and then I would take a shower. It seems odd, but it seemed to be relaxing to me and kind of get my mind in because because my assistants were warming the team up so I would get my mind set. So yeah, I mean, I'm not a big rich Guy, there are routine that maybe we eat the same pregame meal every time to try to. But like I said, I think it's more of a routine to get your get, you know, guys listen to the same songs every time before a game, I think it's more of a mentally what a good way to get yourself set for, you know, performing at an optimal level. So I try to stay away from as many rituals and then try to come to more of a routine to get ready. So

Jess Gregory  10:27  

yeah, very cool. All right, let's kind of talk a little bit about recruiting. Do you have a recruiting story that you can share with us? Whether it be how you got recruited, or a player that you can remember them kind of going through the process and how that evolved?

Rob Thompson  10:43  

Yeah, I actually what comes to mind is, is is maybe a little bit different than some other coaches, because every process is different for everybody. And obviously, like the top recruits, you know, they're going to be you know, they're gonna get a lot of attention. I actually kid the play for me that we didn't recruit we decided not to recruit we you know played on not an elite club team and you know just kind of fell through the cracks ended up coming to to my school came up talk to us about trying out we just kind of said we don't have anything in the fall came out in the spring we'll get some extra roster spots because obviously people graduate or they don't play as their senior spring season. And, you know, kind of stuck with it did well on the spring, you know, handle himself in training just kind of felt like we don't have a spot for this kid. He's, he fits in but you know, and so we told them, hey, we're not gonna take him, you know, so he was disappointed. He said he might try out the next year we're thinking, you know, second year of college and probably you know, it's probably too late. Talk to us in the in the early in the fall, we had a couple injuries and we said, hey, let's bring this kid in for pre season so three days before preseason, had not planned to be there. So obviously he wasn't doing the workouts and all this thing called him came. He won our fitness test the first day. I walked in the office and said My system man pretty much keeping this campus on that, like if this kid worked out all summer wasn't planning to come onto our team, three days before preseason, we call them and say we'll give you a shot. And he beats every returning player and incoming freshmen that we recruited, we're going to keep them. And so you know, you stuck is a great kid, graduated from the school and came back for a fifth year didn't play a lot through his four years, came back for a fifth year ended up being on the all tournament team in our conference in that that year in the playoffs. So just a pretty good success story of a kid who persevered didn't have all the opportunity to play on the super elite club team chose the school for the right reasons and ended up making a division one soccer team ended up getting some scholarship money and ended up being having a you know, a pretty decent actual accolade. There be seniors fifth year. So, super kid, super leader. A lot of lot of positive leadership qualities that helped our program is a really good story. Really? Yeah,

Jess Gregory  13:05  

absolutely. It's very unique. That doesn't happen very often. But it's also kind of a nice story to hear that he, he wanted to keep trying. And even if he didn't make it on the program, he was just gonna stay fit and stay ready and still enjoy the game. And I think that's, that's pretty awesome. I like that story a lot.

Rob Thompson  13:21  

It helps all our top players because if this kid could give all that he had with no guarantee of even making a squad, and then you have players that like, are disappointed when they don't start or play every minute. This was a pretty humble experience and and ended up being a super success story where he ended up getting scholarship money and being on the all championship team that year. So really cool, really cool story.

Jess Gregory  13:48  

Yeah, absolutely. Um, now let's talk a little bit about maybe some tips that you might have for kids just to kind of in general on what they can do, to start that recruiting process in high school and Kind of get your guys's attention

Rob Thompson  14:03  

Yeah, yeah, well I think it's communication. I think there's there's a self awareness piece you know what what they what they want out of college. Like I said I've got three daughters they all play the game and I was a division three school it's a perfect fit for her when I was going to division one school it's a perfect fit I think for her. So I think being self aware, understanding what who you are, what you want out of the college, you know, process and out of the college, you know, game is important for you to go to a big school as most people hop close at home, what the academic fit is. So it's a self awareness on who you are, what you want and what your fit is. And I think that that can be difficult because you need to have an open mind. You need to be able to take criticism. I mean to be able to have some people that you can trust that say hey, I think this is a good fit for I don't think this school is a good fit for you. I'm so self awareness. I also think communication you got to really get out there and communicate with coaches be seen. There's obviously avenues to be seen in a lot of ways we've club teen your high school camps, you know, those are the primary you know, we look at video people last video, we looked at video. You know, I think that video doesn't rule you in but it can, it can give us an insight into Okay, we need to watch this kid play live. This is pretty good. So, you know, communication is important. And I think the communication you know, has to be honest, if you're sending something to 500 schools, we can probably tell. So research this school, if you have some, you know, people have told you it's a good fit and you feel like it's, it fits what you want out of college. Then I think emailing and staying in contact with the coaches and you know, sticking with it and you know, making sure that you know that we No, no, we had contacted by a lot of people that we know where you're gonna play what your number is, and make it easy on people. You don't want to make it hard. We don't want to go to work. And at week afterwards or two days afterwards, you contact us and say, Hey, I was at the tournament, how did you know? What did you think? And we chose to watch someone else because we didn't ever game times we can have your you know, you were chosen numbers. So just being you know, honest about the communication and making sure it's easy for us because you want to stand out and you want to make sure that you get seen. So, you know, if you get seen and we don't think you're a good fit, you can move on to the other schools. Right. So I think those things are are key.

Jess Gregory  16:45  

Yeah, absolutely. It sounds like one of the biggest tips and a lot of coaches talk about this is just being proactive. Not just sending one email and letting it go and thinking, you know, either you'll get something out of it or you won't, but you got to keep pushing and and send more than one community. And kind of let coaches know you're still interested throughout the process.

Rob Thompson  17:04  

Yeah, I'd say that there, we get a lot of emails and we're, I've been the same and I have worked in two big universities, division one programs, but I've also worked as a with my club. In New Hampshire, I was the recruiting coordinator for a while helping kids go to different schools and how to do it. I think that, you know, when you send an email, it's, it's not always you're gonna get email back. And right away, you know, you got to stick with it. You got to keep you know, I don't think you need to send an email every day. But if there's something that changes and you say, Hey, I'm still interested and I'm going to be the tournament, look through, I'm gonna play a league game in your area. I think those things are important, because they have to realize that, you know, we don't have a full time recruiter, we have full time coaches, and we're working with our own current student athletes, we're putting so much attention and, and working with them to develop them and graduate, you know, student athletes, that this recruiting is important, but we're not full time recruiters We're working with a guy. So, you know, staying with it being persistent, letting us know, hey, I'm gonna be in your area. I'm playing in this tournament here, here's my game schedule. And then, you know, the recruiting timetables different for everybody. Some guys come in early, some guys were coming in in, you know, mayhem their senior year, it just depends on so many factors that I think that there's no really one timetable that works. And I know that everybody wants to put that in, this is the most important time. You know, I mean, the most important time is now for anybody to be where to find out where they fit in to find out what they want, and to be seen. And, you know, regardless of what we're doing right now, with COVID-19 you still can get a video together, you can still communicate with coaches and tell them that you're interested in something about you. And that when you start playing again, you can then let us know.

Jess Gregory  18:51  

Yeah, absolutely. That kind of answered. One of the questions I had too was like what is the process like starting from contact to being recruited, which is going to be different for everyone, as you mentioned, but can you kind of touch a little bit on on how that that process and the timeline kind of fits into relationship building with you guys?

Rob Thompson  19:13  

Yeah, I mean, it's different for every kid obviously, it's different. Like, you know, we have, you know, basically a cold call an email from someone saying, Hey, I'm sure your program of researchers, your school, it's a good fit. And you know, this is a major they have, we don't know anything about that person, we have to see him play, we have to have some sort of, you know, start relationship and, you know, part of it is getting on, you know, getting onto campus and you know, the more that you know, a student athlete knows about the school is helpful. You know, if you're, if you're, if you are sending us something and you're academically not a good fit, you wasted everyone's time. If you it doesn't even have your major the church and things like that or if you if you don't even know what what conference they play in what the level is. I think that stuff is I think doing your homework. Making sure that you understand that this is an important decision. You wouldn't go buy a car, buy a house without understanding that, like just show up and say, Well, I don't know if I want a four bedroom house with a two car garage, never thought about it, or I'm not sure I would I would have a car with with a pickup truck or a van. Those are different things. And I think that, you know, that's that's one thing, understanding what what, you know, who you're emailing and what they stand for, and kind of what their programs about their schools about. And then I think that, you know, any way you can get on campus, whether it's going to an ID camp at the campus, getting in front of coaches in another ID camp, you know, you know, sometimes visits work, and I know at our place, we don't do a lot of visits unless we set the visit up. But I always told people in my presentations with our club, that there's so many times that you'd go to a camp or a game your team and an area You know, circle the that area and see what schools are there drive by you're already there. You're not talking about taking a trip that's going to cost you money and time and do a college visits you're talking about you're already there for league game, you're already there for a tournament, you're already there for a camp, take a look at some of the schools, whether you're interested or not. That gives you a feat, some sort of feeling of, Hey, this is actually a pretty good school or this is a small school that I don't feel, you know, is the right fit for me. And so many people decide about schools without ever looking at schools, as you know, freshmen, sophomore juniors, just kind of looking around, you don't need the coach to talk to just drive around the campus, take a look at different schools and get a feeling of where you might fit in. I think that some of that can be done while you're already in that area for something else. Right. So that was one of the things I always tried to tell parents and kids like when you go into a tournament somewhere you go to a camp, look around at some different schools in that area. It's easy, and you know, that gives you kind of a feel of what you may want? Mm hmm.

Jess Gregory  22:01  

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It's always good to kind of let let players know that they should find that right fit but also that you're you're building relationship with the coach with the school with the players before you even make that decision. And you kind of mentioned earlier too, that kids need to be have that self awareness and kind of be realistic. So I kind of want to move on to being realistic with scholarships and get your take on this. What is kind of a realistic outlook for players when it comes to full and partial athletic scholarships? Is this something that just gets thrown out willy nilly? or How can you kind of describe that to them to be realistic on it?

Rob Thompson  22:40  

Well, I would say that it's certainly for Super elite talent, you know, which is the less than 1% they're gonna have some options in terms of money. For everybody else, you know, you got to work at it. You got to look at all the options athletic scholarship. academic scholarship, financial aid. Some schools can pack into that other schools have hard time packaging those things. Certainly Division Three, I've got a daughter that's in Division Three school that gets a lot of money that she doesn't have to pay back based on financial aid and academic scholarship that are better for her then division one opportunities on no scholarship money. So it was a better fit for my middle daughter is a division one school that packages both athletic, academic and financial aid, and is pretty much at a no cost situation. So I think that you know, you got to be creative, and you got to be honest. And I think you should look at schools that fit what you're going to what you could pay what if you want to go to a school and you can't get scholarship money, we should all go there. I think if you're contacting schools, just because you think you're gonna get some big scholarship money, I think you'd be disappointed more often than not, so there's certainly opportunity, use for money both in all in all of those areas and at the end of the day, if you're at a school that you love, that you can play soccer, that you can, you know, your your degree is going to be valuable, you're going to learn you're going to grow. And it's a cost efficient, you know, situation that doesn't matter where the money comes from. It doesn't matter where it comes from. So, you know, there is a chance to make, you know, get scholarship Once you're at a school. But typically, you know, both both of the division one schools that I've been at, you know, if you came in, you could get more money, but it wasn't going to be a situation where you came in or no money and suddenly on a full machine, you're here in soccer, it's you know, you can increase your money or you can go from no money to some money, but that's pretty much what it's going to be it's in small increments, it's, you know, follow suit and the regular job, you don't really come in for $8 an hour and then all of a sudden you're making 25 because you're good, you might make $9 an hour and I think that that's that's realistic. So There's, there's money out there. I don't think that's the first thing that you should look at. I think it's the fit and you know, where do you fit academically and socially and, and then obviously the cost is, is is important, but where you get that money and from what source I don't think particularly matters as long as it's, you know, good good value for what you're what you want, right and you know, we only have 9.9 scholarships in Division One low and there's in you know, we carry between 26 and 30 guys, so that's if everybody was on a full ride that we could give we'd have less than a third of our people would be on money and the other two thirds would be on not so you know, there's going to be some partial scholarships, there's going to be some full ride scholarships there's gonna be some non scholarship players and that's just the way it is. So I think that you got to be creative and you got to make again the right fit. You know, if your sometimes your parents can pay to go wherever you want to go to school, great, but for most kids, they got to find a viable option that makes sense.

Jess Gregory  26:00  

Yeah, yeah, it's definitely good to kind of let players know that there's not just unlimited full scholarships, because I know that seems to be a misconception. You know, they maybe they're looking at football players or basketball players, and they're thinking that all of them are getting, you know, all this money, um, but it's always good to find the right fit and go to a school that you want to go to, because you're going to get a degree because that should be your end goal. Not how much money you're going to get to play playing should be a bonus, I kind of feel like and now you also mentioned too, that academic scholarship can be added on to some places also. And that's something that players can look into without even having to worry about the athletic side. Correct. They can talk with admissions, things like that.

Rob Thompson  26:43  

Mostly that's just covered on, you know, websites. And you know, I'm surprised how many people don't, they're super on their phone on Snapchat. They can pull up a tick tock video, but they can't Google like you know, how to apply to schools with with SAP optional or Who gives the best financial aid and, you know, there's, there's tons of websites that look at those schools and do some comparisons and take a look. And, you know, I think once it gets down to it, if you're, if caught, if you're in front of college coaches, and they like you, they're gonna look at those options. They're gonna, they're gonna want to know what your financial situation is, they're going to want to know, you know, can you qualify for academic aid, but for the student athlete, they can do some research beforehand and find out, hey, this is a good fit, I can get academic money here, or financial aid is, is there's financial aid predictors, there's thinking go online, plug your stuff in and see what your EFC is, and then kind of look and see where you're, where you're, where you're looking. So that when it gets down to it, if you're in front of those coaches, they're gonna, they're gonna, you know, work on those things with you. But beforehand, certainly you can do some research and kind of find out sit down with the parents to what are they willing to pay for school? What's a realistic number here? Um, I think that, that that's obviously See, the more you know going into it, the better it is.

Jess Gregory  28:02  

Yeah, absolutely. Now speaking of staying realistic, what and every coach I know is going to be different than what they prefer. But how early is too early to kind of start talking money when you're in the recruiting process?

Rob Thompson  28:16  

I think for like, you know, at both places that I've been in the division one ranks as a head coach, and I was like a director ops and performance analyst. You know, it's it comes down to like, when we're ready to, if you haven't been on campus, we're not talking money. We don't even know you. Like, I think it's a relation thing. Relationship thing. And I think that, you know, most of the time you're talking money if you've had a visit, if you haven't had a visit on campus and sat down with coaches met, the players stayed overnight. It hasn't gotten to a serious space, you know, there's times that we talk money was somebody that you know, is far away and, you know, we kind of say hey, can we is it worth flying this person? And in for a visit, where are they? What's their timetable? And I think that's the thing the timetable could be ours. And it also has to do with the player, the timetable, you know, they might not match, you know, somebody might be trying to make a decision by a certain date that we're just not ready to make a move on that person. And I kind of feel like it's a little bit like dating, like, you might like someone they might kind of like you but they're not ready to you ask them to the prom, you know, the first day of school, they're not ready to commit to that. I think it's just a natural process. I think that in general, your junior year is this is a critical year you know, it's it's kind of it's not too early, it's not too late. It's kind of the right you know, soft we look, you know, sophomores people track sophomores, at least on the dry side. I think on the women's side it was earlier but my daughter committed as a junior spring spring semester. So yeah, there were people that wanted to recommit earlier and I just didn't said I'm not going to do that. You know, you're just gonna have a chance to see schools and make the right choice. So, and we have guys that have committed as seniors and, you know, in, to be honest, a second semester, it's just, it's so different. I think what's not too early is getting on campus at a camp or getting in front of college coaches and IB cams and kind of getting a feel for how it is. You can be a ninth grader, an eighth grader and go to some sort of ID situation playing with other players and in front of college coaches, and that's going to be helpful to you. It doesn't mean you're going to get an offer, it just means that you're going to be more realistic, like if you're going to interfere with your job, and this is your dream job. I'd like to have a few interviews under my belt so that I'm ready for this interview. If you think of it like that players that expose themselves to different

companies competitive identification camps and clinics and College ID camps do help that they're

they're not as nervous. They've been there before they've done something they've been in front of college coaches with them watching, they understand that, that everything counts that how they warm up what they do, how polite they are, how they treat other other, the referee in the match the other the other competitors, that stuff matters. And that's relation relational. So I feel like it's never too early to expose yourself to like what it's about.

Unknown Speaker  31:25  


Rob Thompson  31:27  

typically, we're not really getting serious until your junior year. And sometimes the spring of your junior year we really feel like you know, this is this we know this kid we and it's also has to be close enough to your college season.

Yeah, you're a ninth grader when I was an eighth grader was this tiny

guy? Like, it's not what I was as a college freshman and I think that the closer you get, obviously we can't wait till June of your senior year. But the closer you get to that I feel like the junior year is really about Critical year. So as a sophomore and freshman, you really kind of just testing the waters getting in getting out of your comfort zone. And being more comfortable in these situations is helpful.

Jess Gregory  32:11  

Yeah, absolutely. It definitely sounds like trying to build those relationships, knowing what you want out of it, and not trying to push too early. You know, in your first email being like, hey, how much money do you have for me?

Rob Thompson  32:24  

Yeah, that's probably gonna be Yeah, that's probably gonna be a turn off. That would be like, your first time you talked to somebody dating and you said, Hey, what are you what Where do you want to go for our honeymoon? After we're married? We'll be like, wait, it's the same thing. You're building relationship. You're trying to find the right fit. Both both the student athlete and their parents are trying to find out who these coaches are and what their schools about programs about. And we're also trying to find out who you are, where did you come from whether you're a good fit. So the other thing is you can have a great relationship and you just might not be good enough or you might not be good enough to get into the school and or it might not be costing effective. So, you know, you're gonna have to be okay. With no, this isn't gonna work out. And so, um, you know, I think that that's part of it too. You're not picking one school and very few people look at one school and the one school looks at them. It's a done deal. There's gonna be some, this isn't gonna work out. And I have to, you know, have an open mind about what I want where I want to go.

Jess Gregory  33:28  

Yeah, absolutely, definitely being realistic. I think that was probably the theme of our chat today is just kind of being realistic about the process. So. But Rob, I really appreciate you sitting down and chatting with me today. I don't want to keep you too much longer. I know I've had you for a while already. But I do appreciate you helping me out and answering some questions for these guys. And you know, it's always good to see see a friendly face when we're all kind of stuck at home. So

Rob Thompson  33:53  

yeah, sounds good. Stay safe, stay healthy. And we'll all get through this and pretty soon we'll be outside and we'll be doing Please do we love.

Jess Gregory  34:01  

Yeah, absolutely. I can't wait. All right, we'll see you next time.

Unknown Speaker  34:06  

All right, thanks.

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