Author: Kevin Sherry
Louisiana Tech University, Head Women’s Soccer Coach
US Soccer Federation “A” Level Coaching License
If playing college soccer is a serious goal of yours then college ID camps is one of the best recruiting tools for you. If you ask any College coaches they will say they would want to be able to actually see any potential recruit play live rather than make decisions on a recruit purely from video highlights only. Recruiting via video is a gamble for College coaches because they're only seeing the highlights, they do not get to see the mistakes and they are only seeing their best plays. Video highlights do not give the chance to evaluate the ‘personality’ of the recruit, their true athleticism, work ethic etc. ID College soccer camps gives the coach ample opportunities to fully evaluate prospective players.
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A large number of high school soccer players that get recruited to colleges have been recruited due to their attendance at various soccer ID camps. There are a lot of ID camps to choose from. How do you pick which camp will be best for you? Here is a description of the various types of ID Camps and some tips to help you decide which camps will be best for you.
1. Half day and 1-day Camps:
Each Day/Half Day Camps are held on a campus of a College and usually focus on skill
development with a lot of scrimmaging to provide the College coach ample opportunity to evaluate the players in a game setting. Campers will sometimes, but not always, learn new soccer skills and techniques through various exercises and games that the College players at that particular College use. The emphasis is usually on having fun and giving the recruits the chance to show what they have to offer through various games. With half day and 1-day camps time is short and College coaches want to maximize their time to be able to see all the players in a playing environment. As a player, do not waste the limited time available. Give 100% effort from the first minute to the last minute of the camp. You do not have to save energy for another day so show the coach your best for the whole time. Work ethic is a very important factor which College coaches look for in potential recruits. Recruits attending any Half day or
1- day camps should have the pedal on the metal for the entire camp.
2: Weeklong residential Camps:
2a. Solo, College-Focused Camps which are held on the campus of the actual College whilst staying in the College residence dorms. This type of ID Camp is great for seeing the school in depth, meeting the entire coaching staff, playing on the school's fields and using their facilities. This is the perfect option IF you have a focused interest in that college as being your number 1 choice. More and more College coaches are relying on their own ID camps as a main recruiting tool. A coach will see a potential recruit at a tournament or showcase, and immediately follow up with a request that the player attend their upcoming ID camp. The College Coach wants to evaluate the whole player, including character and personality, and the best way to do this is to spend a generous amount of time with that recruit. A weeklong camp is the perfect opportunity to get to know the player, and of course for the player to get to know the coach. Over time the
true ‘self’ emerges and this is becoming more and more important in recruiting because College coaches are being held more and more accountable for retention, academic performance, and they do not want to bring in a player who may help the team on the field but destroy it off the field.
The coach will want to see how a player responds to their coaching style and to see if they can handle the drills they use with their College players. Usually current players work at the camp and they mix with the recruits. The college player will then provide reports back to the coach about the recruits’ personalities and behavior on and off the soccer field. When you visit a weeklong ID camp show and give of your best everyday with everyone you come in contact with.
2b. Multi-College ID Camp such as EXACT camps. Numerous College coaches from all levels and divisions of College soccer are invited to attend such camps. These camps are great for meeting lots of coaches from different colleges and have your level of play evaluated by numerous College coaches who have different philosophies and needs with regards to recruiting. The camps are organized in such a way that it provides a scenario where each player is watched by every college coach multiple times. College coaches are there to provide training sessions to help the players learn new skills and gives the player a chance to try the same drills the coach uses with their own college teams. Mutli-College ID Camps ensure maximum exposure to College coaches and provides the player a great opportunity to interact with all the College coaches. By spending a significant amount of time together the player and the College coach
will get a fuller and more detailed picture of each other which is very important when making a decision which player to recruit or a recruit choosing a College.
Another positive aspect of these types of camps is that they provide College recruiting
educational seminars. This can be a great educational tool which helps the recruit and their parents gain an insight into how recruiting works from the College coach perspective. College coaches providing valuable information and giving tips helps maximize the recruiting process for the player.
When attending such camps, it is not a time to be shy. Force yourself to approach as many college coaches as possible because that human contact always plays an important role in recruitment. Put yourself out there to give you the best chance of being recruited. Recently there has been the emergence of a new phrase in NCAA college sports: the NCAA transfer portal. No, it has nothing to do with Star Wars, it is a method to help student-athletes with transferring to another school. Student-athletes now have the ability to transfer to a different school and receive a scholarship without asking their current school for permission. This new system allows a student to inform his or her current school of a desire to transfer, then requires that school to enter the student’s name into a national transfer database within two business days.
Once the student-athlete’s name is in the database, other coaches are free
to contact that individual. Around 1,000 female soccer players and 1,300 male soccer players are on this transfer portal and more and more College coaches are turning to this portal to fulfill their recruiting needs, turning away from traditional high school and club recruiting. A college coach is more likely to recruit an older, more experienced college player than a player finishing high school because of the physical, technical, maturity, athletic differences. The emergence of this NCAA transfer portal now makes the recruiting process more competitive for high school student-athletes. It is becoming essential the high school player maximizes their opportunities for recruitment and ID camps are the best way to give the best chance of being
recruited. Which type of ID camp is best is determined by the needs and circumstance of the player looking to be recruited. One shoe doesn’t fit all.