When Do College Coaches Recruit?

College coaches normally spend their off-season actively recruiting young athletes for their college sports programs. More often than not, college coaches have had their eyes on an aspiring college athlete for a few years before officially recruiting them. 

This is why it's wise to attend multiple showcases and college ID Camps to gain as much experience, recruiting knowledge, and exposure to college coaches. EXACT has worked with hundreds of D1, D2, and D3 college coaches from around the United States and we’ve learned the top ten characteristics that college coaches look for in recruits. 

  • How can I improve my chances of getting recruited?
  • Do I have the traits that college coaches look for?
  • What are some things that I need to work on in order to be college recruit ready?

Rest assured; we'll be answering these questions with in-depth knowledge on the top athlete attributes college coaches look for.

How College Coaches Recruit Athletes

It might interest you to know that the collegiate sports recruitment process is first initiated by the student player, not the target college. The recruiting process of colleges is pretty much straightforward and often consists of five simple steps.

Step 1: Coach compiles a list of prospective athletes.

Step 2: Coach distributes ID camp invitations, athlete questionnaires, and recruiting letters to student-athletes.

Step 3: Coach conducts athlete evaluations.

Step 4: Coach confirms verbal offers, commitments, and/or scholarships.

Step 5: Coach officially recruits athletes.

And that's it. But the player has a major role to play in determining whether or not they make it to the signing stage in the recruitment process. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the do's and don'ts of college recruiting.

Top 10 Player Attributes College Coaches Look For

Player Ambition

Coaches want an athlete who deeply desires to be a champion.  In fact, college coaches favor player who ask questions about the future of the program; this curiosity shows an ambitious player. Being a college athlete is the dream, but college coaches want an athlete who has the desire to make a difference for their program. Keep a strong commitment to a mental skills program that sustains your ambitious drive.

Sports Knowledge

Having a well-rounded sports IQ where you actively demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the game goes a long way in the recruiting process. This is a big piece in the mental aspects of the game which coaches consider a  next level development in young athletes.  Establishing a reputation for being a smart athlete is something college coaches want and prefer that recruits have as a first-year student-athlete.

Competitive Nature

A top self-driver of college coaches' is not to win games but to keep their position as coach on a team of competitive players. Having highly competitive college athletes is always at the forefront of any coach’s mind when offering a position on their program to high school prospects.  Athletes can demonstrate this competitive edge by going through pre-game drills with great focus and intensity and by encouraging other players to do their best throughout the game, regardless if the outcome is a win or lose.

Athletic Hustle

Whether it’s practice, in the game, or during the off-season, hustle influences game play and the mentality of opponents more than any other aspect of athletics.  If you’re a good hustler, you can have a tremendous impact on a college program.  Consistency is key, especially when demonstrating this on a high school and club sports level.  

Great Work Ethic

College coaches want athletes who have an effective work ethic.  Documenting your workouts, practices, and game play with key details of what you accomplished is a great way to showcase your work ethic. Confidently discussing your positive academic habits is another way to impress college coaches with your work ethic capabilities.  Securing written letters of recommendation from your high school coaches, club coaches, teachers and notable community leaders will also impress college coaches.

Strong Sense Of Maturity

The capability of making mature decisions when away from your coach and team is a key athlete attribute desired for a college recruit. Bad decisions and/or poor judgment calls in high school can be life-changing moments.College coaches want mature student-athletes on their roster because they know they can be trusted at all times. Time management is another sign of maturity in a student athlete. That is a skill mature student-athletes seem to obtain easier than those students who lack maturity.


To be an effective college recruit, you must be truthful with yourself, the prospective college coach and team.  One of the most complimentary things any teammate, coach or parent can say about a prospect is that he/she is an honest individual. College coaches don’t necessarily want to associate themselves with players who continuously lie to them and fellow teammates. If you can’t be trusted, then it will make your college recruiting experience very difficult.

Good Character

You must consistently demonstrate that you can be a positive representation of the college program as a first year student-athlete.  While you’re In high school, try joining clubs that strike your interest, participate in community volunteer projects, or pick up a  part-time job. These are key ways to exhibit good character to college coaches during the recruiting process. 

Academic Performance

Top college recruits must prove that they can thrive in an academic setting. It’s important to note that the NCAA no longer allows high school student-athletes to become eligible as college freshmen.  In DI, and soon in DII, you must pass at least sixteen core courses in high school to academically qualify to play sports as an incoming freshman in college.  

Then by the end of your second year of college, you must complete at least 40% of the coursework necessary toward your degree. Followed by 60% at the completion of your third year and 80% by the end of your fourth year. It’s important to develop strong time management skills during these times and demonstrate a good consistent work ethic.

If you aren’t prepared for the academic focus required by the NCAA, in high school or college, you will not fare well in the college-athlete environment. It's best to try and master the art of balancing athletics and academics in order to be a successful college athlete.

Diverse Athleticism

When a college coach starts evaluating prospective recruits, athletic ability is often the first thing they look at.. This includes key aspects of the sports like strength, power, endurance and speed. Agility, stamina, balance or flexibility are also factored into how college coaches rank potential college recruits. As coaches assess possible recruits, they ask themselves if the athlete can make their team and program better and if their skills are at the same level or above the players they already have.   

How To Get Access To College Coaches

Invite the Coach to Come and See You in Action

When reaching out to college coaches through your email outreach, give a strong call to action and let the coach know your upcoming schedule and where they can watch you play first-hand. This could be at one of your games, tournaments, showcases, or a college ID camps.

You may also include a link to a video of yourself in action in a match. This should preferably be a snippet from a game, say 10-15 seconds, as most coaches don't have the time to watch an entire game.

Why Choose EXACT College ID Camps?

EXACT’s College Network

When it comes to choosing a college ID camp, you want to make sure that you’re choosing a camp that offers you access to a large network of NCAA coaches. EXACT does exactly that, opening you to a large pool of experienced college coaches from across hundreds of colleges.

One-on-One College Evaluations

How do you improve without feedback? At EXACT ID camps, all our coaches are professionals who understand that each player is distinct and uniquely gifted. As such, we give individual feedback that prepares you for the next level.

Personal Connections

At EXACT ID camps, you get to meet and greet college coaches, giving you an opportunity to build your college connections ahead of your arrival in college.

Specific Training for Goalkeepers

We understand that the role of the goalkeeper in soccer is crucial and distinct. So, we offer position-specific training to goalkeepers. You also put all you’ve learned into action and receive helpful feedback during college-style training and games.

Mental Performance                                                                     

Beyond the foundational training that every college ID camp offers, EXACT teaches you how to deal with adversity, stay focused, and remain confident and composed despite opposition during competitions.

College Training Sessions

At EXACT, our training sessions simulate college practice sessions and games. They are also handled by experienced college coaches. That way, you’re best prepared for college sports and are sure to settle in seamlessly when accepted into college.

Compete With The Best

You get a chance to meet and compete with the best players in the USA and around the globe. Without a doubt, this improves your sports skills as well as social interactions, making you even more attractive to colleges.

Kickstart Recruiting

At EXACT, we understand that you’re in a college ID camp because you someday want to be on a college team. So, we bring in college coaches who have handled collegiate sports recruitment time and time again. These coaches give you an insight into how college recruitment really works in person at the EXACT college ID camp. With insider information at your fingertips, you stand a better chance of being recruited to the right college for you.

College ID camps impact your sports career one way or the other. This is why at EXACT, we do our best to offer the best of both worlds—ensuring we have a rich network of coaches from various colleges and teams while ensuring that every student player gets as much feedback and training as is needed for growth.

Bottom Line

EXACT college ID camps check all the boxes, offering you comfortable living conditions, maximum exposure, and one-on-one evaluations in optimal camper-centric matches. You can rest assured that you’ll learn and enjoy every step of the experience.

Are you ready to begin your career and be trained by exceptional college coaches? Request an invitation to the top-rated college id camp in the country today!

Get Your Free College Recruiting Guide Now