When you as a recruited student athlete (or parent of a recruited student athlete), get the opportunity to meet with the head coach, assistant coach, or players from one of the colleges or universities on your list of schools, you have a great opportunity to gather information. Yet one of the things that never ceases to amaze me when I meet with recruits and their families is the lack of questions that they ask. Sometimes they won’t ask any. You are wasting a great opportunity!
So in order to help you get started, here are some questions that you can ask.
For Head Coaches/Assistant Coaches
- How long have you been coaching collegiate soccer?
- How long have you been at the school? How long do you intend to stay at the school? Is this position a stepping stone for another coaching job?
- Are you full time or part time?
- Do you have cuts?
- How many players make the team?
- How much playing time do freshmen get?
- Can you describe what you do in the preseason?
- What is your coaching style?
- What is your coaching philosophy?
- How do you select your team captains?
- Do you coach other teams besides this one?
- What times are practices? Do you have spring practices?
- What do players do in the off-season? Over the summer?
- What are your goals for the team for next year? In four years?
- Are you planning any trips? Domestically or abroad?
- Is the team involved in any fundraising activities?
- Is the team involved in any community service projects?
- What are the team rules?
- Do you allow/encourage players to play other sports besides soccer?
- Why did you choose this school?
- What do you enjoy most about this school?
- What do you enjoy most about playing soccer at this school?
- What is your major? Why did you choose that?
- Did you switch majors? If so, why?
- How is the team chemistry/team dynamics?
- How would you describe the head coach’s style?
- How would you describe the assistant coach’s style?
- How is your relationship with the coaching staff?
- What do you do for fun on the weekends?
- How is the food in the cafeteria?
- Do you live on campus or off campus?
- If off campus, why do you live off campus?
These are just some of the many, many things that you can ask players and coaches about on your visit. And as you read these I am sure that you are now thinking of others. Write them down. Take them with you in a notebook. Be prepared!
Now don’t get me wrong, you might not hear some of the answers that you hope for. Such as— “Preseason is really rough; two players dropped out” or “The food in the cafeteria is mediocre and Fridays are the worst”. But better to know that stuff ahead of time rather than after the fact. The other important thing is how the players and coaches answer those questions when you ask them. Do you feel that they are giving you an HONEST answer? Or are they avoiding the question? If you feel like you can’t trust them now, what will it be like when you are a part of the team?
One of the things that I stress to my players when they talk to recruits is to be honest when talking to recruits and their families. They tell them preseason is tough and cafeteria food is not always the best. To me the most important thing is to establish open and honest lines of communication right from the get go. This will help you in your decision making process. Furthermore you will be able to build on the relationship that you have already established with the coaches and players once you arrive there for your first semester in college. The bottom line is ask lots of questions!