At this time of year when soccer recruiting and tourneys are a little bit fewer and farther between (except in those warmer climates like Florida, Arizona and Nevada), it is good for student-athletes to take a moment to think about what they are doing to get noticed by D3 coaches. If you don’t have a plan in place, you should start thinking about one.
As we discussed in our survey of D3 coaches earlier in the year (see “Survey Results”), most D3 schools have limited resources for recruiting. The head coach is the person overseeing the process and doing most of the recruiting with some help from assistant coaches and athletic department staff.
So what are you doing to get yourself noticed and recruited by D3 coaches? The first part of your plan should be to identify which D3 schools are of interest to you. They should have a major program (or programs) that you are of interest to you and you must research to see if you have a good enough academic record (i.e. class rank, board scores, GPA, AP classes, etc.,) to get into the school.
Once you have made this list, you need to figure out how to plan on getting yourself in front of D3 college coaches. If all the D3 colleges are in your immediate area, then it is probably not too difficult. You can invite the coaches to any of your high school games or club games to see you play. If your club team is participating in any local tournaments, invite the coaches to those too. All of these can be done by email, just be sure to follow the guidelines we set out in “How to Write a Good Email to a College Coach.”
If you are in California and your D3 school is in Massachusetts, it may be a little harder for the D3 coach to get out to see you in person. In this instance, a video is a good idea. You can either post it to YouTube or have it burned to a DVD. Both work fine and it is easy to send out link to a YouTube video as well as update it. You cannot do this with a DVD. For more info on videos, see “Do I Need A Video?” If you have any events where you are playing that will bring you geographically closer to that coach or will be attending an event that the coach has attended before and is outside of their local territory, be sure to let that coach know your schedule.
As part of your plan, you also need to keep up a certain frequency of communication with the schools that you are interested in attending. You can start with an introductory email asking a D3 coach to come see you play. If you are inviting them to your high school games, be sure to include the season schedule. If it is for a club season or tournament, be sure to include times and field locations.
Make sure that you follow up too. Contact the coach to see if they got to see you play and if so, what did they think. Can they see you as a part of their team? Does the coach have interest in you for their team? When your next event or tournament comes around, be sure to email the coach again. If a student-athlete sends me one email and then I never hear from them again, my assumption is that they lost interest in my school.
The bottom line is this—just because you are a good player does not mean that you will be a highly recruited D3 player. The players that get recruited the most tend to be those players that have a solid plan and seek to engage D3 coaches. Those that are waiting for D3 coaches to find them are likely to be waiting for quite a while.
Any recruiting questions, please direct them to email@example.com.
A safe and Happy New Year to all!