It is time to start planning for the summer and at this time of year, most high school soccer players will be receiving invites to soccer camps at various colleges and universities. Which camp should you attend? What is the value in attending? Will it hurt me if I don’t attend? We will look at those questions from a D3 perspective in this week’s post.
To start, let’s understand about camps from the college coach’s perspective. First, coaches use these camps to make money for themselves and/or their programs. Soccer is not a big money sport (like NCAA Division I football or basketball with big TV contracts and highly paid head coaches) and most college soccer coaches (especially at D3) do not get paid a lot of money. To supplement their income, coaches run camps. Second, these camps are used as recruiting tools for coaches. So it is an opportunity for the player.
Which camp should you attend?
When looking at soccer camps, you want to go to camps where the coaches of the colleges you are interested in attending will be working. So if you are interested in D3 State University, you should look into attending the soccer camp at D3 State University. If they don’t host a camp, contact the coach at D3 State University and ask him/her what camps he/she will be working over the summer and go to those.
Cost for camps can also affect which camp you should attend. Camps can range from one day affairs to week long overnight adventures. Costs can range from less than one hundred dollars up to several hundred dollars. If you have to travel far to get to the camp, then throw in travel expenses as well. Go to the ones that make financial sense.
What is the value in attending?
Camps are great recruiting tools for college coaches. The coach gets to see you as a player up close and for extended periods of time, so they can really evaluate your abilities as a player. They get to actually coach you. They also have the opportunity to speak with you one-on-one to learn about your personality as well.
For the player, you get to play in front of one or more college coaches with other players looking to play college soccer; some may be looking to attend the same school. Most of the time you will get to be coached by the college coaches, so you get to experience what they are like as coaches and how they treat their players. Many times coaches will have some of the existing college team members work at the camp, so you can get to know those players and if you have a good chemistry with them. Also, as above, you will have the opportunity to speak with the coach one-on-one to learn about them and if you think their school is a good match for you.
One of the big benefits is for the player that does not play club soccer. If you play soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and softball/lacrosse in the spring, going to a camp is a good way to get exposure for yourself to D3 coaches. Many D3 coaches do their recruiting at club tournaments and college showcases, so the players that only play high school soccer often get overlooked or under-recruited. By going to camps where there will be coaches from the D3 schools that interest you, it gives you a chance to get on their recruiting radar.
Will it hurt me if I don’t attend?
If a coach is already recruiting you, then not attending a camp should not affect your recruiting status. If a coach is already recruiting you and you attend a camp and perform poorly however, it may adversely affect your status. The coach may change his/her mind about you as a player and take you off their radar.
Generally speaking though, not going to a camp should not affect your recruiting status. Coaches do most of their recruiting while at games (club and high school) and camps are only one other tool that they have available. In fact, many colleges do not even have camps.
The bottom line is this— college camps are used as recruiting tools by college coaches, but they do serve more than one purpose. If you do decide to attend a camp, be selective in the ones you choose. Choose the ones that fit with your goals for the future and make sure you are choosing the camp for the right reasons.
Thanks for reading!
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