Building a good relationship with an NCAA Division III college coach is crucial to having a successful recruiting experience at the NCAA Division III level especially when it comes to making that final decision on which school you will be attending. However, when a student-athlete is making their choice for college, how and when will they know if a coach has a genuine interest in them for their team?
Recently, the D3 Recruiting Hub received this specific question from one of our readers. “How and when will I know if they want me to play for their team ? Do I apply to the college first, or wait for the coach to invite me to the team and then apply?”
Most NCAA Division III coaches will be pretty obvious about their interest in you as a player and student-athlete. They will say things like “We’d really like to have you on our team next year” or “We really want you to come to our school next year” or “We really think that you will be successful here.”
This may be communicated by email or phone or in person— the truth of the matter is that most coaches will overtly state that they are interested in you. They should make it pretty obvious. Where the situation can get a little sticky is when a coach starts making promises to the student-athlete. “You will be starting midfielder in 2013!” or “You will be the #2 goalkeeper in 2013 and the starter in 2014.”
Be careful when you hear those types of comments and take them with a big grain of salt. The reality of the situation is this— another midfielder may come along that is better than you in 2013—who is going to be the starter? You may be the #2 goalkeeper in 2013 but then Hope Solo Jr shows up on campus in 2014—who is going to be the starter? D3 coaches don’t have a financial interest in student-athletes like their D1 and D2 counterparts, so if a better player comes along there isn’t any hesitancy to play them.
As far as timing goes, coaches will tell you of their interest as soon as they come to the conclusion that you are good enough for their team. This could be during your senior year, junior year or even freshman or sophomore year. This depends on how good of a player you are. Apply to those schools that meet your needs academically, financially, demographically, etc. Figure out the soccer piece second.
The bottom line, however, is this— Playing soccer at D3 is a privilege and you should treat it as such. Pick a school because you like the school and the campus and academic programs and not solely based on the soccer program. Any student-athlete is one play away from being injured and not being able to play—if you can’t play soccer, will you still be happy at the school? What will you do if you get cut from the team? Are you going to be happy at the school? Always keep the academics first and the soccer second when making your decision.
Thanks for reading!
Questions? Comments? Drop us a line at email@example.com.