It is the time of year again when high school recruits are visiting prospective schools to decide where they want to go for the next four years. When you get on campus, NCAA Division III college soccer coaches will tend to ask you lots of questions; they want to get to know who you are. Different coaches will have different questions, but in a lot of ways, the student athlete can look at this meeting like a job interview. The coach (aka the hiring manager) is interviewing the player (the potential hire) for a position on the soccer team (the specific workgroup) at a specific institution (hiring company).
You can expect the general question of “Tell me about yourself?” like you receive at most job interviews. However, coaches will also ask many more specific questions related to not only your soccer talents, but also your academics, and personality. Again like a job interview these questions are to measure whether you have not only the talent to play for the team (i.e. do the “soccer” part of the job), but also the commitment to do the academic part of the job. (Remember at D3 schools, academics takes precedence over athletics- a college coach does NOT want to have to worry about your GPA.) Personality wise you have to be able to fit in with the existing team (i.e. employees, workers, staff, etc.) and keep good team chemistry going. From an institutional view, you also need to be a good fit for the school in terms of your goals and ambitions.
Here are some questions that you may encounter related to those areas:
- What position do you plan on trying out for in college?
- What positions have you played in high school/club soccer?
- What formation did you play in high school or for your club?
- How much do you play for your high school/club team?
- What other sports do you play?
- Are you going to pursue any other sports in college?
- What are your strengths/weaknesses as a player?
- What are your strengths/weaknesses as a student?
- How would you describe yourself as a player?
- How would you describe yourself as a person (off the field)?
- Do you play other sports besides soccer?
- Do you plan on playing any other sports in college?
- How do you balance competing with your teammates for a spot on the team with living with them off the field?
- How do you resolve conflicts among your team?
- How do you get along with your teammates?
- What was your best/worst soccer moment/experience?
- How do you prepare yourself for competitions?
- What do you like to do besides play soccer?
- How do you respond to adversity?
- What do you plan on studying in college?
- How do you manage your time between academics and soccer during the season?
- What are the important things that you are looking for from a college?
- What do you like about our school?
- What do you dislike about our school?
- What other schools are you applying to?
Keep in mind there are no RIGHT answers to these questions. The answer a student athlete gives is right for them, but it may or may not be the answer the coach that they are talking to wants to hear. In addition, most coaches will want you to give them references—either a high school or club soccer coach who has coached you recently and knows your strengths and weaknesses–and don’t be surprised when they call them, coaches will try to get as much information about a player as they can.
One of the other questions that I frequently ask is this—Why do you play soccer? I really expect student athletes to come up with a good answer for this question because this is very important to our program. Our program wants players that are passionate about succeeding, contributing to a team, being competitive and love playing the game.
The bottom line is this— You as a student athlete need to know yourself and prepare yourself when meeting with coaches to make a good impression. Practice answering these questions with a friend or family member so you can hear what it sounds like when you answer them. Stumbling over answers does not leave a good impression. Good luck when interviewing!
Questions? Comments? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to take our World Cup survey to the right.