At this time of year, a lot of high school seniors are visiting NCAA Division III colleges as they narrow down their choices for college for next fall. When they meet with college coaches, those coaches will have a lot of different questions. The best thing you can do BEFORE you visit is to prepare yourself with answers to these questions. In many ways, it is similar to a job interview where the coach (aka the hiring manager), is interviewing the student athlete (the potential hire) for a position on the soccer team (the specific workgroup) at a specific institution (hiring company).
So what can you expect as far as questions go?
Certainly, 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.
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. All of these things come into play during this interview process.
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?
◾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 right answer for the coach that they are talking to or meeting with. 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 my favorite questions that I asked as a coach was this: Why do we want you on our soccer team? This was an opportunity for student athletes to sell themselves and convince me that they were worth investing in. My program wanted 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 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!
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