In January it is the start of a New Year, time for people to make resolutions, and try to learn something from the previous year that we can carry over into the next year. We recently heard at the Hub that 45% of people make New Year’s resolutions but only 8% of them actually succeed in keeping those resolutions.
At this time of year it is also time for many NCAA Division III soccer programs to turn new pages on their coaching staffs. Out with the old and in with the new. Since many NCAA positions (especially assistant coaches and still many head coaches) are part time, they tend to have greater turnover in staffing. Many part time coaches hold full time jobs in addition to their part time coaching positions at D3. It is extremely difficult to maintain both positions due to the demands of a competitive environment even at D3; going to recruiting events, meeting with parents/student-athletes, plus the administrative demands from the college as well. It is certainly a job that one does for the joy of it, not the financial reward!
With that in mind, it is a good time to re-emphasize some important points when looking at D3 schools and important questions you (as a student-athlete) need to ask the college coaches you meet when looking at D3 schools.
First, you NEVER want to select your school because of the soccer coach and/or the soccer program. Look at the academics and find a school that meets your needs as well as fits in with your economic constraints as well geographic preferences and size of school. Those things should be top priority over soccer.
Second, look at the history of coaches at the school. How long have they been there? You can usually find that on a school’s athletic department website. If coaches turnover every 2 or 3 years, keep in mind you might be playing for someone different before you graduate. Some players may have 2 or 3 coaches in their college careers. So the coach that is recruiting you now, might not be there for long. (The caveat to that is that there are also some very long tenured coaches as well— the point is do your homework!)
Ask lots of questions. Some young coaches may view a D3 job as a stepping stone to D2 or D1. The D3 job is just a checkbox on their resumes before they move up the coaching ladder. Don’t be afraid to ask them what their future intentions are. Are they planning on staying at the current school or are they looking to move on? Ask if they are full time or part time. If full time, they are more likely to stay there for longer. If part time, not as likely. Also ask about the assistant coaches. How long have they been there? What are their plans and aspirations?
We hate to be nay-sayers here at the Hub, but always remember, playing soccer in college is a privilege. Each player could suffer a season ending or career ending injury at any time. Or you may not even make the team after cuts/tryouts! So make sure that you select your school based on the things described above and not just soccer.
The bottom line is this— take a look at the history of each soccer program you are applying to and see if there is a lot of turnover. Will you be prepared for that? Sometimes change in coaches is good for a student-athlete. Ultimately though, make your school selection based on the academics, finances and other non-soccer objectives for yourself and your family. In the long run, that is the best decision to make.
Happy New Year everyone! Questions? Comments? Drop us a line at email@example.com.