The college soccer recruiting process is challenging and is often confusing, like it is for any NCAA, NAIA or NJCAA sport. Just like the position we play, the goalkeeper recruiting process is in some ways very unique. Here are a few specific tips to help you in your college search and aid you to find the right fit for your academic and athletic future.
How to understand the recruiting cycle
College coaches will have years where a goalkeeper is a priority for them to find and others where they do not need one at all, the keeper is a unique position, it’s not like a field player that can be used in totally different roles, so once that you have 2 real good freshman’s you’re basically set for at least three years. Unfortunately, you may be good enough to play at your favorite college, however, if they are not looking to recruit a keeper, then you’re totally out of luck.
The best suggestion that anyone that knows how to move in the college soccer biz would tell you to spend time looking at the rosters of the colleges of interest. Although not definitive, you can get a sense of whether or not a quality goalkeeper like yourself may be a priority for them by looking at the graduating years of the keepers and also which of the keepers on the roster earned minutes.
SUGGESTION: Make unofficial visits (at your expense) to selected schools. Meet with the coach if possible and see the team play.
Communicate with coaches
Before you keep reading be sure to check out this other article on How to Communicate Via Email with a College Coach
Good communication is key in the recruiting process, building relationships with college soccer coaches will provide greater opportunities for a possible evaluation. As a goalkeeper you need to ask if the coach if his soccer program is looking for a goalkeeper in your recruiting class. Keep in mind that the latest NCAA rules prohibit coaches from responding to you until your junior year in high school, so don’t forget to ask them to respond to your high school, youth soccer coach or goalkeeper academy coach.
If the college program is looking for a goalkeeper and your relationship with the coach actually develops, you want to determine what are the expectations for the recruited keeper. Is the coach looking fora backup or is the coach looking for a keeper to compete for their freshman year, or starter right away.
Coaches will be interested in the number of games played or minutes and save % or adjustments made based on the quality of shot that is being saved, so in your email be sure to include these stats or a link where to find them.
Remember, it will only take a little bit of your free time, and it will definitely be worth it if you are keeping in touch with every college/university soccer coach that you hear from. Who knows that it may even be the one you decide upon!!!
National Tournaments, ID Camps and showcase events
Here is another article on How to Find the Best College ID Camp
Tournaments, ID Camps and showcase events are good ways of getting exposure. When evaluating goalkeepers, coaches will be looking at the technical and physical traits. On my academy right now I have 3 that are just that and are ready to take the challenge, however, they are also looking at your presence, identified below as tactical and psychological factors:
How do you communicate in critical moments, do you blabber and compliment to much?
How do you organize set pieces, are you always on it?
How do you respond to a mistake, sulk?
Can you control the space behind the defense?
Can you distribute the ball, initiate counter attacks?
Can you relieve the pressure from the back line and can you handle back passes under pressure?
Do you take your own goal kicks, can you punt 50+ yards?
Open a YouTube channel
Many coaches are unable to see you play in person that’s why a video may be your next best move. Coaches like to see game footage, however, I would suggest to also include some training footage. (that’s why I have mountains of training footage on my YouTube and Facebook pages, so that my keepers and their parents can use it). This way the training footage can certainly showcase your technique, also footwork, but mainly handling.
Read also these related articles:
WHY MANY COLLEGE COACHES SAY: STAY CLEAR OF THIRD PARTY COLLEGE SOCCER RECRUITMENT SERVICES AND SHOWCASES!