Your college recruiting is up to you!!!
There are three things that 95% of college soccer coaches hate:
Wasted talent, below average referees, and third-party college soccer recruitment services.
Christopher Roche a very successful sports company CEO that I made contact with via Linkedin recently sent a survey out to hundreds of college coaches asking them “How they respond to an email from a third party recruiting service“, 92% of current college coaches will delete that email even before opening it.
So, why is it that most of these very profitable companies boast that they have hundreds or even thousands of college soccer coaches within their massive network? Well, let me tell you… Simply being LinkedIn connections or interacting via email with a college coach does not qualify them as a connection.
If you or your parents are eager in joining a third-party recruitment service, before you sign up, email a local college coach and ask their opinion on that particular recruitment company. Ask the coach if he has ever participated in that showcase. I already know how the coach will reply!
The Sad Truth About nearly all Showcases
Every year, tens of thousands of 9-12 grade soccer players attend college showcase events all over the country, teenagers with the hope of being recruited to play college soccer. But how successful are these showcases at actually getting athletes recruited? Or are they only “Massive Revenue Generators” for these companies?
At “The Majority” of these so called soccer college showcase events, there are a just a handful of college coaches that are actually there to recruit, the majority are there only because they have been paid, or because in some way they have business-relations with the host or a sponsor of the hosting company. Unfortunately, it is totally impossible to tell which coaches fall into which categories.
ONE STUDENT OUT OF 100!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ABC News in 2016 contacted 400 parents and students that had used college recruiting showcase events (from 2011 to 2015) to see how many athletes had found a scholarship thanks to the investment made in these third party companies. A little over 1% of the athletes had found a college sports scholarship through these showcase programs!
How much do these Soccer College ID Showcase event cost per player?
In the past 18 months I have subscribed to every possible newsletter in the National Soccer Showcase Business. You as a parent would be shocked to see how many there are around the country!!
How much do these Showcases cost? The national average is $550, but some popular showcase companies will charge you up to $1,400. For example, there is one that just happened in Georgia, cost per athlete $900, there are some very big names attending, for example Alabama, so I’d imagine that names like coach Wes Hart will be attending? No! A volunteer assistant will though! Same with Georgia another “Volunteer coach” and again another quality college soccer program University of Wisconsin we have another volunteer assistant coach. Funny thing that someone pointed out to me that 9 of the coaches present aren’t even involved with the related soccer programs any longer… Yikes!
There are way too many showcase tournaments and summer camps promoting college coaches appearances when they aren’t actually committed to attend, the United Soccer Coaches (former NSCAA) has created the “Showcase Integrity Program.”
The program enables college coaches to report showcase events that are using their name or school name without approval and the hotline has been buzzing on a daily basis!!
So basically after a coach reports the false advertising through the USC College Services program, the United Soccer Coaches will take steps, up to and including legal action, to have the showcase remove that information. I myself will be closely monitoring two college showcase events that will be taking place this summer and if I personally find evidence of fraud I will document it and report it.
Watch out for “Sales Talk” there are very simple ways to notice who is in this game just for the parents pocketbook! Google it! History is very important, public reviews, talk to other parents that have attended these programs. Beware of companies reaching out to you personally via email, it’s a grasp! Beware of the showcases advertised on the major search engines. If you really have to attend a goalkeeper ID camp them be sure that you find it punching in the keywords on Google and DON’T CLICK ON THE ADS. Go directly to the organic search.
Who to trust then?
It’s no secret who is a trusted showcase, that at least guarantees college coaches to be on-sight, who are they? The big sports brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma. Soccer development programs like IMG, or anything officially backed up by the USSDA, United Soccer Coaches or US Club Soccer. These are by far the most trusted as they have a massive reputation and they take care of every detail when setting up a Soccer Showcase. There are many others, the easy way to locate them is by reading “detailed” Google Reviews, don’t stop at the 5 star grade, go in and read the last 2 years of reviews posted!
Our goalkeeper academy works with several college soccer programs and semi-pro soccer teams, however we don’t do showcases. I believe that the showcase biz will ruin your reputation. If we were to do a showcase it would be low budget, just enough to pay for the expenses that involves venue rental, advertising and coaches reimbursement. As of for now we simply invite college coaches to attend our clinics and camps, many of the surrounding college soccer program coaches also work our camps and in the past editions of our winter and summer camps they have already identified many of our talented keepers.
HERE’S HOW TO DO IT WITHOUT WASTING YOUR MONEY!
We’re all aware that 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, that’s why we say that 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 trust me you’re totally out of luck.
In the image: Head Coach at Daytona State College Men’s soccer program Bart Sasnett, working with our academy students at one of our latest clinics.
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
Good and healthy communication is key in the recruiting process, building a direct 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 well, you’ll want to determine what are the expectations for the recruited goalkeeper. Is the coach looking for a backup or is the coach looking for a keeper to compete for their freshman year, or starter right away… You have to figure this out!
Coaches will be interested in the number of games played or minutes and save percentage or any 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.
Daytona State College Woman’s soccer program Head coach Brittany Jones and Goalkeeper Coach Maggie Manville with another of our goalkeepers at their latest College ID Camp
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!!!
Open a YouTube channel
Above is a short clip that we made for one of our goalkeepers that he will use as a presentation of himself to college coaches.
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.
Many academy and youth soccer club coaches, depending how long that they’ve been in the coaching ring could actually know a few college coaches here and there, and if they believe that you’d be a good asset for those college soccer programs, they may facilitate some sort of introduction. I know of some coaches that have been doing this for at least two decades and have been able to build a reputation among college coaches, which gives them the power to make a phone call or drop an email on the behalf of their players> I do it as well, it is called “Personal Networking”.
However, always keep in mind that just because your soccer coach has a sweet relationship with a college soccer program or two, it doesn’t mean that you should try to force that school(s) to be a final destination. First of all, put together your list of schools you’re interested in, the academics is the most important “First Step”. If your coach has a relationship with one of those schools, then that’s great!
So, my suggestion is to let your current coach know you would like their help contacting a college coach. You can give them the soccer college coach’s contact information and ask if they can be kind enough to set up a possible phone call. However in the past when this was asked, 80% if not more, of the coaches either refused or said they’d do so but not follow up. There are some youth soccer clubs here in Florida that actually forbid their coaches to help players in this process. Mostly because there is no cash flow gain for the club or the coach!
Every coach will contribute to their athletes’ recruiting in different ways. I am one that will lead the college coaches to my students Youtube videos, I will send them emails regarding everything they need to know about the students on-field and off-field. I see it this way: If I can help a student live their dream and play for four years in college and pay off their college by playing soccer, then not only will the player get an education and have fun, but the parents will have one less son or daughter to worry about, one student loan less to pull. If you help the child you help the whole family.
Your college recruiting is up to you. Just keep in mind that everyone you place on your recruiting team really needs to see you reach your goal, not all coaches will be willing to do so but you need to ask the right questions to determine how much your academy, high school and youth soccer club coach will be willing to contribute.
We care about our goalkeepers and their parents at our academy, but also them that are not. This is why we always want to keep you all on the lookouts!