The College Soccer Recruiting Process for Goalkeepers

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The college soccer recruiting process for Goalkeepers is challenging and is often very confusing for both parents and athletes, just like it is for any NCAA DI, DII, DIII, NAIA or NJCAA sport in general. The goalkeeper recruiting process in many ways turns out to be very unique. Below are a few specific indications to help you in your college search.

Like we’ve already stated the keeper is a unique position, it’s not like a defender, mid or striker that very often can be used in a totally different positions on the field. Once a College soccer team has found 2 really good freshman’s they’re good to go for at least three years. Unfortunately, you could be good enough to play at your favorite college, however, if they are not looking to recruit a goalkeeper, then you better start looking at other locations.

The best suggestion is to spend some time looking into the rosters of the colleges you’re interested in. This way you can get a sense of whether or not a quality goalkeeper like yourself may could actually be a priority for them by looking at the graduating years of the goalkeepers and also which of the GK’s on the roster earned play-minutes.

Goalkeeper Coach

Please be sure to check out this other article on How to Communicate Via Email with a College Coach

Perfect communication is the key in any college recruiting process, building a good relationships with the college soccer coaches will provide greater opportunities for a “more-in-depth” evaluation. As a keeper you need to ask the coach if his program is looking for a goalkeeper in your recruiting class bracket. The latest NCAA rules prohibit coaches from responding to an athlete until your “Junior year” of 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 soccer team is looking for a goalkeeper and the relationship with the head coach actually develops well, you’ll want to then determine what are the expectations for the recruited keeper. Is the coach looking for a potential backup or is the coach looking for a goalkeeper to compete right away for their freshman year, or is the coach looking for a possible GK starter.

Coaches are interested in the total amount of games played , save percentage or adjustments made based on the quality of shot that is being saved. In other words, be sure to include all of these stats or a link where to find them in your introduction email.

Goalkeeper Coach

Here is another article on How to Find the Best College ID Camp

Tournaments, ID Camps and showcase events are the very best ways of getting exposure. When evaluating keepers, head and assistant coaches will be looking at the technical and physical traits. On our goalkeeper academy right now I have 3 boys and a girl that are ready to take the challenge. However, the coaches are also looking at your presence, identified below as tactical and psychological factors:

How do you communicate with your back line in critical moments, do you blabber and even compliment to much or are you taking control?
How do you organize set pieces?
How do you respond to a mistake?
Can you control the spaces left open behind the defense?
Can you distribute the ball and initiate many counter attacks?
Can you relieve the pressure from the defensive line and most of all can you handle back passes under pressure?
Do you take your own goal kicks, can you punt 50+ yards, how is your accuracy?

Many soccer coaches are unable to watch you play in person that’s why a video may be your next best move. Coaches like to see a lot of 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 goalkeepers and their parents can use it). The training footage can truly showcase your technique, also footwork, but mainly ball handling.

The most common questions I get from Parents of goalkeepers is: How come there are little to no college coaches attending High School soccer games?
Well do the math… We’re not in the 90’s, where the only state competitive program was ODP. There was no NPL (ECNL-R), DA (MLS Academy) or ECNL. Back then college coaches were fishing mostly in the High School soccer programs because that was the hot ticket. As high school soccer loses more and more interest among 9th-12th graders, very few college coaches will assist a high school soccer game, unless it’s a showcase or the state finals.
40% of high school soccer players do not play for a local youth soccer club and nationally only 7% play at an ECNL or MLS Academy level. So, at the end of the day a college soccer coach that is seeking to bring on his team a “Season-Changer” 95% of the time will not look for him/her at a high school soccer program.

The injury level for soccer players in high school is almost double the injuries that occur in any other competitive soccer league. Here again for the low quality of most of the players and coaches.
High school soccer fields are also beaten up pretty badly as they’re prioritized by football training and games, leaving the fields in horrible playing conditions. I’m not here to beat down high school soccer, I’m simply being realistic.

Local Soccer Clubs: Will you get the exposure you need? The answer is most likely not! Unless you’re willing to follow what we posted above. The majority of local soccer clubs will not participate in large competitive tournaments, thus because they’ll have to play against ECNL or MLS Academy teams. College coaches attend in the most the big tournaments, where the large clubs will be competing. However there are some exceptions regarding local clubs and big tournaments, but very few.

State cup, Commissioners cup and Presidents cup are another attracting weekend for college soccer coaches, but here again the coaches will in the most start attending during the playoffs and by then, nearly all of the smaller local soccer teams have already been eliminated.

So, who plays in an elite or state academy league, has by far a higher chance in getting noticed. First, the ECNL provides a huge opportunity for the best youth soccer players in the country to compete against each other. Because the ECNL only includes the largest clubs in the country, and in most cases “The Best” soccer clubs in the nation. Every ECNL game is very competitive and played at a higher speed with more physical, technical and tactical action. This competition demands more skillful, stronger, intelligent, and focused players. Basically whet a college soccer coach needs for his team!!

Then there’s the newly created MLS academy.
Players that are drafted into this leage attend 2-3 ECNL showcases annually.They train at minimum 3 times a week, but in most cases 4. 
They participate in the State Cup or/and Presidents Cup. Basically, it’s a college coaches magnet.

I could go on for a week on this subject, but I would suggest that you do your homework and start getting the wheel moving!

Good Luck!

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