College Soccer Recruitment Guide
Parents and Players
Many times parents and players are seeking information on the college soccer and recruitment process. They are not sure where to turn for information. There are so many questions to ask and not many places for answers. When do I apply for college? How important are test scores? How do I contact college coaches? Is a video worth it? What is the NCAA Clearinghouse and how does it affect me? How do I begin the recruitment process?
It is very important to know that no one course is correct for everyone. Each school and coach handles the process differently for their prospective student-athletes. But there are many things you should know before you begin the process.
When looking at schools, try to find a campus you love and where you can see yourself attending for four to five years. Look for a school that has your major area of concentration. Don’t settle for a school because they are the only ones giving you a scholarship, make sure you like it first and foremost. Try and find a school that has a soccer program that you’ll enjoy playing at and you know you will fit in academically too. You must be honest with yourself and the coach you’re communicating with.
Schools and coaches also look for good students not just good athletes. One of the most important things to remember is work hard on your grades the same way you work on your game. The golden rule is “You are a student first and an athlete second.”
It is also our hope that you will check with the school and their compliance officer to make sure of their policies, scholarship availability, rules and programs. There are differences between those umbrella organizations rules. For example, the NCAA Division I and II, NCAA Division III and NAIA have different rules for what coaches may do during the recruitment process. Always do your homework and remember always ask questions.
It is our hope that the information provided in this guide will help you to answer some of those questions and point you to the right sources for additional information. There are some guidelines that will help you as you prepare for this exciting, yet sometimes intimidating process.
Getting Started/a Suggested Timeline
(Some of these items pertain to NCAA schools only, it’s always best to check with the compliance officer to verify recruitment rules. The governing organizations meet on a regular basis and can change the rules).
The transition from middle school to high school is a big adjustment. During your freshman year, focus on getting acclimated to the new and exciting surroundings. It is important to get off to a good start, both academically and athletically and your freshman year is a very important time. This is the time where you will need to learn how to best manage your time to be successful. It is during this time where as a student and an athlete you need to get comfortable with your new surroundings and start building positive relationships (especially with your new coaches and teachers).
To-Do List for Freshmen:
- Feel out the new school. Don’t be afraid to ask your new teachers for help if you need it when adjusting to your new course material and workload.
- Try to find school clubs/organizations or local volunteer opportunities that interest you.
- Get to know your new teammates, coaches and peers. Now would also be a great time to talk to your new coach about what your goals for the upcoming season might be.
- If your high school doesn’t have your sport, consider joining a club or city league.
- Meet your guidance counselor.
- Express your interest to play athletics in college with your coaches and counselors.
- Schedule unofficial visits to start your college selection.
- Go to the NCAA Clearinghouse to set up a plan to be eligible for schools.
(Coaches cannot call or write you yet, only send general information and camp information, so don’t be disappointed if you write a coach and they don’t respond).
- Keep your grades up!!!
- Begin compiling a list of possible colleges/universities that meet your interests and research their academic and athletic programs
- Take the PSAT test.
- Write a cover letter and soccer resume and send it out to potential schools.
- Review NCAA Clearinghouse eligibility requirements. The summer before Junior year you can register with the NCAA Clearinghouse.
- Select junior year courses to fulfill these requirements.
- Play at the highest level possible, Keep a record of your athletic and academic achievements.
(As of September 1, coaches can return correspondences and write letters, but cannot call you until on or after July 1st before your Senior year).
- Keep your grades up!!!
- Send coaches updated resume and player profile, send dates of tournaments and league games.
- Organize a filing system on colleges that respond to your inquiries and indicate interest.
- Research the rosters of colleges you are thinking of attending, I can’t stress this enough if a school has 4 Strikers and you’re a Striker pay close attention to their academic level. No coach will over use scholarships on a position they don’t need.
- Make a list of all the college/universities you have been in contact with and rank them in order starting with your favorite school (based on what you know at this point) down to your least favorite school. Start by calling the coach at your least favorite school. You will probably be nervous when you talk to this coach however, by talking to a coach at your least favorite school you can gain confidence and be prepared for your favorite schools coaches.
- More often than not when you call a coach you will get his or her voicemail. Practice leaving a message beforehand. If you should get the coach to answer take detailed notes of your conversation. This will help you when narrowing down schools and also give you some information you may forget down the road if not written down. There are some coaches who will quiz you on your phone conversations. Keep a list of the top 5 questions to ask and make sure that the questions can’t be answered by the schools website.
- Make sure you start playing in College showcases, summer tournaments or participate in ODP events. **Very important please make sure you let the coaches you’re interested in playing for know that you will be at these events. **
- Start attending any recruitment seminars at these tournaments, ones your club is offering, or your high school. Also attend College fairs and register your sport with each college.
- Consider attending summer camps of the schools you are interested, or attend one that has multiple coaches you would like to play for in attendance. ** Again let coaches know you will be attending its crucial. **
- Narrow your search down to 10 schools and engage in regular correspondence with the coach. If the head coach tells you to direct calls to his or her assistant staff do so, last one you want to anger is the head coach.
- Make unofficial visits (at your expense) to select schools on your list. Meet with the coach and see the team play or practice if possible.
- Take your SAT and/or ACT tests. Make sure scores are sent to your school of interest and the NCAA Clearinghouse this is very important.
- Check your status with the NCAA Clearinghouse after you receive test results.
- Select Senior year courses to complete NCAA Clearinghouse requirements. Failure to do so will affect your eligibility.
- Stay in touch with your high school counselor.
- Stay in touch with the colleges compliance officer(s), to see if you are on pace to meet requirements.
- Obtain financial form (FAFSA).
(As of July 1st, you can now talk on the phone with a coach, if you are a top level player, expect some phone calls, If not, call the coach yourself. A letter followed by a call shows interest in the program. **ONLY 1 CALL PER WEEK IS ALLOWED SO MAKE THE MOST OF IT!!!!!**).
- Don’t let your grades slip now, it can be the difference in school choice!
- Check your status with the NCAA Clearinghouse, make sure your on target.
- If you are planning on competing at a NCAA, NAIA or NJCAA college/university make sure to apply for the respective Eligibility Centers.
- Narrow down your search to TOP 5 schools.
- Top Picks of Where I Want to Go to College
- 1. College: _______________________________________________________
2. College: _______________________________________________________
3. College: _______________________________________________________
4. College: _______________________________________________________
5. College: _______________________________________________________
- Complete your FAFSA form again with recent tax information.
- Respond immediately to any interest shown by colleges don’t put them off even if not your top 5 choice. Trust me coaches’ talk to each other a lot you don’t want even 1 coach at any level to have something bad to say about you.
- Schedule and complete official visits (at schools expense). Meet with the coaches and the team, stay overnight if possible, see the team play if applicable.
- Stay in touch with your H.S. Guidance counselor.
- Narrow down your choices and get the applications done early.
- Keep coaches updated with your athletic and academic achievements by sending them your resume/player profile through the fall and play in high level events in November and December.
- Provide your H.S. coach and counselor with your interest college list. Discuss college interest with your H.S. coach, Club Coach and Guidance Counselor.
- Make sure you have applications for each school in which you are interested. Begin working on the applications as early as possible. Applying to college is a time-consuming task that should not be left for one weekend.
- Inquire at the schools you’re most interested in to see if they offer official visits (or recruiting trips). An official visit is an expenses-paid visit for recruits and programs to learn more about each other. If they don’t, speak with your parents about making family visits to your top schools.
- Make a decision!!! Sign your letter of intent early if you get one, don’t push them off. If you get hurt before you sign the school may rescind the Letter of Intent.
- Most Important ENJOY YOUR LAST YEAR!!!!!
Make a list of Colleges
Draft a tentative list of colleges that interest you. Your list may include schools in your area, schools that have a particular major of interest to you, or schools you know very little about. Your list may be long in the beginning early stages as you don’t want to eliminate anyone too early. It is very important to look at schools for their academic programs as well as its athletic programs. ** Remember only 1-4 players from your team will ever go pro after college in your sport. You are in college to be a Student first and an Athlete second. **
Your academic experience in college is what will provide you with a strong foundation for life after college. Not many athletes play professionally after college. In addition it’s not uncommon for an injury to happen that could end your soccer career. You want to pick a school who will set you up for success both off the field and on, and you should enjoy the school even if you can’t play there. Never pick a school because you love the team only, you should always make sure you like the classes and environment you’re in at all times.
Here are some questions that may aid in your college selection.
- Would I choose this college even if I am not playing on the team?
- Would I be happy sitting on the bench and not playing much?
- Would I still select this college if there was a coaching change?
- Was I comfortable there both academically and athletically?
- Do I get along with the team and coaching staff?
- Did the players and staff get along and care about each other?
- How does the coach motivate his/her players?
- Were the coaches friendly? Enthusiastic? Honest? Supportive? Sincere?
- What did players say about the staff when they were not around?
Educate yourself about the Colleges on your list
After you have created your list of schools, do research on them. Be diligent and read everything you can find on the school. Look at their web page, local newspaper articles, look at their press releases, get to know the A.D. and assistant A.D. at the school, talk to the compliance officer, find out if the program has any violations or serious events, talk to your counselor, teammates, alumni of your high school who attended the school you’re interested in. Leave no stone uncovered. This is your academic career and playing career take it seriously, it will be what helps you or hurts you over the next 40 years.
Guides you may want to look at include: Peterson’s Four-Year Colleges, The Big Book of Colleges, Fiske Guide to Colleges, The Best 366 Colleges, The College Board College Handbook, Official Athletic Guide to Soccer, or the Women’s Soccer Guide: The Official Athletic College Guide, Over 1,100 Women’s Scholarship Programs Listed (Official Athletic College Guide Soccer Women’s). Make sure and talk to your Club and High School Coaches about various programs. The University of Florida also maintains a web page that lists links to US Colleges and Universities that offer bachelors and master’s degrees. The link is http://www.clas.ufl.edu/au/
Educate yourself about the various Associations’
Students that plan to compete in athletics at the college level must meet certain eligibility requirements set forth by the NCAA and other Associations’. Students who have not met the NCAA/NIAI/NJCAA/NCCAA eligibility requirements may not be allowed to participate in college athletics.
Use the following link we are providing you to assist you in this process. For information go to:
NCAA Initial-eligibility Clearinghouse
Students who plan to compete in athletics at the Division I or II level must complete the NCAA Clearinghouse form in order to be eligible. Just a note most D III coaches want you to fill this out as well to make sure you meet the tight criteria to play college sports at the highest level. Remember they are looking for Student’s first who will also be solid athletes for their teams with no issues. There is a $30.00 registration fee (it can change so please look up cost on their website). To pay online you will need a credit card. The steps for registering in line are as follows:
- Go to the NCAA Clearinghouse web site at http://www.ncaaclearinghouse.net
- Once there, click on NCAA COLLEGE-BOUND STUDENT ATHLETES
- To register for the first time click the NOKIA cell phone on the left.
- Fill in your email address twice and click submit.
- Go to your email and copy the verification code they sent you.
- Enter the code in the box provided on the website and click submit.
- Create your account.
- Agree to Terms and Conditions and Ethical Conduct and type your full name.
- Click let’s get started and answer all the questions honestly.
- Print out your student release form for your guidance counselor and yourself.
- Notify your counselor that you registered online so that your transcript will be sent to the NCAA Clearinghouse. Make sure you stay on top of your counselor this is an important step. If you don’t submit a transcript you won’t be eligible to play.
What are the NCAA Divisions?
Division I member institutions have to sponsor at least seven sport’s for men and women (or six for men and eight for women) with two team sports for each gender. Each playing season has to be represented by each gender as well. There are contest and participant minimums for each sport, as well as scheduling criteria. For sports other than football and basketball, Division I schools must play 100 percent of the minimum number of contests against Division I opponents –anything over the minimum number of games has to be 50 percent Division I. Division I schools must meet minimum financial aid awards for their athletic program, and there is a maximum financial aid awards for each sport that a Division I school cannot exceed. For a full list of member schools/sports link: http://web1.ncaa.org/memberLinks/links.jsp?div=1 .
Division II member institutions have to sponsor at least five sport’s for men and women (or four for men and six for women) with two team sports for each gender, and each playing season has to be represented by each gender as well. There are contest and participant minimums for each sport, as well as scheduling criteria. For sports other than football and basketball there are no scheduling requirements. There are not attendance requirements for football, or arena game requirements for basketball. There are maximum financial aid awards for each sport that a Division II school must not exceed. Division II teams usually feature a number of local or in-state student-athletes. Many Division II student athletes pay for school through a combination of scholarship money, grants and student loans. Division II athletics programs are financed in the institution’s budget like other academic departments on campus. Traditional rivalries with regional institutions dominate the schedules of many Division II athletic programs. For a list of member schools/sports link: http://web1.ncaa.org/memberLinks/links.jsp?div=2 .
Division III member institutions have to sponsor at least five sport’s for men and women, with two team sports for each gender, and each playing season has to be represented by each gender as well. There are no minimum contest and participant minimums for each sport. Division III athletics features student/athletes who receive no financial aid related to their athletic abilities and athletic departments are staffed and funded like any other department in the university. Division III athletics departments place special importance on the impact of athletics on the participants rather than on the spectators. The student-athlete’s experience is of paramount concern. Division III athletics encourage participation by maximizing the number and variety of athletic opportunities available to students, placing primary emphasis on regional in-season and conference competition. For a list of member schools/sports link: http://web1.ncaa.org/memberLinks/links.jsp?div=3 .
What is the NAIA?
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has different eligibility requirements for student-athletes. To be eligible to participate in intercollegiate athletics as an incoming freshman, two of the following three requirements must be met:
- Have a 2.0 (C) or higher cumulative final GPA in high school.
- Have a composite score of 18 or higher on the ACT Assessment or an 860 total score or higher on the SAT 1 on a single test administered on a national test date.
- Have a top-half final class rank in his or her high school graduating class.
Student-Athletes must also have on file at the college an official ACT Assessment or SAT 1 score report from the appropriate national testing center. Results reported on the student’s high school transcript are not acceptable. Students must request that their test scores be forwarded to the college’s admission office. If you have additional questions about NAIA eligibility, you can contact them online at http://www.naia.org/ , or by mail at 1200 Grand Blvd., Suite 100
Kansas City, MO 64106, transcript and few waiver office at NAIA Eligibility Center
P.O. Box 15340 Kansas City, MO 64106, or by phone and email at Phone: 816.595-8300
Toll free: 866.881-6242 Fax: 816.595-8301 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org . They are open 8am – 5pm central standard time.
For rules on financial aid, campus visits, etc. refer to article II: http://www.naia.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=27900&ATCLID=205322931
Member schools can be found at: http://www.naia.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=27900&ATCLID=205322922
What is the NJCAA?
The national Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) is the governing body of intercollegiate athletics for two-year colleges. As such, its programs are designed to meet the unique needs of a diverse group of student-athletes who come from both traditional and non-traditional backgrounds and whose purpose in selecting a junior college may be as varied as their experience before attending college. For more information on schools and eligibility requirements go to http://www.njcaa.org/colleges.cfm or http://www.njcaa.org/ .
What is the NCCAA?
The National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) was incorporated to provide a Christian-based organization that functions uniquely as a national and international agency for the promotion of outreach and ministry, and for the maintenance, enhancement, and promotion of intercollegiate athletic competition with a Christian perspective. For more information on schools and eligibility go to: http://www.thenccaa.org/ . For a list of schools by region go to the membership tab and select the region you are interested in to see schools.
What if you’re a Home-Schooled Student?
Home Schooled students who want to play DI or DII college sports must register with the NCAA Clearinghouse and meet the same requirements as all other students. After registering you must send the following information to the eligibility center:
- Standardized test scores must be sent directly from testing agency.
- Official transcript listing credits earned and grades.
- Proof of graduation.
- Evidence that home schooling was done in accordance to state laws.
- List of textbooks used throughout home schooling (including text titles, publisher and course used for). Go to: www.ncaa.org for further information and verify your courses.
When can a college coach talk to a high school prospect?
(Some of these items pertain to NCAA schools only, it’s always best to check with the schools compliance officer to verify rules and also the Associations eligibility center.)
There can be a lot of confusion about contacting college coaches, especially if you’re new to the whole process. This is the time of year when athletes start thinking a lot about getting calls from a college coach and there are usually a lot of questions surrounding the topic.
Is it okay for an athlete to call a coach? When can a coach call an athlete? Are there any rules to be aware of when you’re hoping to be recruited by a college coach? To help simplify this here are a few simple tips to guide your future interactions with college coaches:
- A College Coach can only call or visit you after July 1st of your junior year in high school. That means a coach cannot place an outbound call to you, nor can he/she initiate a visit to your home or school specifically to talk to you about playing a sport at his or her college, until the summer before your senior year. Remember, this deals only with outbound communication from a coach.
- You can call or meet with a college coach at any point in your high school career. That’s right; you can call a coach whenever you want. Take into consideration you also don’t want to become a bother to the coach either. The key here is that you are the one initiating contact with the coach and not the other way around. If you want to call a coach or visit a campus and setup a meeting with the coach, you may do so as often as you wish. Again keep in mind how often you are calling or visiting the coach, you don’t want to end up on his or her bad side.
- You can visit a college campus as many times unofficially as you want, there is no limit because the visits are at your expense. Remember you must be the one who initiates the visits, you only get 5 Official Visits throughout your High School career. Use them wisely because you cannot get any more, under any circumstance. That is 5 from freshman year to senior year and you can only take official visits at certain points in your high school career. The NCAA is very strict about this policies and you don’t want to be the reason your team gets a violation from the NCAA.
- Be proactive about this process! Take Control of your future!
What does it mean if a college coach sends a questionnaire?
Colleges may ask you to complete an on-line questionnaire or mail you one to complete. It is a way for them to gather more information on you. Don’t read into them too much.
Why responding to all College coaches is important?
Most prospective student-athletes will receive some contact from colleges, in the form of general admissions information, questionnaires, camp invites, and/or emails from college coaches. Many student-athletes make the mistake of disregarding correspondences from colleges and coaches they are not initially interested in. NO COLLEGE CONTACT SHOULD BE DISREGARDED!
The following is a list of reasons why you should respond to EVERYONE:
- If you are receiving general admission information, especially if you are an underclassman-respond anyways! A lot of coaches keep logs with underclassmen’s names on admissions lists to see if they will respond.
- If you do not respond to a coach, or return their questionnaire, they will stop recruiting you.
- Your opinion may change. Once you research a college and talk to a coach, you are bound to learn something new. You never know which college or program might be the perfect fit for you.
- The more coaches you communicate with, the more familiar you will become with the types of questions college coaches ask. This practice will prepare you for email exchanges and conversation with coaches at your favorite colleges/universities.
- By investigating many types of colleges, you will have a better idea of your likes and dislikes in a college/university.
- College coaches change jobs! You might ignore a coach because you are not interested in their program, only to have them hired at one of your top choices.
- College coaches are friends with one another, and they don’t appreciate it when a student-athlete ignores a contact. You never want to give anyone something bad to say about you!
- It is common courtesy. If a coach takes time to send you some information, you owe them a response.
- Responding to a college coach will demonstrate that you are mature and responsible. For example, most of the information asked on the questionnaire is to test your responsibility and ability to follow directions, and to see if you are interested in the college/university.
Remember, it will only take a little bit of your time, and will definitely be worth it if you are keeping in touch with every college/university that you hear from. Who knows—it may even be the one you decide upon!
How to contact a coach
Initial Interest Letter/Cover Letters
The letter you compose should be short and direct. The letter is a way to request information and introduce yourself to the coach as a potential recruit. Here are something’s to include:
- Your name, high school and current grade level
- Your home address, email address, phone number. (It is a good idea to give them your home number instead of your cell phone just in case you can’t talk on your cell at the time of their 1 and only call to you).
- High School soccer experience, years of varsity experience, team accomplishments, and personal awards athletically and academically.
- Current Club team, recent team accomplishments and tournaments you will be at.
- Academic interests.
- Never direct a letter attention Women’s soccer coach or Men’s soccer coach, it will hit the trash quickly unopened.
Sample Letter 1
City, State, Zip
My name is Joe Smith and I am currently a senior at H. Frank Carey High School in Franklin Square, New York.
I am also the starting striker on my high school team and have lead them in goals scored for the past three years. My team won the state championship in 2010 and was runner-up in 2011. We are currently ranked second in the state. I was named second team in 2009 & 2010, all state in 2011.
I play for the Franklin Square Raiders U-17 Premier Boys Team. I have played at the premiere level since U-13. My team won the New York State Championship for the past two years. In 2010, we advanced to the semi-finals at the Northeast Regional. I also played striker for my select team. My coach, Alex McKendry, he would be happy to speak with you on my behalf.
I have spent time doing research on what colleges would be a good match for me academically and athletically. I am interested in majoring in pharmacy with a minor in Latin. I am very interested in your college and your program. I would appreciate receiving information from you. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
(Include your mailing address and phone number)
Sample Letter 2
City, State, Zip
My name is Joe Smith and I am currently a senior at H. Frank Carey High School in Franklin Square, New York.
During the last few weeks, I have spent time with my counselor doing research on which colleges would be a good match for me academically and athletically. I am very interested in your college and would appreciate receiving information about your school, and the soccer program.
I have played varsity soccer for H. Frank Carey High School since the 9th grade. I have been the starting striker for the past three years and have played in every game. I was the second leading scorer my freshman year and the leading scorer the past two years. Over the past three years I have scored 42 goals and have 16 assists. My High School plays a very competitive schedule and has contended for the New York state championship the past three years. We also are ranked number 2 in the state. My coach Jason Wright, would be happy to talk with you or provide you with game film. My number is 23.
I play for the Franklin Square Raiders U-17 Premier Boys Team. I have played at the premiere level since U-13. My team won the New York State Championship for the past two years. In 2010, we advanced to the semi-finals at the Northeast Regional. I also played striker for my select team and have some experience playing mid-field as well. I will be playing in the Executive Cup this summer and my club number is 23. My coach, Alex McKendry, he would be happy to speak with you on my behalf.
Academically, I am a strong student with an A average and have no trouble balancing school and athletics.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing back from you.
123 Anywhere Lane
Franklin Square, NY 11010
You should put together a resume that includes your basic personal information, athletic accomplishments, provide information about your past teams, camps, tournaments and other soccer experiences. Don’t forget to include athletic accomplishments in other sports as well. Coaches like to see athletic versatility and talent. Then list your scholastic accomplishments, include standardized test scores if available, and any extracurricular activities, such as school clubs or volunteer activities. Let the coach know any showcase tournaments you will be attending with your club team. That is a great way to be seen by a prospective coach.
Do You Need a Video?
College coaches are eager to see you in action. Videotapes are not always necessary, but if a coach requests one, you should try to provide it. It does not need to be an elaborate, state-of-the art video. Use a tripod when filming to avoid jostling or shaking. A good videotape will Include:
o 10 to 15 minutes of unedited game film. It should be no longer than 15 minutes.
o Some highlight clips. Show different skills. Use game film when possible.
o A skills tape. For field players, that consists of:
Receiving, both in the air and on the ground.
Distributing, different types.
Shooting, both power and finesse.
Agility with the ball, how fast in a straight line and how fast going 30 yards in and out of 6 cones.
o For a goalie it can consist of:
Crosses and shot stopping.
Verbal communication in a game situation.
Participation in different goalie drills.
How to plan a Campus Recruiting Visit
(Some of these items pertain to NCAA schools only. It’s always best to check with the Compliance officer to verify recruitment rules. The governing organizations meet on a regular basis and can change rules).
The best way to learn about a college or university is to visit it. While on campus you can get a
feel for the school. Try to visit while school is in session. If you visit over the summer, keep in
mind many colleges do offer summer programs, therefore the students you see on campus may
not be full-time students. At many D-III schools no summer classes are offered.
While on campus, why not schedule a little time to visit with the soccer coach? Meeting with a
coach is a great opportunity to ask questions about the school and the soccer program. It may
also help you decide if you like the coach. It is also a great time to market yourself to the coach.
You should plan to take a photocopy of your transcript so the coach can see what kind of student
you are. Also bring your athletic resume if the coach does not have it on file. Bring a parent—
they may ask questions you won’t. Most importantly, try to establish an open dialogue with the
coach. It is also important for college coaches to be honest with you.
What is An Official Visit?
Although you are always welcome to visit college campuses at your own expense, you are
limited to five official visits in which the college pays for part of all of your expenses.
Completion of the SAT and ACT and a high school transcript are prerequisites to an official
visit, and you may only go on an official visit after the first day of your senior classes in high
school. Usually an official visit consists of an overnight stay where you will have a member of
the soccer team as your host. You will meet the coach and the team, learn more about the
program, attend a class and possibly attend a sporting event. You may also meet other recruited
athletes there for a visit. While there, talk to people and learn as much as you can.
Here are some things you should do in advance of a visit:
• Decide where to meet the coach.
• Get their number to avoid a mix-up.
• Get the time schedule for your visit.
• Ask for the names of your contacts on campus.
• Find out who is paying for any tickets or meals.
• Ask what to bring.
• Ask to meet with department chair in your area of interest.
• Ask to meet with admissions to understand procedure and ask questions.
• Try to see the campus on a regular school day while class is in session.
• Visit with players. Talk with the freshmen and sophomores to get their perspective on first-year experiences.
• Take notes regarding your visit.
• Always write a thank-you letter to the coach after your visit.
What is the Recruiting Timeline?
Division I programs are on a timetable that is a little slower and longer. The majority of all
Division I colleges/universities will fill their recruiting class needs by early fall of that class’s
senior year. This means that if you are a Division I soccer player, you have already visited that
campus, sat down with the coach and know where you stand on their recruiting list by your first
day of class senior year. The early commitment trend is becoming increasingly prevalent at the
Division I level. This only increases the amount of time and research that must be put into
recruiting on the student-athlete’s end.
Division II colleges/universities are typically the next to finish up their recruiting classes. Some
Division II colleges/universities will have prospects verbally commit during the summer, but
most will finish during the fall and into the winter of their senior class.
Division III, NAIA and Junior Colleges recruiting typically continues into the winter and spring
of a student-athlete’s senior year of high school. If you are not on track with this timeline, do not
panic, these are general guidelines and every college/university has a different situation.
Questions to Ask Prospective College Coaches
(From the 2008 NCAA College-Bound Student-Athlete publication, pages 23-28)
• What positions will I play on your team?
• What other players may be competing at the same position?
• Will I be redshirted my freshman year?
• What are your training and conditioning expectations?
• What is your coaching style?
• How long do you plan to remain as the coach?
• What are preferred, invited and uninvited walk-on situations?
• How many students receive scholarships?
• Who else are you recruiting for my position?
• Is medical insurance required for participation?
• Does the college provide the insurance or must I purchase it?
• What is the cost of the insurance?
• If I am injured while competing, who is responsible for my medical expenses?
• What happens if I transfer to another school?
• Ask about the major program you are interested in? How good is the Department?
• What percentage of players on scholarship graduate?
• Do you have academic programs that support your athletes?
• If you have a diagnosed and documented disability (i.e. ADHD, ADD, etc.), what kind of
academic services are available?
• Are there restrictions in scheduling classes around practice?
• How many credit hours can you take in season and out of season?
• Is summer school available? If I need to take summer school, will it be paid for by the college?
About College Life?
• What is a typical day for a student-athlete?
• What are the dorms or housing options?
• What are they residence halls like?
• How many students are there in a room?
• Do I have to room with another soccer player or is my roommate a non-athlete?
• Can I pick my roommate?
• Do student-athletes have to live on campus? Are there any exceptions?
About Financial Aid?
• How much financial aid is available for both the academic year and summer school?
• What does your scholarship cover?
• How long will the scholarship last?
• Can I work while playing sports?
• What kinds of employment opportunities are available to me?
• Can I be employed in-season, out-of-season or during vacation periods?
• What is not covered by the scholarship?
• Am I eligible for financial aid? Are there any restrictions?
• Do I have to maintain a certain GPA to keep my academic scholarship?
• Under what circumstances can my scholarship be canceled or reduced?
• Does the school have a policy governing the renewal of athletics aid?
• What scholarship money is available after eligibility is exhausted to help complete your degree?
• What scholarship money is available if you suffer an athletic career-ending injury?
• Will my scholarship be maintained if there is a change in coaches?
What questions should you ask teammates?
- • How many hours a day will athletics keep me from my studies?
- • Does the coach discourage you from taking classes in your major that may conflict with practice?
- • What percentage of athletes will graduate in four years? Five years?
- • Is free tutoring available? How do I arrange for it?
- • Do you like the coach?
- • Do you like the size of the town?
- • Is the town affordable?
- • What is the composition of the team?
- • Does the coach have a “B” team?
- • Does the coach take all players that show up or do they also cut players?
- • How many classes will I miss due to athletic commitments? Can I make up tests or work before absences?
- • How much does the team travel?
- • How many hours a day do you study?
- • How many players are on the roster?
Information for parents and Guardians
(Some of these items pertain to NCAA schools only. It’s always best to check with the compliance officer to verify recruitment rules. The governing organizations meet on a regular basis and can change rules).
Amateurism and Academic Eligibility
If you child plans to compete, practice or receive an athletic scholarship at a NCAA Division I or
II college or university, you must meet the NCAA eligibility requirements. It is best for your son
or daughter to register with the eligibility center at the beginning or end of their junior year.
Once registered, they must ask their high school counselor or register to have their academic
transcript sent to the eligibility center. Test scores must also be submitted. The eligibility center
must be listed as a separate recipient of the test scores. The eligibility center will not accept test
scores submitted on the academic transcript. They will review the records and send a
preliminary report. A final report is issued once a final transcript showing high school
graduation is submitted. Have questions call: 877-262-1492. You can check their eligibility at
the clearinghouse Web site: www.ncaaclearinghouse.net.
If your child is eligible to participate in intercollegiate athletics and is accepted as a full-time
student at a Division I or II school, they may receive athletics-based financial aid from the
school. That aid could include tuition and fees, room and board, and books. Division III schools
do not award financial aid based on athletic ability. A Division III college may award aid based
on need or academics. Some parents are uncomfortable pursuing private out-of-state Division III
institutions because of the sticker price. Do not think that just because a college costs $40,000 or
more per year that you cannot afford to attend. The cost of college all comes down to your
ultimate out of pocket cost, which is not necessarily the tuition price inside the college catalogue.
Although Division III institutions do not offer athletic scholarships, there are definite avenues to
receive financial assistance. A non-qualifier may receive only need-based financial aid (aid not
related to athletics). A non-qualifier also may receive non-athletics aid from private sources or
government programs (such as Pell grants). For more information contact the college’s financial
aid office. Here are some important things to know about athletic scholarships from Division I and II schools:
- • All athletics scholarships are limited to one year. There are no four-year athletic scholarships.
- • Athletics scholarships may be renewed annually for a maximum of five years within a six-year period of continuous college attendance. Athletics aid may be canceled or reduced at the end of each year for any reason.
- • Athletics scholarships are awarded in a variety of amounts, ranging from full scholarships (tuition, room and board, etc.) to small scholarships (books).
- • The total amount of financial aid a student-athlete may receive and the total amount of athletics a team may receive can be limited. These limits can affect whether a student*athlete may accept additional financial aid from other sources. You must inform the college financial aid office about scholarships received from all sources, such as civic or booster clubs.
- • The athletics scholarship can be a benefit to your family, but is always best to have a plan to pay for college if an athletic scholarship is canceled or reduced.
For information on financial aid at NAIA schools:
What is the FAFSA?
The first step for obtaining financial aid is to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal
Student Aid) at www.FAFSA.ed.gov . The biggest mistake a lot of families make is not filling the FAFSA out because they think their family income is too high. This could not be further from the truth. Every family, regardless of income, has an EFC (estimated family contribution)
number and the LOWER your EFC, the more aid you will receive. Even if you may not receive a
significant amount of financial aid, you should still complete the FAFSA because it can act as an
insurance policy for your son/daughter’s education. If there is a change or loss of income or an
emergency in your family; you will not be eligible for college funds if you do not complete the
FAFSA on an annual basis.
The first date you may submit the FAFSA is January 1 of senior year. Submit the FAFSAS on
this date or as soon after as possible! University financial aid budgets are limited and are
awarded on a first come first serve basis, so the earlier you submit your FAFSA, the better your
chances of receiving aid. Each college/university has a specific deadline and at a certain point,
the money does run out.
National Letter of Intent
The National Letter of Intent is a voluntary program administered by the NCAA Eligibility
Center. When you sign NLI, your child agrees to attend the institution for one academic year. In
exchange, that institution must provide athletics financial aid for one academic year. If you have
questions about the NLI call 317-223-0706 or visit the NLI Web site at www.national-letter.org
During high school, agents may contact your child and show interest in representing them.
NCAA rules do not prevent meeting or discussions with an agent. However, your child may
jeopardize their eligibility in a sport if they agree, verbally or in writing, to be represented by an
agent while attending high school or college, regardless of whether the agreement becomes
effective immediately or after their last season of college eligibility. Accepting gifts, either the
athlete or parent, can also jeopardize college eligibility.
During high school, you might be contacted by a scouting/recruiting service. The NCAA does
not sanction or endorse any of these services. Remember, a scouting/recruiting service cannot
base its fee on the amount of the student’s scholarship. There cannot be any money back guarantee.
Questions and Answers
Q- When does a student become a prospective athlete (prospect)?
A- A student becomes a prospect starting in the 9th grade.
Q- When can a student athlete receive phone calls from a college recruit?
A- On or after July 1st of the student’s senior year.
Q- What is considered contact with a collegiate recruiter?
A- Any face-to-face contact with a collegiate recruiter is considered contact.
Q- When can a student/athlete receive recruiting material?
A- The day of and after September 1st of the student’s junior year.
Q- How many unofficial visits is a student athlete allowed?
A- A student athlete can take unlimited unofficial visits to any institution prior to his or her senior year. An Unofficial visit is when a student does not make an appointment prior to visiting an institution and pays the normal institutional fee’s that come along with a visit, such as meals, staying overnight at the dorms, going to an event, etc.
Q- How many official visits can a student/athlete make during their senior year?
A- A student/athlete can take a maximum of five and another 5 after you graduate. An Official visit is an appointment made by the student/athlete to visit a particular institution.
Q- Does a student/athlete have to register with the NCAA Clearinghouse?
A- Yes, if you want to play for an NCAA school. They must receive your ACT/SAT test scores, high school transcripts. For information go to: www.ncaa.org
Q- In Division I or II are facsimiles and other electronically transmitted correspondence considered telephone calls?
A- No, they are not considered to be phone calls. (NCAA Rule: 12.02.13). In Division I, prearranged electronically transmitted correspondence between an authorized institutional staff member and one or more prospects is considered a telephone call.
Q- Does the NCAA have restrictions on scheduling classes around practice?
A- NCAA rules prevent you from missing class for practice.
Q- Does a full-ride last for four years?
A- Athletics financial aid is available on a one-year, renewable basis.
Q- If I suffer a career-ending injury is scholarship money available to help me complete my college career?
A- Not every institution continues to provide an athletic scholarship to a student-athlete who can no longer compete because of a career-ending injury.
Q- What is a contact?
A- A contact occurs any time a coach has any face-to-face contact with you or your parents off the college campus and says more than hello. A contact also occurs if a coach has any contact with you or your parents at your high school or any location where you are competing or practicing.
Q- What is a contact period?
A- During this time, a college coach may have in-person contact with you/and or your parents on or off the college’s campus. The coach may watch you play or visit your high school. You and your parents may visit a college campus and the coach may write and telephone you during this period.
Q- What is the Dead Period?
A- The college coach may not have any in-person contact with you or parents at any time during the dead period. They can write or all you or your parents during this time.
Q- How many scholarships are available to NCAA Division 1 soccer programs?
A- Not all athletic scholarships are full ride scholarships like football and basketball, so called “head count sports”; most are classed as “equivalency sports’, like soccer. Put simply this means that coaches can” share” their allocation between a larger number of players. The NCAA allows each division 1 soccer program 9.9 scholarships for men and 14 for women. In NCAA Division 2 the ratio is 9 for men and 9.9 for women. This number of scholarships available is always subject to change. There are many things that can change the number at a program. So always ask!
Q- Do all associations (NCAA-Div. 1 & 2, NAIA, etc.) offer the same number of Scholarships? And if not, how can I get this information?
A- No. They do not offer the same number of scholarships opportunities. For example, JUCO Soccer is played at the division 1 and 3 level for both men and women but sports scholarships are only offered for division 1. NAIA college soccer scholarships can vary per college for each NAIA soccer team. It is always best to refer to the association or check with the school to verify the rules.
Always remember to ask questions. You can contact your Club’s Director of Coaching, your high school coach, your club coach, and players you know that have been through the process.