The Truth About Recruitment

In the recruiting world, many athletes and families assume that they “have it all figured out” only to watch their inefficient search grind to a halt with missed opportunities and ill-advised decisions. Dreams can come true—but not without planning, hard work, and accountability. A major obstacle for many families are the common myths and half-truths that surround the recruitment process. Explore the table below to educate yourself on some of these misconceptions, and contact us to take full advantage of our recruitment experience and resources.

MYTH 1: “Talented high school and club players are actively recruited by coaches at D1 schools.”

THE TRUTH:

Only 2% of soccer athletes are actively recruited by coaches. The remaining 98% of athletes must be proactive in their own promotional campaign for a suitable collegiate place to play.

MYTH 2: “I will get a 4-year athletic scholarship to play.”

THE TRUTH:

 

The NCAA specifies that Athletic scholarships can only be extended on a year-by-year basis, and the college coach determines renewal. While credible institutions are hesitant to discontinue or diminish a scholarship without justified cause (or if the student-athlete is still making athletic and/or “character contributions” to a team), the reality is that student-athletes are recruited to do a job: persevere and perform in the classroom and on the soccer pitch. Problems that stem from poor academic performance (currently earning below a 2.0 GPA), a violation of a student conduct code, “Diminished Athletic Output,” and/or injuries are all common reasons for the loss of athletic money for players. The best approach is to prepare during the college selection/recruitment phase of a student-athlete’s career, and to be thoroughly familiar with each potential school’s policies.

MYTH 3: “I might not be much of a student, but my soccer skills are enough to get me recruited.”

THE TRUTH:

 

The two questions the college coaches ask first are:

  1. Is this player a good student?
  2. Does this player have strength of character to manage themselves in a college environment?

Your soccer skills may initially get a coach’s attention, but those skills plus good academic performance and high integrity are essential for recruitment.

MYTH 4: “Being a member of a prestigious club or championship team is all I need to get recruited.”

THE TRUTH:

 

The performance of your team does not guarantee you a college opportunity. Players must be actively communicating with coaches and following up with those interactions. Until you start communicating with coaches, you are essentially invisible to them. Coaches are focused on many players expressing an interest in playing collegiate soccer on their team. Recruiting coaches do not have time for a player that expresses no interest.

MYTH 5: “Attending every possible camp and playing additional summer league and winter league is my best chance to get a scholarship."

THE TRUTH:

 

Good players have real opportunities for Athletic Scholarships; however, the availability of Scholastic Scholarships far outweighs the availability of Athletic Scholarships.

Also, young players are incurring overuse injuries at an alarming rate, and well-intentioned parents may be overspending for every possible camp and playing opportunity. Be selective about the camps you fund and clear about your families priorities.

MYTH 6: “Parent Agents get their players recruited.”

THE TRUTH:

 

College coaches are cautious of Athletes when their parents do the communicating. Is this athlete immature or disinterested in playing? Coaches want to talk to players, not their parents. The player’s ability to communicate their passion to play, their questions and concerns, and their interests and struggles are persuasive and influential for recruiting coaches. Beginning a relationship with your future coach is the first step to finding your name on a college roster.

MYTH 7: “I got an invitation to a college ID camp, so surely that coach will recruit me.”

THE TRUTH:

 

College programs send thousands of invitations to camps. The purpose of camps is to generate funds for the program and to see a small number of predetermined players. These camps give the “elite players” the opportunity to get onto a campus, see the facility, and interact with the coach and the team.

Each year Coaches begin their recruiting process with a large number of athletes in the “recruiting funnel”. Coaches see a small percentage of these players actually play. Then they pursue a select percentage of those players. Finally, the college coach recruits about 6–10 athletes a year for their programs. Some of these players will be on scholarship, other will not, and a small number may be walk-ons that are able to try out at the beginning of a season for an available roster spot. An invitation to a college camp is not an indication that you will be recruited.