Your Guide To College Soccer Recruiting – 6 Tips

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College soccer recruiting is becoming an integral part of the path to becoming a professional soccer player in the United States. 

As a current college soccer player and someone who has gone through the recruiting process with Division 1 schools, I’m familiar with what it takes to get noticed by your favorite schools. 

Getting recruited can seem impossible for some. Soccer recruiting is different from other sports such as basketball and football. 

In this article, I’ll go over 6 tips for getting recruited for college soccer.

College Soccer Recruiting

College soccer doesn’t have as much money to use on scholarships as other sports in America. In fact, title IX makes it so the funds allocated to athletic scholarships are proportionate to both male and female athletes. This means that Men’s soccer only has a limited amount of players they can give athletic scholarships to. For men’s D1 teams, they can offer 9.9, while women’s D1 teams can offer up to 14. 

Players have 6 calendar years to complete 4 years of eligibility for their team. Transfers are a regular occurrence in men’s soccer and the transfer portal acts as a shopping place for top coaches to select the talent they want. 

College soccer recruiting is a changing environment and that is why I have put together these 6 tips to get noticed by colleges. 

Here are the 6 tips:
1- Start Early
2- Grades Matter
3- Build Relationships With Coaches
4- Create Recruiting Material: Player Profiles, Highlight Reels
5- Attend Camps And Showcases
6- Learn How To Email Coaches

Start Early

One of the best things you can do for your soccer career is to get on top of your recruitment at an early age. The earlier the better, but we recommend your freshman year of high school or 9th grade. 

Start getting game film by having a relative film for you and really develop the key aspects of your game during this time. This is also a great time to become familiar with what type of program you want to play for. Watching college soccer and knowing which conferences are highly competitive can give you an edge early on. You can tailor your recruitment to a list of programs and conferences that you already know you want to play for. 

If you are above the recommended age, don’t worry. It’s not uncommon to find people who are in their late 20s playing college soccer.

Grades Matter

Grades really do matter and if you think that you can rely solely on getting an athletic scholarship your chances may be more slim than you think. 

Getting good grades is something that can really make or break your recruitment. Coaches can like everything about your game and then see your GPA and turn you away because they don’t have any more athletic scholarships to give out. 

If you can get an academic scholarship it increases your chance to play college soccer. Many coaches will tell you this at camps and tournaments. So do yourself a favor and work hard in school.

Build Relationships With Coaches

An unfortunate part of sports is that they can be political at times. Building relationships with coaches from club and academy soccer can benefit you greatly. College coaches ask for recommended players from the club coach. If you don’t have a strong relationship with your coach then it’s likely you won’t be their first recommendation. 

Get to know your coaches at your club. Connect with other coaches throughout the league and be intentional about your desire to play college soccer. Coaches want to help you if they know you need help. 

As you get closer to graduating high school, all these connections can become advocates for you and help you get recruited. 

Create Recruiting Material: Player Profiles, Highlight Reels

This is my high school highlight reel. It isn’t perfect but helped me immensely in the recruiting process.

This is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Create a professional soccer resume and highlight reel that you can send to hundreds of coaches. 

The player profile should be clean and simplistic. Include your position, GPA, club(s), soccer achievements/awards, and any statistics that stand out (Ex. 21 goals and 14 assists in the 2023 fall season). 

Your highlight reel needs to be condensed. It can be tempting to include loads of footage but the harsh reality is that coaches don’t have time to watch your 10-minute highlight reel. They have 3 minutes. Put your best goals, assists, saves (for goalkeepers), and tackles at the beginning. 

Your goal is to catch their attention within the first 20 seconds. Try and fill the reel with these elements and add skills where necessary. Coaches want to see that you will contribute to the team. 

Attend Camps And Showcases

The opportunity to play in front of college coaches is rare but college camps and showcases give the coaches front-row seats to watch you play. So far, we’ve discussed a lot that doesn’t focus on your talent and hard work. 

These events are the time to show for your game and everything you’ve put into it. Coaches will look at different things. Be conscious of your pass completion, positioning, defensive work rate, and of course, scoring goals and getting assists. 

There are numerous youth showcases that your team can play for at the top level. Here are a few: Disney Showcase, Dallas Cup, and Surf Cup. These three showcases attract the top coaches in the nation. 

If your team doesn’t play in these showcases, look into college ID camps near you. If you are confident in your ability and have a connection with an out-of-state school it could be beneficial going to their ID camp as well.

Learn How To Email Coaches

The first step is to acquire the coach’s email. This can be found on their program’s website. Just search ‘Stanford Mens Soccer’ and go to their page where you can navigate to their contact information

Here is a popular email format that can help you get responses:

Subject Line: Recruiting Class, Position, GPA, ACT, League, Club 

Intro: Dear Coach [Smith], 

Body: Congratulate them on their previous season, and program success. (Mention specific games) 

Express your interest in their program, state your position, and how your skills will work well with their program. 

Mention your major and your interest in the school’s academic program, and restate your GPA and ACT.

Conclusion: Thank them in advance and refer them to more information if they desire. Encourage them to click the link to your highlight reel and player profile.

Insert Highlight Reel and Player Profile.

What’s The Next Step?

If you found this article helpful and want to play or learn more about college soccer, check out our article on the best colleges for soccer.

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Ethan is the owner of Skillful Soccer and has over 20 years of playing experience. He is currently a collegiate soccer player and is thrilled to share his insights for all things related to soccer.

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