According to recruiting expert and Sacred Heart University pitching coach Wayne Mazzoni, a reputable reference—"somebody who actually carries some weight"—is a valuable asset in your support network.
Track down these three neutral parties, introduce yourself via email or a phone call, and determine whether they would be willing to talk to a coach on your behalf.
Think of all former teammates as potential contacts. Even a former opponent, one who currently plays for the program you're targeting, can serve as a reliable source, because he or she can speak about your athletic abilities first-hand.
"Any time I hear from a current player about another player they played with in high school, I'm interested," says Mazzoni. "Generally, they're spot-on with their assessment of how good that player is."
Think broadly. Anyone who played for a team you hope to join can help you get noticed. It might be a friend of a friend, someone who knows an older sibling or a summer league coach. Alumni know what it takes to compete in the program to which you aspire.
"Alums know the program and the level of play," Mazzoni says. "They are insiders, and if they tell us there's an athlete worth taking a look at, we're going to take that very seriously."
"If we can find a neutral coach with previous knowledge of the athlete, that's a tremendous help to us," says Jorge Salcedo, head coach of the UCLA men's soccer team. "They have an idea of who you are as a player, as well as an understanding of the experience you've had."
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