Fall is the time for high school soccer players to get serious about recruiting. College coaches start checking out a fresh crop of recruits in early August and continue evaluating them throughout the school year.
Here are some things you can do now to get a leg up on the competition:
Get a highlight tape together
You need a highlight tape to showcase your performance. Even coaches who are constantly checking out high school teams cannot be at every match during the season. The tape should be about five minutes long and include approximately 25 of your best plays. Be sure to highlight your skills on both offense and defense, including tackles, ball distribution, attack formations, confidence in dribbling and shots. Keepers should create a skills tape instead of 11-on-11 footage. Whenever possible, use highlights from your club season over highlights from your high school season.
Realistically assess yourself
Not every soccer player can play at the Division I level, and that’s OK. There are opportunities in Divisions II and III as well as at community colleges. If you are not playing at the Olympic development level, you are probably not Division I material. Look for programs that match your abilities.
Work on your grades
If your grades are poor, coaches will not give you serious consideration. Strive to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. If you’re having trouble in a particular subject, get a tutor. Your school, library or a nearby church or community center may offer free after-school tutoring. Standardized test results are crucial as well. A 24 on the ACT and a 1,000 on the SAT should be good starting points, but always look to improve your academic standing.
You must be proactive. Contact programs where you have a realistic chance at playing. A good number to start with is 25, but at the beginning of the recruiting process, more is always better. Use the internet to find contact information on coaching staffs. Send a simple introductory email that includes your information, what drew you to the program and why you would be a good fit. You can include your highlight tape or wait for a coach to ask for it.