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ID Camps - soccer

2

Replies to: ID Camps - soccer

  • Time2ShineTime2Shine 215 replies12 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @eb23282 For the most part, it worked out as you'd expect for a freshman sending an initial email to several coaches across mostly D1 schools with several Northeast Ivy and NESCAC schools included as well.

    Almost all the D1 schools replied with the standard "thank you, here's our camp info" form email.

    There were 2 ACC schools that sent back much more personalized emails that demonstrated that an actual human spent some time reading his info and watching his included video. Of those 2 schools, one replied in a way that included all the emails back and forth between the head coach and assistant about my son, and that was quite interesting.

    Several NESCAC head coaches replied with personal emails that indicated they had seen him before and would come watch him play at one of the showcases, or during the season. An Ivy head coach replied and asked for his spring schedule.

    As for the content of his email, each was personalized to the individual school and was sent to every coach's actual email address, not just the one they post on their bio that goes directly to recruiting. It had an introductory 2 sentence paragraph that detailed why he wanted to play at their particular university. The second paragraph was 5 sentences that communicated his high school, club team, head coach and his accomplishments/stats. After the intro he posted a link to a recent full match video and a corresponding link to a match recap by the opposing MLS club that complimented him for an excellent performance. He also included the actual times on the video where he touched the ball so the coaches could simply jump to his highlights rather than watch 90 minutes of soccer. He finished up with 2 sentences about academics and his goals.

    Of the 35 he emailed 11 came to watch a match at the showcase. His club sends out a list of every coach they spoke to, and confirmed attendance of, on the sideline. He played all 90 minutes in 2 matches and those were attended by 72 coaches from schools from CA to New England.

    Now, he's a freshman so I'm not kidding myself about any of this. I know how driven to succeed he is so I'm honestly not worried about him making a college team somewhere, in some division. I simply want to make sure it's the right school for him without soccer before he commits to the athletic piece. What I don't anticipate is getting much of anything financially in athletic dollars when things finally fall into place. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm going into this process viewing everything with a jaundiced eye. I'll do everything I can to support him and I'll offer advice about conduct & character off the field, but once he steps between the posts there's nothing I can help him with.
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  • gointhruaphasegointhruaphase 519 replies3 threadsRegistered User Member
    @Time2Shine, I know you meant to say "fingers taped" not "fingers crossed." And while you are at it, you may as well tape up the nose as well. All of the appendages should be reinforced.

    I didn't mention the stress of "playing through" breaks as a no. 1 keeper, especially finger breaks.

    It really sounds like your head is in the right place. Make sure he studies hard and enjoys his time in high school soccer. It does change a bit in college.
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  • Time2ShineTime2Shine 215 replies12 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @gointhruaphase Sadly there isn't any high school soccer in his future unless he changes his mind and leaves his current team.
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  • eb23282eb23282 522 replies16 threadsRegistered User Member
    @Time2Shine I really hate that about the DA system and the kids do too. But I find that many do come back to HS soccer their Jr or Sr year, once they've got a good idea of where they'll be going to college. My son had an opportunity to play in the DA and he refused, citing the HS rules as one of many reasons.
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  • Time2ShineTime2Shine 215 replies12 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Agreed @eb23282 , my life would be a lot less hectic without DA in it. The sad part is that his high school has a very strong soccer program. They haven't missed the playoffs in over 30 years in the top division in the state. He's feeling a lot of pressure to play from coaches, players, teachers and friends at this point. He'll have a tough decision to make come the summer.
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  • eb23282eb23282 522 replies16 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited February 22
    @time2shine Depending on where you live, there are plenty of teams not in the DA that will give him the exposure he needs to play at the next level. And those teams usually provide a lot more flexibility in terms of commitment level. And to circle back to this thread topic, he can always go to the school ID camps. Good luck whatever route you choose.
    edited February 22
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  • lucky18lucky18 31 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @timetoshine How did your son make out at the camp?
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  • eb23282eb23282 522 replies16 threadsRegistered User Member
  • Time2ShineTime2Shine 215 replies12 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @lucky18 He held his own as a freshman playing against primarily juniors and seniors, which is the best he could have realistically hoped for. He looked like he belonged on the field. Now he needs to work towards being able to stand out next year.

    The first hour for him was keeper specific training. He has good technique, quick feet and always catches and controls the ball well. The drills helped him get in the groove and quelled any nervous energy he might have had.

    The second hour consisted of 4 small sided games for every keeper in very tight quarters. The keepers were constantly under the gun to stop shots, and most of the time the offense was too much to overcome at point blank range.

    After a break for lunch there was a recruiting discussion. They split the players into one group and the parents into another. The players had 30-40 minutes to ask questions of several current players from the team. The parents had the same time and opportunity to ask questions, but of the head coach. Because my son is a 2022, they had to segregate him in a different room due to NCAA regulations. He spent that time, with the 5 other players that were freshmen and sophomores, talking with an assistant coach about their soccer clubs, high school and life in general.

    Some take-aways from the coach's Q&A:

    On international players - There is a school of thought among D1 coaches that they can allocate less scholarship dollars per international player, on average, than is expected by American DA and high-level club players. I found this interesting. I'm sure the club players and parents are hoping to recoup as much of the money they've invested in high level pay-to-play soccer by garnering scholarships. With only 9.9 scholarships per team (on the men's side) the resources available to the coaches to attract and retain players is limited, especially when they carry 25-30 players on a roster.

    On recruiting videos - The wider the geographic appeal of the team, the more they initially rely on video. Also, it's a function of the programs recruiting budget as well. Video may be the only way a school might notice players from distant states. One caveat, a quality video is a useful tool, but a very low-quality video can get you relegated to the trash heap in a hurry. Programs get hundreds of videos so take the time to create a good one that stands out.

    On being "discovered" in camp - There are no broad statistical studies of how many rostered players came through a camp. At this particular Mid-major program, the coach shared that last season's roster had 45% of the players come through one of their camps. Now, that doesn't mean they were necessarily discovered in camp. Many times, players that are being recruited are asked to come to camp for further evaluation so that may skew the percentage.

    On when to attend a camp - The camp was 90% juniors and seniors. The juniors were in the recruiting sweet spot and the seniors are obviously at the very tail end at this point. The coach admitted that they already had a fairly robust sophomore list of potential players to scout and were just about to begin compiling a list of freshmen to target. He said freshman parents at this particular camp unwittingly lucked out because their players had a jump on being identified and added to the list. The moral of the story seemed to be the need for boys to start the process earlier than parents might expect going forward.

    On how many players taken per class year - There are ebbs and flows in the number of players taken each year. A good standard to assume would be 6-8 players per class. They generally carry 4 keepers but under some circumstance they might extend it to 5. If they had a heavy recruiting class the year prior, they obviously reduce the number of recruits they bring in the next year. Pay attention to the ages and graduation years of current rostered players. Also monitor how many players transfer out of the programs you are interested in.

    On PG years - They occasionally favor players that take a PG year because it's another year for them to grow and develop physically (as long as they continue to compete at a high level during that year). It's the same reason they like most international players. They come in one or two years older than traditional freshman. Personally, I know several people that transitioned to private schools after their freshman year of high school and reclassified their kids as freshman again. That's another way to differentiate a player physically.

    On academics - Make sure you take care of business during high school and come in with the highest GPA and strongest schedule you can manage. They look for players that they won't need to worry about off the field, in a college classroom. Your demonstrated ability to manage club/high school sports and maintain high grades generally correlates to a college student that can successfully adapt to the rigors of athletics and academics at that level. They have academic advisors and a dedicated academic support center that is open to all athletes on campus to help with study habits and tutors while you’re enrolled. Their goal is to maintain a team GPA > 3.0.

    To be continued…






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  • Time2ShineTime2Shine 215 replies12 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Continued…

    On recruiting services – They virtually never correspond with recruiting services. There may be potential players that utilize these services, but they almost never play a constructive role in the process, at least at the D1 level. He did say that these services could help to cast a wide net and would most likely benefit those players who are open minded about playing in D2, D3 and NAIA. The reason they don’t lean on recruiting services is simply supply and demand. They have more recruits trying to make the team than they have spots. He said at some D2 and D3 schools they hold out a few roster spots incase the find a diamond in the rough whereas most D1 schools have their rosters locked up by Christmas of the recruits’ senior year of high school.

    On high school soccer – The only thing he offered is that they never scout a high school soccer game. I’m sure that’s at least partially a function of most high school soccer seasons conflicting with their own fall soccer season.

    On picking the right school – The coach couldn’t stress this enough. If you are good enough to contribute, they really want you to come to school, but they want it to be the right school for you. They want you to do an overnight and spend time with the team. They want you to spend as much time on campus prior to making your decision as possible. The last thing they want is for you to be unhappy and transfer because, in his own words, “The transfer process can be brutal.”

    On time allowed to accept an offer – If you are one of the first recruits, and therefore a top recruit, you get more latitude in terms of time allowed to make your decision. Many times, it’s a function of how many other schools are also vying for the player in question. If you are one of the last roster spots offered, later in the process, you may only have a week or two to decide because they have other players of a similar caliber on their board and they’re looking to lock things down.

    On which positions they plan to recruit – Of course there will be years where they have an obvious need for a specific position. In general, though, they try to recruit the best soccer players, not necessarily the best at their position. He explained that he has several players currently on the roster that contribute at positions they weren’t playing prior to college. They appreciate versatility and adaptability.


    After the recruiting seminar the players headed back out to the fields for 11v11 scrimmages. They had enough players for 2 full 11v11 matches, with subs. They positioned 2 keepers at every net, and they rotated in for half of each half…if that makes sense. The matches were about 30 minutes and each team got the chance to play every other team. My son’s team won all three matches and he managed to keep a clean sheet across all the scrimmages.

    At the conclusion of the scrimmages they brought all the players together for a final discussion. I have no idea what was said because I was at least 75 yards away. Then the coaches handed out a nice soccer t-shirt to each player and sent the kids on their way.

    Some thoughts about this particular camp (and our very first camp):

    It was very well run, and the coach was extremely open and candid with his answers to questions from parents. He was careful in the language he used for his replies, but that is understandable.

    I had heard general ID Camp horror stories about the “identified players” being quickly segregated into a separate group, to be evaluated by the coaches, while all other players were relegated to other fields where they’d get less attention. That absolutely did not happen in this camp. The way they rotated both the small sided and 11v11 matches ensured that everyone got the chance to play everyone else. Now, were there times that more coaches may have been on a particular sideline? Of course, and that should be expected. For the most part the head coach was positioned on an elevated platform between the 2 fields they were utilizing.

    Were there players there that the coaches had obviously engaged in recruiting conversations prior to camp? Without question, they were very familiar with several of the older players in attendance. Did they have any idea who my son was? Yes, but only because he had previously emailed them several times.

    All in all, it was a great learning experience for both my son and me. He and I have begun to research more local, multi-school camps to attend to increase his comfort level with the process and expand his sphere of influence. He needs to get in front of coaches from schools at every level of the NCAA pyramid so he doesn’t pigeonhole himself and miss out on schools that could eventually be the perfect fit for him athletically, academically and socially.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22690 replies15 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Remember you can combine merit aid and athletic aid at D1 and D2 schools (if the grades are good enough in high school, but if he's getting merit, they should be high enough).

    You said athletically, academically, and socially, but for us it was athletically, academically and financially. We were so lucky to find that.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5597 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Thanks, @twoinanddone . This is all in the rear view mirror for us, but this would have been extremely helpful to me if this was still in front of us!
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  • Time2ShineTime2Shine 215 replies12 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @twoinanddone I agree with your logic on the financial piece as well. My son says he'll go anywhere that provides him financial support of any type as long as he gets to play soccer. That being said, he would prefer to go out of state for school, which could complicate things financially.
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  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys 4012 replies27 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @Time2Shine Thank you for taking the time to write that detailed report on your GK's camp! That will be a great resource for families in the future. Best of luck to your kid as you move through the process!
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  • lucky18lucky18 31 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Great to hear he had a good experience and that it was a well-run, organized and informative camp (I get the sense that that is not always the case). I echo others gratitude for the time you took to share your insights.

    In a conversation recently with a parent of a current sophomore, I was advised that it's too early as a freshman to begin the process. Much of what I have heard, however, indicates otherwise, and you've reiterated that for me.

    Again, thanks for the info. Enjoying this thread and hoping we can keep it alive!
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  • Time2ShineTime2Shine 215 replies12 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I'll try to re-cap each camp he does. The next one will most likely be a large, multi-school residential camp early this summer.
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  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 357 replies4 threadsRegistered User Member
    I'd love to keep this thread going! My son attended the Dartmouth, Amherst and Uconn soccer camps last year as a 9th grader, to get his feet wet. They were all big, and the level of soccer was really bad. I would lean against doing another summer multiday camp as a result. The one positive was that the Wesleyan asst coach, who coached my son's team during one of the camps told my son he would be watching him.

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  • dogsmama1997dogsmama1997 435 replies29 threadsRegistered User Member
    Thank you @cinnamon1212 We decided we won't be doing camps until next summer. Mostly based on feedback here and from a mom on our team with an older daughter. I am hoping the new rules slow things down so we can focus on highschool for a year!
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  • AmBuddhaAmBuddha 30 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Camps are probably best viewed as one prong of a multi-faceted approach, assuming your son doesn't attract attention just from playing (which is what happens for some of the standouts in a league like the Dev Academy or ECNL). Moving past the obvious players, it's up to the rest of the players to "help" the coaches find them ;). Go to as many camps as you can tolerate (some kids don't like notion of "being on display") and use camps as a way to check out the rest of the school. Email coaches and see if they come to your games, particularly at showcases (which are setup for them so if they can't bother to stop by them that's a sign).

    Based on my son's experiences: he liked camps because he got to play more soccer. He didn't go to the big EXACT camps, but he had a narrow target of schools so went to camps by those schools. He wasn't an "obvious" recruit so he had to take the steps required to spark interest. So the camps were useful and we substituted them for campus visits for the most part.
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  • GKmom23GKmom23 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    thanks for this thread and all who contributed to it. i am enjoying reading your journey. My daughter is a goal keeper in the class of 2023, so will be entering HS next fall and we are getting tons of camp emails and she has started to attend some showcases, due to playing up with 04 and 03 teams this spring. She plays at a top level club and will be playing for a nationally ranked HS program in the fall. She isn't top D1 level talent but at this time would like to play in college and is a good student. I want to be ahead of the game a bit so I can be sure we don't miss anything, although her club has a great track record of getting girls to play in college and beyond, i figure the more i know the better so i will be following all of your posts with eager interest.
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