Attending ID clinics as a HS Sophomore 2023 - girls soccer

I have a HS daughter class of 2023 - soccer player. List is narrowing a bit but still primarially NESCACs. She has been doing the emails, videos, did an unofficial drive through visit for some. She has gotten email response from many and some personalized. When should she start attending the ID camps? Do you ask the coaches this question?

We live several driving hours away and many of those offered by third parties conflict with club games and tournaments. She will have to end up picking and choosing - any recommendations from those already through the process?


I think this spring and summer is a good time to start going to ID clinics and camps – especially this summer. Some of the NESCACS will only look at a player who comes to their ID clinics. And the multi-day camps in the summer are a good opportunity to be seen. You never know what might happen during junior year that could prevent her from being seen (injuries, etc) so I would do a few now. She can always go back to another clinic next school year.

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Thank you for your advice.

It varies by school, of course, but some ID clinics are nothing more than fundraisers for schools, not real opportunities. My S19 was a top club and HS varsity soccer player and found this to be true quite often. Check out the camps before you invest in travel, hotels, the costs of the clinics themselves.

ETA - You mentioned that many of the camps are offered by third parties. Sometimes these third parties rent the college’s facilities to give the impression that the college is putting it on. That may or may not be true.

Make sure to cast a wide net, doing what you are doing…emailing, sending video, making school visits. NESCACs won’t make decisions until the summer after junior year. Talk to the coaches about what camps they will attend in person, and get the low down on their own camps. Yes, their own camps are money makers, but some recruit nearly exclusively from those.

Thoughts? @cinnamon1212 @GKUnion

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That you’ve already been communicating with coaches is the important part. None of the 20’s, 21’s and 22’s ever thought a worldwide pandemic would halt sports and contribute to a 15 month recruiting dead period. Starting the process early is imperative.

As for third party camps, many are money maker cattle calls. If there are a few schools you’ve already been communicating with it may be worth her while. Individual school camps would be best at your daughter’s 3-4 front runners.

The game/tournament conflict piece is difficult. Pre-Covid how many coaches would be on the sideline for regular season games at your club for the U16-U18 age groups? How about for tournaments? Coaches want to see your daughter compete against the best possible opponents. I would always choose a game with several recruiting coaches in attendance over a camp, as long as my child would be guaranteed to play meaningful minutes. If the conflict is a game against a lower tier team at which there would be few, if any coaches, I’d have your daughter talk to her coach about attending the camp. You have an important 16-18 month window ahead of you that you only get one shot at. If your daughter is really serious about NESCAC soccer, she has the grades and her coaches think it’s a realistic soccer fit then they should be supportive of her missing one or two games(not playoffs obviously).

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No matter how you slice it, you are going to have to pick and choose. It sounds easy to plan for going to a number of camps doing the summer, but it can be a lot of travel and wear and tear on the soccer body. Also, there is the mental stress of thinking that your whole life lies in the balance of how you perform. And, there is the thing of having a life (and a club soccer team).

We always started with a local, low stress camp to get the feel for camps. Then ask the coaches at schools of interest which camps they will be attending. Wherever you choose, make sure to contact the coaches in advance and tell them that you will be in attendance.

I won’t deny that the camps can be money-maker cattle calls. The college camps should be less so, and often are combined with campus tours and (perhaps a thing of the past) an admissions interview. I honestly don’t believe that the college camps are huge money makers with their attendant expenses (insurance, room and board where included), although they probably are fund raisers for the team. The more likely flaw is that in order to be able to have meaningful games, coaches invite large numbers to the camps and there may be folks in attendance that will not be true recruits.

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I echo what the others have written. On campus ID clinics (you only need to go to one day if they are multiday) are the best for recruiting in my opinion. We did four on campus events the summer before junior year, and one that fall. And then COVID hit in the Spring. They were by far the most effective thing my son did in terms of recruiting. We always tacked on a second day to attend the info session and take the campus tour (most of the schools did not incorporate them into the ID clinic).

Looking back now, I think attending more on campus events would have been better, but that is due to COVID; in a normal year I think our plan was fine.

I would not ask the coaches whether your daughter should attend the camps, the answer I would imagine would always be “yes”. Attend camps where she is likely to stand out (i.e. check the roster for player bios and see if she fits with their standard); attend camps where she’s likely to be interested in the school and this will allow her to get to know the school better, and the soccer program, and will allow the coach to get to know her. Attend different types of schools, unless your daughter is firm on the kind of school she wants (i.e. urban/rural, bigger/smaller etc).

I am uncertain as to the value of camps run by third parties, my son never did one. My guess is that they are much less useful. But, it all depends which coaches are attending – if your top choice school will be there, then it’s probably worthwhile.

Best of luck!