Cross Country recruiting?

I usually post here about my soccer player, but he has a brother who runs who will be in 9th this fall. He plans to run cross country and outdoor track at school, and also train outside of school with his dad and sign up for races. When I ask him if he wants to run in college he says he definitely plans to run during college, but doesn’t really know one way or the other if he wants to compete in the NCAA or just do races on his own.

My soccer kid’s club is very into getting kids ready for recruitment, and suggests starting reaching out coaches in freshman year. Is that something my runner should be doing to keep doors open? Or is the time frame later?

To be honest, I don’t really know how he stacks up against other athletes.

No, there’s no rush at all. Track and XC are late recruiting sports with most of the meaningful stuff happening after fall of junior year, sometimes well after, especially for boys. For now I’d just give him the opportunity to get comfortable with the sport and the training and see if he finds the sort of joy in both that is necessary for long term development.

As far as training with dad and entering races: at a decent to good HS program, kids will be guided through year round training, usually training with teammates. They’ll be racing September into November and March into June. Some states have indoor seasons in the winter. There isn’t much time for additional racing and unless it’s guided by someone who knows what they’re doing, it can really harm long term development and contribute to burnout. So I’d be careful.

The good news, as you mention, is that there are opportunities to keep running in college at all levels—independently, club team, or school team.


Absolutely agree with all points of @politeperson’s post. We have a rising junior, who is just at the very beginning of the recruiting process as it just started within the past few weeks. I also concur that, even when technically in the off-seasons of winter and summer, most high school coaches give, if not direct weekly workout schedules, substantial guidelines for how to continue running in a way that fits in the larger scheme of the coach’s development plan for the athlete. Doing runs/races on their own sometimes fits that plan and sometimes harms it. Unless your coach wraps up cross country by saying “see you in March for track” and wraps up track by saying “see you in the fall for XC,” follow whatever system they set up and check with them before adding your own races.

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I agree that the recruiting tends to be a little later than other sports.

You also have the advantage of a more streamlined recruiting process with a runner as all their times are easily available to coaches. My 2023D is a soccer player and runner. I have often found myself wishing she would run in college instead of play soccer!


Thanks everyone! That’s very reassuring. I’m relatively sure he won’t want to be recruited, but not so sure that I want that door to close. So, if I can wait a couple years to do anything, that’s perfect!

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My 2023 has went back and forth the fist couple years in high school. College soccer or run in college. Then it was neither. Her junior year she decided on soccer and hasn’t looked back.,but I can see her doing spring track if she ends up at one of the D3 schools for soccer since the coaches said they would support it.

Cast a wide net and keep options open…hard to say what they will decide on. Good luck!

Abby Steiner was a soccer/track recruit for the University of Kansas. With her amazing sprinting success this year, I hope that we see more soccer kids take up track.

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Of course I was wrong, and apologies to Kentucky!

I think there are a lot of people who run and play soccer, but my runner and my soccer player are two different kids. Neither particularly enjoys the other sport.

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