Good for you and your son that he is looking ahead.
There are other posters on here who know the soccer process first hand. My kids were recruited for softball and baseball. They missed the last cut for Ivies (going through prereads but not getting an “offer”), but had “offers” for academic D3’s, including NESCACs, MIT and Caltech. So what follows below is pretty general.
Let’s look at three different parts: athletic, academic and money.
On the athletic side, there are various contact rules governing when and how a coach can communicate with recruits. https://www.ncsasports.org/mens-soccer/recruiting-rules-calendar. By and large, there no limits to how and when you can contact the coach. The key is to start developing a list of schools that fit your kid athletically and academically. You then start to try to get your kid on radar screens. This can be done through a combination of filling in recruiting questionnaires on the teams’ website, providing a resume on athletic achievement/honors, providing tape (game and skills) and at some point attending camps (could be large camps involving a bunch of schools or school specific where there may be some other coaches) where you know certain coaches will be in attendance. Besides exposure, camps are very useful in assessing your kid’s athletic level. Unless your kid is some phenom, it is up to the student to get on radar screens. We did notice that for D, the process seemed to start earlier as girls physically mature at a younger age. For S, he started to get some looks summer of sophomore, but the funnel really narrowed summer of junior.
For most selective schools, there are academic minimums that the coaches know they have to meet to pass muster with the AO. At some point, if a coach is interested, they will ask for grades and test scores to determine if the recruit is going to hit academic minimums for his/her school. The Ivies uses a calculated academic index (inputs are grades and standardized test scores). There is an absolute minimum for any individual, a minimum average for all recruited athletes and usually team minimums that the AD sets to ensure that the overall minimum is met, allowing lower standards for certain sports to be made up by other sports. Other schools use “bands” which groups recruits academically (again based on grades and test scores), with a lower number of spots allocated for low bands. The important point though is the coach has got to want you as an athlete first before he or she will use one of their chips for you. Some coaches at some schools (including Ivies) have a limited number of slots they can use. If you get a slot and the AO signs off on you in a preread that they will do sometime during/after summer of junior year, you are pretty much in. Some schools only allow the coach a “tip”, which does not guarantee admissions, but super charges the sport as an EC. MIT and Caltech are good examples. Some schools (many LAC’s that uses bands) allow the coach a limited number of slots but will also allow for “tips”. It is important as you narrow the field, that you understand the level of support each coach is willing to give your kid – is it a true slot, a real tip, or will they just put in an informal good word.
On the money, it is true that some of the wealthier private schools D3 schools offer very generous financial aid. Some may have merit. But for both cases what they can offer is no different than what would have been offered if your kid was not a recruit. Soccer is an equivalency sport for D1 (9.9 scholarships) and D2 (9). The coach can allocate the money as he/she sees fit, but it usually means that athletes get partials each year.
Friends who have gone through the process recently are good sources. Some coaches of club teams are good sources (others not so much, especially for D3). A lot of these camps also do a recruiting primer for parents. As you get closer, don’t be afraid to have open discussions with coaches. While they probably don’t want to talk to you about where your daughter is athletically, I have found them to be pretty transparent about the process and money and talking to parents about that.