NESCAC Recruiting

I have a few questions, and maybe others do too. Anyway, my son is in the thick of soccer recruiting, and has taken the “cast a wide net” approach. He has 7 top schools, most of which are NESCACs. He has specifically asked where they are in their recruiting process, and the schools have confirmed he’s in the 2021 pool they are looking at.

I know it is a funnel, but for those who’ve been through this, what are the odds he ends up with an offer at one of his top 7? (He has another 10 “safety” schools from a soccer and academic point of view, so I would guess he’ll get an offer somewhere).

Second question: he’s attended ID camps at some of those schools, and a couple are suggesting he come back for another one day clinic. Yes? No? Is it a legitimate desire to see him play more (they have seen him play in tournaments outside the clinics he attended)? Or, without clear indication that they are REALLY interested is it not worth it?

Thanks in advance!

No experience with soccer, but do have experience with NESCAC baseball and softball. The pool is still pretty large at this point, so while the good news is that your son is in it, it’s very hard to tell where he ranks on the list. If the coaches are actively reaching out to him, vs responding to calls/emails that is a better sign. If you are at the top of the list, they will usually tell you. For us the hardcore recruiting for S did not start until the summer before senior year after 2 large showcases involving hundreds of kids and dozens of colleges (D1-D3). Softball was earlier as I get the sense since boys physically mature later, the coaches want to see how a boy is likely to fill out. There are a bunch of soccer parents on this site who can speak more authoritatively on men’s soccer.

As far as clinics are concerned, it is never a bad thing to be seen more often and to show interest. It’s purely a function of time and money. These clinics are supplemental income for the coaches, but it also gives them further opportunity to evaluate. We did some school clinics, but only ones where other schools/coaches that my kids were interested in were also present, but this was driven by cost/time issues since we live in flyover land and wanted to get the most bang for each trip.

It’s hard to handicap his chances. Has he asked each coach how big the pool of 2021s they are looking at is? The next real sign of interest will be if the coaches ask for a pre-read.

Most NESCAC coaches do not ask admissions to do a crazy high number of pre-reads relative to slots (admissions would be unhappy)…so getting a pre-read is significant. NESCAC pre-reads start July 1, some coaches will ask for the info in the last few weeks of June…typically test scores, unofficial 6 semester transcript, resume.

Is he certain he wants to play soccer in college? What I’m asking is if a coach ultimately does not give him a slot/full support with admissions is that school off the list of ones he will apply to?

It’s common that potential athletic recruits (especially D3) also have a separate list of schools where they would not play their sport…is this what some of his ‘safety’ schools are?

Some other observations:

–Visit all the schools and do the tours. I can’t stress enough that the kid has to want to attend the school as if there were no sport.

–The timing will get tricky…some coaches are quick to get pre-reads done July 1, others take their time, may not even request info until Aug or Sept. Then the issue is that a early pre-read/offer coach may want an answer before your S even knows he will get a pre-read, let alone an offer, at X school. Stay in touch with coaches to manage this.

–If he gets an offer from a lower choice first (that’s how it usually works!!), your S has to contact other coaches and tell them about the offer, and ask for an updated timeline. But no guarantees that other coaches will react quickly enough…which means your S may have to turn down an offer (if he didn’t like the school on a visit, really prefers elsewhere, etc.) without having another one in hand.

–Once an offer is made, make sure to understand the terminology being used (it differs by school). Ask something like ‘what proportion of students that you offered a slot/a tip/full support have been admitted’? Is an ED app necessary?

–If you will be applying for financial aid, ask for a financial aid pre-read, and understand how merit (if applicable) would work.

This is a tough one. For your S’s highly ranked schools it could make sense to go, if it’s affordable. It is fair to ask the coaches too…‘I attended X camp where you saw me, do you need to see me at this clinic’?

Ultimately you want to know not only how large the pool is, but where your S is ranked. It’s ok to ask…am I one of the top recruits, middle of the pack, should I be looking elsewhere? Obviously a balance is required…need for info, but don’t want to be seen as pushy.

D19’s process included 5 pre-reads, all at D3s (4 of 5 NESCACs). All positive/green light pre-reads. Ultimately 3 sport rejections as the funnel tightened in Aug and Sept. One offer in late August, visited, did not like the school, and took nearly two weeks to decline the offer with no other offers in hand.

Received an offer of full support from current school/coach on Oct 28(!!) (Nov 15 ED app deadline). Then the wait from Nov 15 to Dec 15 admission decision is long. D19 handled most of the coach communications (primarily texting), DH joined in a couple of calls just to make sure good communications/terminology understanding was happening.

Good luck.

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Have any of the coaches asked about his grades/scores? Coaches will do their own assessments before sending through an official pre-read, because they kind of know what is not going to get through

Thanks for asking @cinnamon1212 I am wondering about D3 as well. Have you found that these coaches are waiting until after D1 commits happen in the hopes of scooping up a few of those?

Did your son go to camps last summer (after sophomore year) which were his favorites?

My answers in caps!

My son sent his unofficial transcript and grades from the fall proactively because they are a strength. Only an Ivy has asked for his scores, which are not a strength :slight_smile: so he hasn’t sent them to schools who haven’t asked. He took the SAT in August, and is retaking in March. I know his scores are in the “possible” range for the schools – kids with his scores or lower have been admitted to all the schools according to Naviance – but his scores are not super mpressive.

Obviously others have more expertise than me, but I believe that most high academic D3’s don’t do prereads until July before senior year, and most coaches don’t make offers until after prereads, so yes, absolutely the NESCACs are waiting for Ivy and Ivy like recruits to fall into their laps (and they do), I don’t know at this point how that works.

My son went to a couple of multiday camps as a 9th grader, just to get his feet wet. They were not great, the soccer level was terrible (at Dartmouth and UConn, whose teams are not terrible!) but it was confidence boosting for my son. Then, the summer between sophomore and junior year he went to four one-day ID clinics, which were a bit more targeted/focused/serious about recruiting. (But even then, understand that they only are finding 2 -4 possible candidates in the 75 - 100 attendees). He took an extra day and toured the campuses and sat in on info sessions so he could get a better sense of the school than just seeing the athletic facilities.

He asked for feedback from each coach after the camp and got it, and all the NESCAC coaches confirmed he could play at that level. The one D1 Ivy he went to has been radio silent – clearly not interested in him!

A couple of tidbits from our experience:

-people say ID camps don’t work for being discovered and this is mostly but not completely true. My son killed it at one of the camps and that is in fact what got him on their radar.

-people say coaches don’t watch video, but my son did a highlight reel from the fall season and sent it out to the 20-odd schools he targeted as well as two test optional schools we just now identified (because, see above his scores are ok but not amazing) and just about all of the coaches raved about it, and with specifics. And the two schools he only now got in touch with have both head coaches wanting to speak with my son. So they can work.

-gauging interest: one school has been putting the full court press on my son, inviting him to the campus to spend time with the team in season and now again, and they’ve called a few times. Then the next level of interest seems to be coaches wanting to speak on the phone. And others just saying “keep us posted on your schedule”.

Because we took a “cast a wide net” approach it is very time consuming. He goes to a prep school (so, classes 6 days a week. and he’s taking a double “load” of extracurriculars – a sport as well as another activity that counts as a sport, as well as playing club soccer outside of school – the kid is barely above water). As a result, he knows his focus is on getting good grades and working at soccer (as well as his other extracurricular). My job is to help him keep track of all the emails and communications (though as coaches start texting and calling obviously I can’t keep track of that unless my son tells me). So I have a spreadsheet with all the schools, the coaches and contact info, and notes with every communication.

There clearly is no one right way to do this; my son has a good friend who just committed to a top D1 program – this kid’s process was entirely different.

@one1ofeach I see I didn’t answer “which ones were his favorites” – the answer is he liked all the one day clinics the same. He did Williams, Middlebury, Tufts and Brown. He did Bates in the fall. They were all good. From that, I’d expect any one day clinic to be a good experience, we picked based on the schools he’s most interested in.


Thanks for your reply. Very helpful.

On the question of whether it is important to return for additional one day clinics – my D3 soccer kid’s experience was that those clinics help the coaching staff in 2 ways. First, attendance shows the coach who is interested enough in the school to make that trip – when a coach has hundreds of prospects “in the pool,” identifying who is interested enough to make it a one-day clinic is useful information. Players who are half way across the country are not expected to show up for that kind of camp. But if someone in Philly didn’t bother to make it to New London, that would tell the coach useful information. Not conclusive, just useful.

The other value is that current players typically work those one day camps, especially during the school year, and are giving feedback to the coaches about the prospects – who is an [insert expletive] and who would fit in well to the team culture. My kid’s experience was that coaches asked specific players to work those one day camps because they trusted their judgment.

Suppose a player who lives half way across the country actually does make the effort to attend additional one-day clinics after some level of interest on the coach’s part has been communicated. Would it be unreasonable to assume that it would reflect positively on the player, and potentially serve to bolster his position in the recruiting rack-and-stack?

At my son’s top school the starting keeper shadowed him after lunch at the ID camp. They talked a lot about the school. With several keepers in attendance there was ample time to chat during rotations. When my son would switch fields the school’s keeper would follow him. At the time I thought it was probably a situation where the college keeper found this 15 year old kid from another part of the country funny. Now, maybe it was a good sign. I think my son follows him on Instagram now.

To your first point: My D20 traveled 1/2 way across the country for a Junior Day and 4 hour clinic at a D1 school. We questioned our sanity; was it worth it? just a money grab? She will be attending there in the Fall and I truly believe that it would not have been possible if she hadn’t shown up that day. She made a positive impression and was able to spend about 30 minutes with the coaches (unplanned time) while she and my husband were waiting for an Uber.

@mamom2018 That’s good to hear, and congrats to your daughter.

I know traveling a long way isn’t going to push a player over the top if the school is an athletic reach. I hope it would at least enhance an already demonstrated level of interest and commitment for a player already in the pool being considered, though.

@Midwestmomofboys thank you for your perspective on going to more clinics, now that you’ve written it, it makes perfect sense!

Been through it for 4 sports, one of which was soccer. Perhaps the toughest time of all was now through the summer, thinking are we making this effort for little or no consequence. Should we just have taken a vacation instead. Maybe my son or daughter isn’t good enough - I think I know every twist on the mind games played to figure out that answer.

So now for the answer. Put yourself in the coach’s shoes. For example, the former Wesleyan football coach said once that he started the recruiting process with about 1800 candidate pool, and we can assume that the number gets winnowed to about 15 or so. That winnowing process is not going to accelerate until Mayish of junior year. To be sure, football is different from soccer, if only because the soccer team size is smaller. But even if the number of possible recruits is 300, it is tough to tell where you are going to fall when the music stops. If you want to know (and I must say I can’t blame you), have your kid ask the coach the size of the pool, how many recruits are expected this year and where your kid stands. You could even ask this question before you commit to attend a camp at the school.

On a related point, assume that there are ten out of those 300 soccer recruits who continue to communicate with the coach – at least once a month (make it twice or thrice a month starting now), those guys are going to stand out relative to the more passive 290 recruits in the pool.

If you decide to attend the camp, you are paying not only to be seen but also to be heard by the coach. Ask away. If its the no. 1 school, tell the coach. At the bare minimum, let admissions know you had enough interest to visit the school by taking a tour or signing up to be on the mailing list at the admissions office while you are there.

@cinnamon1212 Just sent you a DM

With so many helpful posts here, I’m not sure the specifics of my son’s experiences will help - my son (soccer) asked where he stood with the coaches he was actively in the process with (ie, communication, went to camps, they scouted his games/showcases). Was told he was the top recruit, though I’ll allow for wishful hearing on my son’s part and perhaps he was actually a top recruit. He had three pre-reads and got positive feedback from all three by mid-July.

He didn’t get an actual offer until mid/late-August. In retrospect, I think the NESCAC coaches were waiting for the Ivy fallout to see if my son might end up at an Ivy and also to see which other players would “fall” to the NESCACs (and thus be an upgrade over my son). He definitely worried that he had fallen down the board. My take-away is that coaches don’t want to have offers out: in our ideal scenario, he’d have had three offers and then could spend some time mulling the decision over, visiting the schools again, communicating with the players or whatever. That was perhaps naive or unrealistic. I imagine that if you’re a super-stud coaches will put an offer out and wait but that’s not how they rated him. Fortunately, all ended well. It was for sure a stressful few weeks.

A NESCAC coach (don’t believe he was the HC) at one of the camps informally mentioned to a small gaggle of players/parents that the coaches were trying to hold off making offers until late in the summer in order to give the recruits some breathing room. It sounded more like an informal agreement than a conference rule. At this time, we had “heard” of offers being made so don’t know if we had heard BS or if coaches weren’t following the agreement.

My son interacted with several of the NESCAC schools and I found the coaches to be very forthright though each have their own attributes. If you have very specific questions, please DM me.

I have also been through the “so and so has an offer from X” conversation. I think a very very many parents do not understand how the process works and they think a player has an offer before a coach has even gotten a pre read. No amount of explaining that’s not how it works will convince them that they are wrong so I have stopped talking and I just nod.

My son has been invited to a Junior Day at a NESCAC. Do other NESCACs hold these? Or, which NESCACS hold these?