Recruiting during Covid - Advice/Help please!

Does anyone have any advice on recruiting during Covid?

I am a junior right now, and pretty much all I have is a short highlight video I’m making right now and a skills video I did over the summer. Due to Covid, my team isn’t doing any showcases in the near future, and my parents won’t let me travel anywhere for camps. I live on the West Coast, so with the lower school density there aren’t really any schools I’m seriously interested in that won’t require a hotel stay, so all camps are off limits for now.

What are some things that would be helpful for recruiting that don’t require in-person exposure?

My goal is men’s D3 soccer. Thanks!

A recommendation and assessment from your coach- both high school and travel team, if you have one. Everyone is in the same boat right now, unfortunately.

@mczchl - It is hard right now, but nothing is stopping you from communicating with coaches - not just about soccer, but your grades, projected classes for your senior year, test score or when you plan to have a test score. Any leadership awards or what else you are doing during Covid - it all helps them understand who you are as a person and not just a player.

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Not to worry. Many coaches haven’t even filled their 2021 class yet, so 2022 has time. And lots of winter camps are cancelled so you’re not missing much. Start filling out the recruiting questionnaire on the websites of schools that are of interest. Follow-up with email and phone call, though I’ve been told by a coach friend that he’s receiving A TON of emails - like 4x as many as usual - because everyone is in the same boat.

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Thanks for the idea! Would it only make sense to send recommendations once the college coach has showed some significant interest in me though? Like do you think a recommendation is something a college coach would be interested in at the beginning of the recruiting process?

Thanks for the ideas! What’s your recommendation on making phone calls if a coach hasn’t really responded to emails? I just feel like if they don’t even bother replying to an email they’re not going to pick up the phone… Should phone calls be made only after some sort of relationship has already been established with the coach, albeit via email?

Pick up the phone. It will make you stand out.

I agree you should pick up the phone and call. Continue contacting coaches via email, phone, and twitter until they tell you no.

Make short video clips of your training, e.g., Weight lifting, speed and agility, timed runs (40 yd dash, shuttle, etc.)? These clips are good ways for you to reach out to coaches. Also post these on your twitter account, and youtube page. Direct coaches to those sites with links in the emails you send. Follow coaches and teams on twitter and retweet their tweets. DM them when you tweet a new skills video.

Other ideas:

-Watch game film (ideally of the school in question) and analyze it. Tell the coach what you liked about the team’s style of play and how you would fit in.

-Do short play by play announcing on game film

-Read sport books or blogs (or even start a sports book club with teammates) on soccer, training, psychology, etc. Tell coaches what you have learned about soccer, game strategy, effective training and/or motivational techniques from your readings.

Thoughts for op? @cinnamon1212 @GKUnion

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Thanks @mwfan – I can’t believe I missed a men’s soccer recruiting post! :slight_smile:

Were you able to play games in the fall? In the end, for the 21’s, that’s all many players had for their highlight videos and that was OK (i.e. their highlight video was of their junior high school season).

What level D3 soccer are you aiming for? A top 10 program, or a lower level program? Stronger programs finish their recruiting earlier, so for 21’s those programs are long done. However for 22’s you’ve got plenty of time.

I always recomend “The Athletic Scholarship Playbook” (about $15 on Amazon) because it sets out the recruiting process really clearly, even if you aren’t going for a scholarship.

Given a finite amount of time, I would focus on the highlight video, and sending it out to every single school you might be remotely interested in. So, like 50+ schools. Heresy, but I wouldn’t spend time on recruiting questionaires, my son often didn’t fill them out and if he did they never generated a response. Of course if a coach asks you to you should.

When you are sending out your highlight video, you’ll want a short email introducing yourself. Make the strongest case possible for yourself – if you have great grades, include your GPA, or maybe even your unofficial transcript. If you have awards, list them. If you’ve been mentioned in news stories, link to the articles etc.

Make a spreadsheet, and keep track of every email you send out and any response. This is very time consuming, and I did this part of my son’s recruiting effort.

Programs are also looking for full game video, so hopefully you have that. They want to see you playing against tough competition, not looking great against a really weak opponent.

Agree with those that say follow up after sending your initial email. I doubt my son would have called a coach that had not replied, but if you do I agree it would make you stand out.

While there isn’t much going on right now in terms of playing opportunities, there very well may be this coming summer and that will not be too late for you to be seen. If there are opportunities your parents feel are safe, always take them, you never know who will be there and what will happen.

If you are active on Twitter by all means go ahead and follow coaches/programs etc although I will say my son never did any of that, and the only kids I heard of using that technique were high level D1 players. But there is no one single path to recruiting!

In terms of recommendations, I would guess they are most effective when the college coach knows the recommending coach, and it is more personal. If your club or high school coach can reach out to a college coach and say “This kid is perfect for your program, you really have to take a look at him” that would be invaluable. There aren’t that many high school/club coaches with that level of connectedness and credibility though, so lucky you if you have one.

Recommendations are also helpful at the very end of the process. Like, the college coach has seen you play and likes what he sees, and now wants a fuller picture of you, what are you like off the field, what’s your character, or work ethic like etc.

Recruiting is a roller coaster with a lot of ups and downs, so get ready! If you have questions about a particular program feel free to PM me, my son was in touch with a bunch of schools and if I can shed any light I would be happy to.

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Great advice so far. I agree with calling or texting if email isn’t working. Some coaches are lousy at email but respond to IG messages right away…

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Thanks for the mention @Mwfan1921

@mczchl You’ve come to the right place for information. There are several knowledgeable contributors here that are more than willing to help. My son is also a class of 2022 soccer player and I’ve learned a lot by reading older posts/conversations.

Right now anything that might make you stand out, and catch a coach’s attention, is a good tactic to employ. Maybe phone calls would get that done. A short, handwritten introductory note mailed to a coach could put you on their radar. No matter what, you need to routinely contact coaches.

My son’s soccer league held a 2+ hour online recruiting town hall last week. It featured the head coaches from several top college programs. They all said video is very important now. Interestingly, the Maryland coach offered a simple, but valuable nugget, something I never would have considered. As mentioned earlier the number of emails they are receiving has increased dramatically. He said an email sent between Friday afternoon and Sunday night will likely be buried among hundreds of other emails. He suggested timing your email to arrive in the morning, close to the start of their work day, on Monday or Tuesday. If your email is at the top of the pile it’s more likely to be opened.

As @coffeeat3 mentioned, you want to send coaches more than just soccer information about you. My son has sent several emails in the past three months. I think most emails he sent included a video of some kind(game highlights/practice/fitness) as well as an academic or personal component. In one email he sent his transcripts through last year. He even talked about getting his first car in an email. You want them to get to know you as a person, a student and an athlete. If you compile a lot of different information in advance you can plan out a series of emails to send out every few weeks.

I think @cinnamon1212 is 100% correct about contacting as many coaches as possible in the beginning of the process. She knows what she’s talking about, her son is successfully wrapping up his soccer recruiting journey. Pick 40+ schools you might be interested in. I’d suggest a 25%/50%/25% mix. Identify 25% that are a combination of soccer/academic safties, 50% that may be matches and another 25% that are reaches. You never know if a program that is a reach might have a need for a player just like you in the 2022 cycle, so don’t limit your chances.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Put the time into researching each program. Read the bios of the coaches. Gather and save their email addresses. When sending an email to a school address it to all coaches, at least initially. Make sure you personalize each email to the particular school you are contacting. It can be as simple as a sentence about their last match, or a line about something the school offers that interests you. You want coaches to feel like you’re truly interested in their school.

I’m sure more will come to me. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear back. Keep contacting a large group of schools until you begin to narrow your own search based on the information you’ve gathered over time about the financial, academic, athletic and social fit of each place.

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My son (2021) just completed this journey. Admitted ED to play D3 a few weeks ago. From our experience, casting a wide net helps. Send as many emails as you can. Post your profile to recruiting websites. Some are really expensive, but a few sites allow you to post a profile and video for free. We opted for the free option. My son received quite a few emails from these sites, mostly D3, but a few D1 schools as well. Also, if your team is currently training, ask someone to film training sessions. Scrimmages are especially helpful. One coach requested my son to provide recent scrimmage footage. It’s really tough right now, but be persistent and proactive. Schools are still looking to fill spots. Good luck.

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Disagree with cinnamon1212 that stronger programs are finished with '21. I know several perennial Top 20 programs that still have roster spots available. In any event, the advice you’re getting is all pretty much the same… contact coaches and keep contacting coaches. If they can’t see you play then you’ll definitely need video, but the bottom line is you need to be proactive. Now is not the time to be passive. Good luck.

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Any specific recruiting sites you suggest (for the free profile option, that is)? So far we’ve heard of CaptainU and NCSA…any others?

becruited.com has a free offering, and the first level of paid membership is relatively affordable at $99 (one time fee). Coaches from certain sports seem to use these services more than others so do some research…example with becruited: yes for women’s golf, no for baseball. YMMV.

I am not a fan of NCSA (noted by myself and others on many threads)…it is expensive, they have many athletes per coordinator, and not all coaches (nor all sports) make use of this service. They don’t do anything that a student (and let’s get real…the parents) can’t do. They have no secret sauce, no ‘special’ connections, no processes unknown to non-members. OTOH if your student and/or parents don’t have the time and bandwidth to devote to recruiting, and you can afford it, it could make sense.

We used Go Big Recruiting. It was priced very reasonably and allowed DS21 to target his desired schools. It says it’s good for any sport but maybe is football-focused? Not sure but maybe worth checking out?

We used CaptainU, BeRecruited and NCSA. NCSA is super expensive so we posted a profile and video for free and declined the repeated requests for a “counseling session.” We paid for 1 year of CaptainU which was relatively inexpensive. Our experience is that quite a few coaches use CaptainU. My son communicated with, for example, Williams, Tufts, WashU, NYU and several Ivies through CaptainU. He didn’t see much activity through BeRecruited but did receive strong interest from 2 schools through that site which led to phone calls and invites to visit campus. I don’t think it’s necessary to pay for these sites, just make sure to post a good highlight video and include direct contact info in your profile.

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Who runs the IG accounts that are “____ College/University Men’s Soccer”? Coaches or players/students? One of these accounts at a school I’m interested in just started following me today. Is it a coach showing interest? Should I respond by doing anything?

In reponse to the posts about recruiting sites … is it necessary to use these sites if I have a pretty narrow list of schools I’m considering? Basically D3 schools with top-notch academics. Isn’t it enough to directly contact these coaches via email? In other words, what are the benefits of using recruiting sites when I don’t really need coaches to “discover” me since I’ve pretty much already picked out my schools? I have a NCSA free profile but I just don’t really see how it would be useful to me …

Different kids do recruiting differently. My son also had the goal of playing at a high academic d3 school. His club used CollegeFitFinder, so he had a profile there, and it was handy to have one place for everything (awards, mentions in the press, gpa, academic honors etc). And while he did have maybe two coaches reach out to him they were at schools he was completely uninterested in. So, given my son’s experience, I do not think those sites are necessary at all. Much better to reach out directly to the coaches at each school and start a dialogue that way.

Btw, “d3 schools with top notch academics” is quite an extensive list of schools. You’ll need schools that are academic safety and reaches as well as schools that are soccer safety and reaches, and that’s quite a number of schools :slight_smile:

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