Seeking soccer spot at a college

Rising junior daughter would like to play soccer.

Before pandemic, she was maybe D1, more like D3. But the pandemic and a health issue caused her to lag and fall behind with game experience. She did attend practices for club and school.

She’s not in DA or ECNL.

She was put on varsity at end of freshman year after starting for JV.

She’s on varsity now—not a starter.

She has a 3.89. Lots of honors and will have a lot of APs.

What should we be doing to get her noticed by coaches? To be honest, she said she has not been playing well as she adjusts to this health issue, yet issue is likely to resolve.

I’ve offered to get her a coach 1-1 to work on improving skills.

If she doesn’t get D3, what are other options?

Is there hope for her to play D3 or are we too late?

Do we need to make videos of her playing?

There’s always hope but if she’s not starting it’s unlikely. Club soccer or walk on or intramural a may be her options.

She needs to be invited to soccer camps where she can be noticed.

Or you need to find the weakest of the weakest soccer school like Northwest St Paul.

It’s not easy even for good players. At least she has strong academics.


My daughter is a rising senior who is being recruited right now for D3. She is talking with four schools and two look very promising, although no firm offer yet.

My daughter is not DA or ECNL, either, and has very strong academic credentials. The process has taught me some things. If you want to play soccer above all else, there is almost always a school out there for you.

My daughter was picky about academics, location, reviews, etc., though, so she targeted just a handful of D3 schools (maybe 8 to start?). Her thought is that if she doesn’t get an offer to play at a D3 that ticks all her boxes, she will attend one of the large D1 schools she likes, ideally with a merit scholarship.

I think that targeted approach was helpful in our case. She was active in keeping up with what was happening with those teams (because there weren’t that many and the initial list quickly dropped to about 5). She emailed coaches at those schools on a regular basis. She sent them an updated profile page/resume from time to time, she sent out a highlight video, she sent out game schedules, she filled out the online recruiting questionnaires.

That kept her on the radar and generated some initial calls/communication. But most importantly she went to the ID/college prospect camps held at her three top choices. That was the most helpful in generating increased interest (follow-up calls and invites). She also played with her club team at college showcase tournaments and invited coaches to come — several came specifically to watch her.

We still don’t know how/if it will work out, but she’s received more attention than I thought she might starting with a fairly short list. A lot of advisors will tell you to take more of a shotgun approach to increase odds of an offer, but my daughter was comfortable going a different direction if her top D3 choices didn’t work out. Based on our experience, regular emails and ID camps are the way to go.

Good luck!


Also wanted to add — when I say there is a school for you if you want to play soccer, it all depends on what you are willing to do to make it happen.

Girls we know who were not DA/ECNL have accepted offers at the following:

  • a D2 school in a nice location but very low academic rankings
  • a tiny, religious D2 in a rural area
  • a community college, then a D2 in North Dakota
  • an NAIA school
  • a community college (still enrolled)
  • several D3 schools in the region

Our neighbor got a merit award and played D3 soccer at Willamette U in Salem OR (goalie). Not sure exactly what steps he took if they have women’s team. He was happy there. It was some years ago.

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Thank you.

I wish she were a goalie! I sometimes hear about goalie shortages, and I don’t hear that about other positions.

Thank you!

This sounds like a sensible way to go about it and gives me a lot of ideas. :grinning:

Club would also be fine, and I’m guessing she could go about it a similar way.

What she should be doing now is attending ID clinics at schools of interest. Unfortunately coaches won’t make allowances for health issues – their job is to win. You could be a super strong player, but if you tear your ACL junior year, it is unlikely you will be recruited, coaches aren’t willing to gamble that you will rehab and come back strong, because it is a gamble.

If your daughter doesn’t play high level club and isn’t a starter on her high school team I would manage expectations though.


Thanks. I’ll look into ID clinics.

On this board, I’m hearing about other kids doing research the year after 8th grade. My kid does not want to talk about college at all. It’s a bummer.

Yep. I wouldn’t expect a coach to care much about a health issue or make an exception.

Thankfully, it’s not an ACL tear or any problem with the legs.

She absolutely needs video. She should fill out the online recruiting questionnaires (on each school’s team website) and follow up with an introductory email to the head coach and/or recruiting coordinator. There are many sample emails online, but include academic and athletic stats, a short highlight video and/or link to more video either in Hudl or a private YouTube channel. She should also have a Twitter account with a short video pinned at the top, and follow coaches and programs she is interested in.

Agree on the ID camps and showcases. Is her HS coach able to help with recruiting? Does she play club at all?

Recruiting takes a lot of time, focus, and effort. If she’s uninterested in talking about college, she might not be up for that, and that’s ok. She can probably find a place to play, but may have to give on the academic side.

Many potential recruits have two college lists-one with schools where they would not go as a recruited athlete, and a second one where being a soccer recruit could happen.

Good luck.

There are D3 schools that are low level and have soccer teams that are worse than a good number of high school teams. We had a non-starter at our high school go to one a few years ago. She is having a wonderful experience. If you DM me I can tell you the name. Then maybe you can look at their record and see which colleges have similar rankings.

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My daughter played a different sport (lax) but I agree that many of the teams she played were not as good as her high school team. We had a discussion on this on a lax forum and others agreed that we’d all watched a lot of high school and college lax and could tell that some teams were just not at the same level as others. D was recruited at D1, D2 and D3 schools, and there are good teams and really poor teams in every level. Even some of the most prestigious academic schools have teams that just aren’t that good.

However, it’s hard for a person who loves soccer and is good at it to play on a bad team.

My son’s club teammate graduated last year and went to a local D3 school for soccer. After the first scrimmage this fall he left the team because the level of play was so low. Because he’s still age appropriate he’s going to train and play with my son’s club team this year. My bet is that he’ll transfer.

If your D is not willing or ready to talk about colleges as a rising junior, then how did college soccer come into the discussion in your family? Without a college list, there can’t be a college soccer list. If she is serious, she needs to get on it ASAP. Otherwise, it’s ok. Just play hs and have fun.

There are really fine schools with good, mediocre, and bad teams. You can do the research when your D makes her list of schools.

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A few years ago, D mentioned a few schools of interest. I asked why and she said because of their soccer teams.

The resistance to college discussion has been more recent. I think it’s anxiety and/or resistance to change.

I decided to let a few weeks go by without pressing the topic and to do some research in the background.

My kid is the type who gets recognition or a good score on an AP and then figures something was unfair about the test if she did so well when other smart kids didn’t. I love my kid and this quality can drive me bonkers. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I totally understand. She may not be motivated to identify schools, but there’s a recruting timeline, and the clock keeps ticking. You’re not too late but you need to start very soon. If I were you I would begin filming her games right away(unless the club/high school films them). You need to generate content for coaches. She doesn’t need to be involved in any of that. She can just play while you film.

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Thank you!

I plan to use my iPhone and a tripod and have been looking at cameras.

Any advice on cameras would be appreciated!

I used a few Canon Vixia HF R800 cameras. I picked them up for $179 on sale. They came with an extended life battery and did everything I could have asked for, rain or shine. They are becoming harder to find at reasonable prices, but you can find them if you look really hard. You might even be able to track them down refurbished from Canon or BH Photo & Video.


I second this!
I did all my filming with an older version of the Canon Vixia
camera and still do. Awesome price point and quality.
720 is decent, 1080 is great. Don’t need 4k. This isn’t
a Hollywood production film.

I would get a cheapie tripod from Amazon and 128gb sd card and a spare 3rd party battery. When it rains, use a gallon sized bag with a hole for the lens. Works great.
Good luck!


Turns out the team records all the games and uploads them to Hudl!!

I’ll probably still buy a camera so I can record club.

So far, I can’t find a new Canon. I wonder if they stopped making them, because I’m only seeing used ones.