Unofficial Visits - When coach asks to come visit

Hi all,
My D23 is a soccer recruit and she has been asked by D3 coaches to come visit the school unofficially. My understanding is that there is one official visit per D3 school.

My D would love to attend and to play soccer at these schools. Some schools saw her play, but some only saw film which raises red flags for me. We live on the west coast, so the flight will be all day to the east coast. They are asking us to come in the fall or spring. We have not visited any of these schools before.

Common sense says, “You should go if the coach asks you to come and you are interested in the school.” Are the coaches serious when they ask you to come for a unofficial visit? My fear is that this is a fishing expedition, like some of those ID camps. Couple coaches only saw her film, so that is why I am wary.

Her team has 4 national showcases, so I am pretty sure the coaches will be able to see her. We were planning to visit when they are seriously interested. Or is this it?

Perhaps, this is a matter of showing demonstrated interest in the school and soccer. Thoughts? Thanks!

If you can visit a school, meet the coach and potential teammates, see the campus, you should…this info is typically important in the decision making process for both the recruit and coach.

In women’s soccer many D3 coaches have no budget to offer OVs, so I expect the invites are clear expressions of interest by the coaches, game film gives them plenty of information.

If your D isn’t interested in the program or school then don’t visit, but it’s best to cast a wide net in recruiting, and visiting campuses will offer a great deal of information that is tough to get in other ways. And yes, for many coaches recruiting for Class of 2023 is in full swing, they are seeing and meeting recruits and some are even making offers.


On our unofficial visits, dd was invited to watch practice, meet the team, have lunch with them, and get a tour of campus. Her official visits included overnights on campus. If interested in the school, definitely consider going on an unofficial visit.


Agree that “unofficial visits” are the norm in D3 soccer – there simply isn’t the recruiting budget for anything more. Typical visit includes coach meeting, tour of training facilities, meal with members of the team, perhaps class with member of the team, watch a practice or match, overnight with member of the team (if schedule allows). Since the team will be the “first family” on campus, especially as a fall athlete, it is important to get a feel for the team. A student doesn’t have to love everyone on the team, but they do want to get a feel for the dynamic.

The coach meeting is where the player and coach get to see if they could be a good fit, in terms of philosophy, goals, where that player fits into the future. The coach meeting is also where the student – and parent, as needed – ask the specific questions about “where am I on your recruiting list? When will you decide on roster spots? If you are offering me a roster spot now, what are the next steps? Are you supporting my application with admissions? Does the school do admissions pre-reads? How many students have been admitted/not admitted with a similar academic stats/profile who had this level of support from you? What are the next steps?”


Great advice, adding to ask for a financial aid pre-read as well. Run the school net price calculators to get an estimate of costs.


Yeah, I’d take the trip if the cost and logistics are reasonable for your family. It’s a great opportunity to see the campus as well as to keep these conversations going. I do think coaches notice when recruits make the effort to fly across the country. Others will know better than me, but I think recruits paying for visits and overnights is very common in D3.


All OV’s my kids did with D3’s only covered local transportation to and from the airport, meals and a stay with an existing team member.


The difference between this and an ID camp is that the ID camp is a moneymaker for the coach, this is a big hassle. It isn’t an offer, but I can’t see a coach asking a bunch of girls to do UV’s that he wasn’t pretty serious about.

The rules have shifted a bit on what is allowed, but S19 could do UV’s but not OV’s the summer between soph and junior year. We hit 4 on a week we were on the East Coast. They were pretty enlightening, the 2 that were “fillers” moved way up on the list and one was a contender almost up to the very end. One moved off the list completely and the other dropped way down. It’s one thing to check out online pictures of the facilities and talk to a coach on the phone. It’s another to actually see what your day to day will look like and to talk to the coach face to face. Plus the benefit of meeting players can’t be overstated. That is huge. One of these schools could easily become a favorite, or conversely could become a hard no. Both are progress, because in the end there can be only one.

There is a lot more to the process, both for the coach but mostly for your daughter, than how she fits into the team when they are on the field. These kids spend A LOT of time together for the next 4 years. Team chemistry is huge. Just doing a visit to campus for the non-athletic components is huge.

IF these are places she is realistically considering and that she would fit in with talent and style-wise, I would try to go if you can.

Good luck!


In general, if you are evaluating schools, I would visit when/if you can (and you never know with Covid if schools will stop offering tours and allowing visitors on campus again). It is helpful to have your D go and see if it’s a fit. It’s one thing to watch videos, but reality can be different than theory (both positively and negatively).

Soccer-wise, you have some time with D3 recruiting, especially if you are doing 4 National Showcases (ECNL??) this year. Many of the coaches will probably be there, so they will likely have a chance to see your D play at one or more of them. Their opinions may change over that time as well. It is a process of musical chairs as they court many, many players knowing that only some will work out ultimately. Similarly, the players are often talking to multiple schools with varying degrees of interest.

As the other poster said, ask all those questions to the coach upfront. It really is helpful to understand how serious they are and where they see you at any given point in time. If you read through other posts, there are many stories about how schools that seemed completely interested go silent and vice-versa, so you have to always keep your options open.

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Hey all,
Thanks for the thoughts. Yeah, I am overthinking this.
Keep it simple and keep expectations in check. I am glad to have CC as a sounding board. Thanks again!

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