Guide to Being Successful in the New Recruiting Format
Posted by: Anthony Presnell l College Placement Program Director
The college recruiting process seems to change every year or two, and with the COVID-19 pandemic, it has changed again. Most college soccer seasons have been cancelled for the fall 2020 season and moved to spring 2021. With these cancellations, the 2020/21 recruiting season has shifted slightly, as well. College coaches will now be actively recruiting throughout the fall to overcome the missed opportunities in the spring and summer and to be best prepared leading into next years class.
Along with the timeline shift, the way that college coaches are recruiting has changed as well. Currently Division I programs cannot do any off campus recruiting and, depending on the conference, individual school coaches are limited in how or even if they can recruit in person. Game film, training film, and zoom conversations are the new norm. With all of the recent changes it is understandable to have questions and concerns about the recruiting process in 2020. Here are a few pointers…
- Don’t Hit The Panic Button: This is a consistent message for student-athletes from college coaches around the country. The last six months have been challenging for everyone in youth and college sports, however, by now we have all determined ways to adapt. College coaches in particular have had to adjust their recruiting strategies and timelines, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is their insistence that players not rush their decisions. Players need to continue to explore their potential opportunities, develop stronger relationships with coaches, improve their grades, improve their soccer abilities, and take the time to understand what they’re looking for at the next level. The recruiting timeline has shifted and college coaches are taking more time to get to know their current team, their upcoming class, and they will be using the fall as an opportunity to better understand the players on their recruiting list.
- Stay Diligent: A lot has changed since the last time coaches have seen you play. College coaches have been extremely limited in what they have been able to do over the last six months and, in most cases, they have been solely focused on assessing their own program. This is important to understand from a recruiting standpoint because it provides every player with a new opportunity to present themselves to the coaching staff. During the month of September, it is vital that players are connecting or re-connecting with the coaches on their target list. Use this opportunity to share updates on what you have been doing since they last saw you play, provide them with videos, and find ways to keep the conversation going!
- Come with Questions: Once you have connected/re-connected with the coaches on your list, it is extremely important to find a time to meet face-to-face, whether in person or virtually. By now we should all be accustomed to Zoom and FaceTime calls. College coaches have mastered the art of the virtual recruiting process and expect the players to be equally prepared. When you set up your calls, be sure to have a game plan.
- Determine what you need to take away from the conversation.
- Learn about the coaches, program, school, etc…
- Where they are at in their recruiting process?
- Where do they see you at in their recruiting plans?
- When can you visit or when can they see you play?
- Determine what they need to take away from the conversation.
- Who you are, where you’re at in the process?
- Why you are interested in them and their school?
- When they can see you play?
- Be sure to leave the conversation with a game plan.
- What do you need to do to move up their depth chart?
- When can you speak again and what will that conversation be?