College Recruiting Information Recap

Peninsula Soccer Club College Night Informational Session, May 2017

Thank you to everyone who attended our college soccer night! We had an awesome panel of coaches from Stanford, San Francisco State, Menlo College, and Skyline Community College. Thank you to isoccerpath for helping host this wonderful night!

Below is a recap of important information the college coach panel covered. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to or your respective girls and boys directors of coaching. We are here to help you with your college path. No question is a stupid question!

The Below information is separated into 4 major parts:

1. What are the NCAA rules? What are the differences in divisions?
2. How and when do I get recruited?
    a. How do I get my emails opened?
    b. How do I get my videos watched?
    c. How do I get coaches to come to my games?
3. How do I get college paid for? Scholarships and grants.
4. Is character important? What are college coaches looking for?

What are the NCAA RULES? What are the differences in divisions?

NCAA Rules There are many rules that govern DI, DII and DIII schools which restrict coaches at that level from communicating with you. You can email or call a coach at any time, however coaches can only call you or email you directly until June 15 going into your Junior year of high school. Coaches CAN call your club coach, however, so make sure to put your coach’s contact in your email. Use your club coach to help you connect with the college coach of your choice.

Coaches can send you generic camp invitation emails. They cannot write personal emails until June 15 going into your senior year!

ON CAMPUS- you can have a recruiting conversation with a coach.

OFF CAMPUS- unless it’s a scheduled official visit, coaches cannot have “recruiting conversations” or conversations about their particular institution or about your soccer until you’ve already committed to them.

At showcases- college coaches cannot have any sort of recruiting conversation with you off campus, including during games.

NAIA schools are different: NAIA schools are often small private schools, many with religious affiliation. NAIA schools can talk freely to you at any point “from birth to graduation.” NAIA schools are generally really high level academic schools with great soccer.

Community Colleges have essentially no restrictions or rules about contacting, talking to players.

Does Division I have better soccer than Division II and Division III??

NOT ALWAYS. In general, Division I has more scholarships to offer. Division I schools can offer 14 full scholarships for women and 9.9 for men. Division II can offer 9.9 total. However not all schools are “fully funded” so despite being allowed to give out 9.9 scholarships, a school may only have 4 available. Soccer scholarships can be divided up among all 30 players on a roster. Some players may receive a scholarship which covers their full tuition, some just have their textbooks covered, while others may not be on money but were able to use their status to be accepted into the university. Division III offers no academic scholarships, but does offer academic aid.

Division II: After their junior year high school season, high school players can have a one-time tryout with a Division II college team where they play with the current team and are coached by the current coach.

Division III: Often the top education. Practice schedules are severely limited by the NCAA to allow student-athletes to focus almost entirely on education. You primarily play in the Fall with only a two week spring season.

NLI- National Letter of Intent: Signed in February of your senior year of high school, this is a contract to accept a scholarship offer from an athletic program. It is a two way, binding commitment.

Verbal Commitment: This is a non-binding verbal agreement between a coach and player that the player will attend their university and compete for their athletic program. It is morally binding but is not legally binding. College coaches should ALWAYS honor this commitment. Players should as well. Once you verbally commit, you are done looking elsewhere.


In 9th grade you officially become “of prospect age” and can be recruited. Scholarships can be offered and verbal commitments made with the top 25 Division I programs as early as freshman year. If your sights are set on the top 25 schools in the country, you need to be on the radar by freshman or sophomore year. The “mid-major” Division I schools also recruit freshman and sophomores but typically commitments are made by sophomores.

Division II players generally commit junior year.

NAIA players typically commit senior year.

Junior College players may commit up to the first day of season.

It is never too late to be recruited. A school may not be looking for a center-back until the last moment because a player suddenly becomes injured or ineligible. Players can be recruited in July and start preseason in August (although this is uncommon). At the D I and D II level, scholarship money is often gone by your senior year, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t earn a roster spot.

Showcases are a very effective way to be seen by coaches. Go to tournaments where there are a lot of teams, so college coaches can see you and many others in one efficient trip. At a showcase, coaches can see how you are with your own team. How do you normally play? How do you act towards your teammates, coach, and the refs? Prior to a showcase, reach out to your schools to make sure they have the chance to come see you. College recruiting showcases become important in high school.

During league play: You never know who might see you. Many college coaches are also club coaches, so you may be playing against a college coach at a regular league club game. OR you may be playing against a friend of college coach who will recommend you to them. The college coaching network is vast. Always do your best and represent yourself the way you would want to be seen.

Go to local ID Camps. Pinpoint schools that are of interest and attend their school’s ID camp. You get an immediate sense of the campus and of the coach! At ID camps you may get to have direct interaction with the college coach.

Super Camps/ ID Camps often have multiple college coaches from different levels. College Soccer Academy Camps and College Soccer Exposure camps are great examples of super camps. Stanford might host a camp that has many Division II schools, NAIA schools, and junior college coaches present. This means you could get exposure to many great coaches, however it also means you may have little to no interaction with the actual host’s college coach.

VISIT CAMPUSES! Get a sense for what you like and for what’s important to you in a campus. Email the coach before you plan to visit a school and see if you can meet with him or her for a few minutes or get a campus tour. Ask when their practice is and see if you can watch. Say hello!

How do I get my emails opened? How do I get my videos watched? How do I get coaches to come to my games?

Emails: List your high school graduation year, your club, your jersey number, a photo of yourself, a link to your video, and contact information of your coach. Personalize the email. Get the coaches name and school correct. Say why you’re interested in their actual program. What makes you special? Give your schedule and how they can come see you play. Put all the information in the body of the email. Do not force coaches to follow a chain of links (unless directly to a video).

Club coach reference: If your club coach or someone you know has a connection with the university coach, use that connection! Coaches will prioritize recommendations from people they know.

Include all assistants on your emails to college coaches- CC the head coach and assistants and recruiting coordinator.
Email once a week. Coaches get A LOT of emails and don’t always keep track of everything. Be persistent. The player should write it, not the parent!

Videos: Put your best stuff first. Game footage!! Real!! Keep them to 1-3 minutes. Make sure there’s an arrow or highlight to show who you are (not just your number- often it’s very hard to see). Show the play develop—what work did you do off the ball to help your team, how you respond to a turnover. No videos of juggling! View from above is best. Field level is hard to see. It’s cool to narrate the video.

Unofficial Visits: If you’re visiting a campus, reach out to the coach more than a week in advance to see if they can meet with you briefly. Arrange to see a practice if you can. See what their team and coaching is like.

At showcases: Club team should create a team roster with pictures, GPA, grad years, contact info. Team manager can pass these out to college coaches.

How do I get college paid for? Scholarships and grants.

FAFSA and Academic Scholarship Awards: Every single player should apply for FAFSA no matter what their background or which Division they’ll play! The sooner you apply the more potential you have to be granted money. There are a plethora of scholarships available (Cal Grant, Pel Grant, individual university grants). Many scholarships go to waste because they have zero applicants. Do your research and go for it! GPA is profoundly important for being awarded scholarships and grantskeep your grades up!

WUE- Western Undergraduate Exchange: With the right grades, you can get in state tuition granted even if you go to a school out of state. Look for schools that participate in this program.

Recruited Walk-On: If you earn a roster spot, you have the same status as all other student-athletes on the team. Even if you are on no scholarship whatsoever, you can still start and make a huge impact on the team. Your recruited walk-on status may also be your “golden ticket” into a university. You can get your application “tagged by athletics” to help you be accepted by admissions. Scholarships are a one year term. They are very frequently increased for deserving athletes, so while you may start your freshman year with no scholarship, you could end with a full scholarship. Recruited walk-ons do not sign an NLI.

Community Colleges are very cost effective way to get your first two years of college completed. You can still qualify for financial aid. You can get money for books, transportation, other aid. You can use those two years to transfer into an elite 4-year university. Some JCs have agreements which guarantee admission into high level institution.

EFC expected family contribution. Go online to calculate what funding you’ll be granted. This information can help you kick start your financial discussion about college.


Every school may look for something slightly different in your actual skill, athleticism, and style of play, but one thing all coaches need to know is: how is your character? Coaches have to spend a lot of time with you. You want to like each other. Character is important. Your behavior also affects their livelihood. If you’re a risk, they may not want you. They want good teammates and people who will represent their program well.

Some things coaches look for:
Are you coachable?
Do you have a good attitude?
Will you help the team?
Do you look the coach in the eye?
Do you pick up trash around you?
Do you help with the balls? Are you a good teammate?
How do you act when you’re on the bench?
Do you help your coach with equipment?
How do you warm up?
Are you focused?
Are you on your cell phone at water breaks/ halftime? (BIG NO NO).
How do you treat your teammates?

Coaches want difference makers.

When you choose your university, you choose your network for your life. Be a good person who’s honest and has integrity.
Parents matter. Yes, parents can screw it up. This is your son or daughters’ experience. Let them be the main voice.

Social Media Footprint: If in doubt, don’t post it! Your social media shows your coach, your university, your future employer WHO YOU ARE. Make sure your social media represents your best self. It doesn’t ever go away. Use it as a positive. If you’re doing something great, post it!

“Put your phone down and learn to talk to people” (Robin Hart, Menlo College).
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