Maximize Your Recruiting Opportunity at Mad Dog Mania

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Why are tournaments and showcases effective in the recruiting process?

  • Coaches see you in an environment you are accustomed to. It allows for a fair evaluation as you understand teammates, system and style of play.
  • The coach can attend a showcase event and watch hundreds of prospects in a weekend. As club teams are defined by age group, coaches watch game knowing that the players are within a certain graduation range. e.g. 2012-2013.
  • The level of competition is often strong at these events. More importantly, if the tournament has been well organized the competition will also be fair. It is near impossible to get a fair evaluation if the score is 8-0.
  • Tournaments often provide a college coach profile book that contain all the contact information for the teams participating.

How to Communicate Effectively with Coaches Prior to the Event

Ideally you should have already provided college coaches an introduction/resume prior to communicating about specific events. If not contact us to learn more on how to effectively introduce yourself to a college coach.

When communicating with a coach about an upcoming event, you must include the following if you want the coach to see you play:

  • Your name, graduation year, and contact information.
  • Your Club Team information.
  •  The full schedule of your games including times, location, and opponent.
  •  Your Jersey number.
  • Club Coach Contact information.

The coach needs to know where you are in the recruiting cycle (graduation year), where you’re playing (schedule), which team you’re on (club info), which player you are on the field (jersey number), and who to contact with questions about you (club coach contact info).  This last one is especially important if NCAA rules do not allow the coach to contact you directly.  And that, of course, depends on your particular situation.

Including all of this information will make the college coach’s job as simple as possible, and in turn, will improve your chances of getting evaluated. Below are some additional pointers from Soccer Aspect on how to effectively communicate with coaches prior to events:

  • When emailing about the event put your graduation year after your name in the subject of your email. Your graduation year dictates how coaches can respond. Coaches donʼt want to have to search for this information.
  • Donʼt just write to the schools who have signed up for the event, some coaches donʼt sign up until the day of the event. Communicate with all of your target schools even if they are not on the list of coaches attending.
  • You may have sent coaches a prior email listing all your events, however, follow up with an email about this specific event. Donʼt expect a coach to remember the details of an email from weeks or months ago.
  • Many coaches will use gotsoccer to print rosters prior to the event, and most tournaments use this information to print college books, keep your profile up to date so coaches can easily contact you.

How do College Coaches Approach Tournaments and Showcases?

Every college coach will have their own approach. Much will depend on the speed in which they are recruiting. However, the main purpose for college soccer coaches attending these events is the identification and evaluation of talent.

The coach may be looking at three graduating classes during one event:

  • They may evaluate their committed seniors to keep track of their development. They may also be in the identification and evaluation process with seniors depending on the speed of their recruiting process.
  • They will be actively evaluating and identifying juniors.
  • They may be identifying and evaluating sophomores.

The college coach will attend an event with a list of prospects. The list will be divided by graduating class and will likely dictate which games they watch. So how do you get on their list?

  • The coach may have already identified you at a previous event so they want another evaluation of your play.
  • The coach may have received a recommendation from your coach or another valued source.
  • Your recruitment video may have caught their attention and they now want to see you play in person.
  • You may have communicated effectively with the coach expressing your interest in their school and program.

After recruiting at the event and evaluating prospects the coach will likely leave with the following information:

  • Notes on players from the list who have already been evaluated, gaining a better understanding of the player’s abilities and how they fit the program’s needs.
  • Notes on the players from the list  who the coach was able to get an initial evaluation.
  • Identification of the players were not on the list but “jumped out” as a special player who would fit the program’s needs.

Important to Note: If a coach attends an event with 100 names on a list to evaluate they are not going to see all these players play. The coach will have priorities that will be determined by program needs, player potential etc. However, after evaluating priorities, if a coach has 30 prospects left to evaluate, who they decide to watch may be determined by factors such as:

  • Club team strength and reputation.
  • Are there other prospects interested in their school from your team or opposition’s team, (increased evaluation opportunity).
  • Tournament schedule, what works for the coach.

The first point is critical. If you have built a relationship with the coach and repeatedly shown interest, they are much more likely to evaluate your play.

If you are interested in learning about the the six things you must include when initiating contact with the college coach, or how to effectively follow up after an event, please sign up for our mailing list on the right side of this page.

What do College Soccer Coaches Look for at Tournaments and Showcases?

When you are playing in front of coaches, donʼt do anything differently, just play as you normally would. Donʼt try to focus on the sidelines, focus on the game. The coaches will be identifying the technical, tactical, physical and psychological components of your game, but it’s important to know that they are looking at it through tinted glasses. These tinted glasses are the needs of their program.

For example, you may be the best keeper in the country, but if a school has a starting freshman keeper who they have invested in, you won’t be a priority for that school.

Here is a list of traits that coaches evaluate that you may not expect:

  • How do you react to a mistake such as giving the ball away.  A player who becomes the first defender and looks to win the ball right back will be more appealing than a player who stops and drops their head.
  • How do you react to being subbed. A player who complains is not going to appeal to the coach as much as a player who is supporting their team.
  • When the game is tight do you step up to the plate or shy away from the game?
  • If involved in a physical battle, are you willing to fight or do you hide and defer?
  • Communication is a big part of the college game. Providing concise and timely information to your teammates is a key to playing quicker. Do you communicate well?

Important to Note:  Team managers often hand out team profiles to the college coaches in attendance, ask your team manager to log which college coaches were in attendance at which halves of games. This way you know when college coaches saw you play, not just if they saw you play. This distinction is important when requesting or receiving feedback.

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Good luck.

The Soccer Aspect Team

Copyright Soccer Aspect 2012