The Recruiting Process
As we get prepared to take some of our high school-aged teams to Indianapolis and Memphis for two college showcase tournaments, I thought I would share some of my thoughts and ideas on the recruiting process.
If you (or your child) have a desire to play in college, you can make it possible through the right amount of work. There is a great range in levels of college athletics across the different collegiate divisions. There is also great variation in ability among schools, which would allow most any competitive player with enough desire a chance to play. I have seen some very strong players choose not to play in college for a variety of reasons. I have also seen some fairly average players on their club team find a good fit and enjoy the opportunity to play for their school. Playing soccer in college can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, if you are able to find the right fit for you personally, athletically, and academically. I know I speak for myself, and many coaches on our staff, when I say that playing in college, while more difficult, was the most fun I ever had playing the game. Synergy has had quite a few players that have gone on to play in college with great stories and experiences to show for it. We hope to see the next generation of Synergy players achieve the same goals.
So, what do you have to do to give yourself the chance to play at the next level? There are a few resources attached here that give some great information on the best way to achieve your goal:
CaptainU – This article shows coaches’ opinions and shares their advice on this process.
Do’s and Dont’s of Recruiting according to USYS – This article shares some basic ideas about the recruiting process and the rules the college coaches must follow.
Best Way to Communicate With Coaches – The Ohio South Youth Soccer Association offers a great deal of resources for players looking to find out more information about playing in college.
From my experiences, the most important things to do to give a player the opportunity to play in college is to do the research, market yourself, and attend camps. College coaches want to make sure they are recruiting players that have a desire to play. They are looking for about 8 players each year that fit with their school and program out of hundreds of thousands of players your age across the country (and sometimes outside of the country). You need to prove to them that you are interested and have the ability to play. Contact the coaches at the schools you are interested in about once every two months to prove to them you have a desire to go to their school. Attend their college ID or recruitment camps. Fill out their recruiting brochure on their website. Tell the coach you will be attending a game. Invite them to watch you play at the tournaments your team will be participating in. Ask about other events they will be attending and see if it is possible for you to play in that event as a guest. Coaches want to know that you are very interested in their school before they will be very interested in you.
Don’t get discouraged if the coach does not respond to everything. They have rules to follow and they are very busy people, especially with all the travel involved at some schools. Make sure you keep more than one option so as things start to change and you learn more about your top school, you have already communicated with coaches at other schools. Keep realistic goals in mind. Not all college soccer is elite level Division I schools. There are many options.
Most importantly, make sure you have a desire to continue to play. If you love the game and want to get the most out of it, you can find the right environment. Stay positive, keep an open mind, and always feel free to ask your Synergy coaches for help!
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With a new blog feature now available on the website, I thought I would try to post some valuable articles or thoughts from time to time for parents and players. With the first entry I thought I would touch on a topic that can affect everyone with kids playing sports. I hope you enjoy and can find something useful, both from my thoughts and in the article.
Making yourself the ideal sports parent for your kid is not always possible. But, with every effort, your child will find more enjoyment in the team, the games, and the sport as a whole. The article attached is a good point of reference for parents as they not only watch games, but speak to their kids and other parents about the players, the team, and the games.
I know all parents want to see their kid be successful and enjoy playing. The coaches and the kids share these same goals with the parents. While it can be tough to watch your children and others on their team making simple mistakes, sometimes repeatedly, we need to keep in mind that this is how we learn. Everyone gets in a slump now and again across every facet of life. Players, Coaches, and parents will all make mistakes. It is important that we all work together to improve on those mistakes, and try to learn from them the best we can to improve future outcomes.
The players are under a lot of stress when they take the field. It is normal to be nervous. It is normal to get frustrated at times. It is normal to get a little too confident at times. Regardless of the situation, it is essential that players are all looking to improve. Although it can be tough at times, we always emphasize to all players to trust their teammates and coaches.
When talking to your players during and after games it is important to consider his or her point of view. They are trying to do the best they can, but have a lot to think about in at any moment on the field. While it is important for coaches to encourage players to try new things, it is also important for them to step back and allow the players to make mistakes. These mistakes are used as a point of reference when we work to correct and build on individual and team issues. We ask a lot of our players in terms of communication on the field. We expect them to communicate with each other and listen to their coaches at the same time. This is not easy to do, as evidenced by mistakes happening even at the highest levels from time to time. While I know that parents are trying to help, it can add stress and frustration to the players when they are hearing instruction from their parents on the sidelines. It is amazing to me how often players will ask to play on the coaches sidelines instead of the parent sidelines. I have frequently heard players arguing over which outside mid gets to play parent’s side versus coach’s side of the field.
To put this in perspective, think in terms of yourself at work. If you had a boss, co-workers, and your parents looking over your shoulder trying to micro manage what you are doing at your desk, it would add a lot of unneeded stress to your work day. This can be the same feeling players get with coaches and parents who constantly try to add instruction to their thought process. While it is important for coaches to intervene from time to time to correct problems while they happen, or provide ideas for improvement, it can be overwhelming for players to hear too much in a game situation.
Soccer is a sport in which players need to be able to make decisions frequently and quickly. It is important that we allow this aspect of soccer to develop in players from a young age. At Synergy, we try to teach our players to be on the same page as their teammates, but also to be creative in their ideas with and without the ball. If there is too much instruction during a game, the players cannot develop their own process of decision making on the field. This decision making ability is what can separate a great player from good players.
At training and games, many players bring up how much direction comes from the parents during a game. Frequently players have also mentioned that the parents discourage some of the skills or tactics that their team is working on. I would encourage all parents to ask their children if it is helpful or stressful hearing yelling from spectators during games. Ask if the spectators are sending the same messages as the coach. I think a lot of times you would be surprised by the answer.
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