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As a Division 1 men’s soccer coach, I receive countless emails, letters, and calls throughout the year regarding opportunities to play soccer and attend university. The process can be overwhelming and at times frustrating for both parents and prospective student athletes for a variety reasons; from standing out amongst the pack to NCAA recruiting rules and communication issues with coaches.
Here are a few strategies to use when communicating with a school and soccer program:
Open up lines of communication with your mentors and coaches about your decision to play college soccer. The soccer community can be small. Your coaches may know the college coach or have met him or her at a coaching event. Coaches feel great when players want to continue playing and will do anything to help, such as seeking out potential playing options. References from a coaching professional also hold merit with other coaches.
Write, email, and call coaches.
NCAA rules may prohibit them from responding based on your high school year but you are now on their radar. Write and email coaches expressing interest in the soccer program. Call to ask questions about the school, the soccer team, and recruiting efforts. Are they actively recruiting for your position? How many do they have at your position or are recruiting. When communicating with potential coaches it is important to be polite. Coach Benjamin or Mr. Benjamin is more appropriate than Dear Coach. We like to feel that you have researched the school and program. Many of my coaching peers think generic correspondence portrays an element of carelessness.
Communicate awards or events. Stay on the mind of the coach by emailing awards that you received, tournaments that you are attending, or challenging upcoming games. Coaches are inundated with calls, emails, playing resumes, and videos. The follow up is important to stand out.
Follow up with updates and questions until the coach reaches a decision. Depending on the year a coach may have different recruiting priorities. Your position may not be a priority at that time. When it becomes a priority you want to be the first name that comes to mind. Players are turned down or choose other options. You want to be the next name on the list. Contacting a coach once is not enough. Stay in touch with them until they say YES or NO.