The college soccer recruiting process can be challenging and is often confusing. Just like the position they play, the goalkeeper recruiting process is unique. We have detailed some keeper-specific tips to aid you in your college search and help find the right fit for your academic and athletic career.
Understand the recruiting cycle
College coaches will have years where a keeper is a priority for them and others where they do not need a keeper. It is not only if you are good enough for a program, the coach has to have a need for a goalkeeper in your recruiting class. Unfortunately, you may be good enough to play at your dream school, however, if they are not looking to recruit a keeper, then you are out of luck.
One way to educate yourself on this would be to spend time looking at the rosters of schools of interest. Although not definitive, you can get a sense of whether or not a keeper may be a priority for them by looking at the graduating years of the keepers and also which of the keepers on the roster earned minutes.
Communicate with coaches – Ask the right questions
Communication is key in the recruiting process, building relationships with college coaches will ultimately provide greater opportunities for evaluation. As a keeper you need to ask if the coach if program is looking for a keeper your recruiting class. (If NCAA rules prohibit coaches from responding to you, you should ask them to respond to your coach.)
If the program is looking for a keeper and your relationship with the coach develops, you want to determine what are the expectations for the recruited keeper. Is the coach looking for a 3rd or 4th string keeper as a back-up or is the coach looking for the keeper to compete for time their freshman year, or somewhere in between? In both these examples coaches are recruiting a keeper, however, the experience the keeper will receive will be very different.
Tournaments and showcase events
Tournaments and showcase events are great ways of getting exposure. When evaluating goalkeepers, coaches will be looking at the technical and physical traits, however, they are also looking at your presence, identified below as tactical and psychological variables:
- How do you communicate in critical moments, not just cheerleading
- How do you organize set pieces
- How do you respond to a mistake
- Can you read the play and control the space behind the defense
- Can you effectively distribute the ball, start counter attacks
- Can you relieve pressure from your back-line and be available for back-passes
- Do you take your own goalkicks
What to include when sending video
If coaches are unable to see you play in person then a video may be your next best opportunity. Coaches prefer to see game footage, however, goalkeepers should also include some training footage. This way the training footage can showcase your technique, footwork, handling etc. and the game footage can illustrate your technique in action as well as show your decision making and presence.
Great luck in the college soccer recruiting process !
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