College Soccer is the perfect way to explore your passion for the game, while maintaining a healthy balance with your academics and other social activities. I have some bad and good news for you. We’ll get the bad news out of the way first, that is that millions of kids are playing soccer from the ages three to eighteen. That gives you a very large sum of competition. On the flip side, there are thousands of programs out there, allowing you to choose what best fits your needs, desires, and skills. In this article, I will provide you with a few tips that would hopefully set you apart from the millions and get you a head start on your journey towards Collegiate Soccer.
First and foremost, your passion for the game is going to be your key to success. Passion is very important, because let’s be honest, it won’t be easy. You will sacrifice a lot of time with family and friends, you will miss out on other social activities and there might be times where you just want to give it all up. You must first determine if you are passionate enough and if you are willing to sacrifice all these things to get there. Because remember, millions of kids are in the same position as you, they want the same thing as you.
Once you have made a commitment with yourself, it’s time to start your journey. The first thing that you want to do is to make a list of the possible schools that meet your interest. You may have a dream school or program, or no idea of what you are looking for, both are perfectly fine. If you know what you want, make a list and start researching the schools (what courses they offer, what division they are, style of play, program record, coach, etc…) If you are on the other side, where you don’t know what you want, then you can start by asking yourself what it is you want out of a college or university. Once you figure this out, then you can start your research stage. Once you have completed researching the schools on your list, start ranking them based on your preference.
Here is a checklist of some of the things you will need before you contact coaches:
• An updated resume and your player profile
• Cover letter
• SAT Results
• Video of you playing if possible
• Maintain a good GPA
• Play at showcases
Once you have your checklist, it’s time to contact your coaches. Send them an email in advance, introduce yourself, express your interest in the program and say why you think you will add value to it. Attach your resume, grades and video of you playing if possible. Give it a couple of days for replies, coaches are very busy and receive thousands of emails for recruitment, so be patient. Now time to set yourself apart from the millions of kids, time to call the coach. You want to start calling coaches in the order of your list from bottom to top. This will allow you to gain confidence and understand what they are asking from you as you go along. When you get to the top of your list you would have already crush a few good interviews and your confidence will be noted. Start to gather the feedback as you go along and create a list of the most common questions and work on them. Understand what they are looking for and try and present yourself in a way that they will be interested. At the end of the day, you are literally pitching a sale (of yourself as a soccer player).
After you talk to all the coaches on your list, hopefully you have some options by now. It’s now time to take a visit to these schools. There are two types of visits: unofficial visits (at your own expense) and official (at the expense of the school). Both are fine, the end goal is for you to:
• Visit the city
• See the school
• Get a feel of the school
• Meet the coach in person if you haven’t
• Meet the players on the team (and watch them practice or play)
• Talk to a school counselor to see if they have the degree of your preference
Once you have visited a couple of schools it’s time to analyze your options. A few things to consider here can be:
• City you will live in for the next 4 years (Weather, activities, places, etc…)
• Team you will play for (and spent most of your time with)
• School (size of school, academics, social activities etc…)
• Coach you will play for (style of play, playing time, etc…)
• Offer you have (financial aid, price of school, etc…)
Weigh in your options and based on that make your decision. This decision will have a big impact on your life. Be patient, take your time and analyze all factors involved. After you make your decision, you are pretty much set to go! Congrats, you have accomplished something amazing and you should be proud of yourself.
I want to leave you with a few things to remember throughout this long process. The first one is that this whole thing is exactly that, “a process” and you should focus on enjoying the process. Sometimes we lose track of what is happening in the process of reaching that end goal. Drop the end goal for now, enjoy the process and the options will come. Always remember to have fun, this is going to be a long journey but it’s a fun one. Share your passion with others, love the game and remember, always, always, always HAVE FUN!
Jose Pablo Covarrubias