August 2022 | Back to School

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Demystifying the

College Recruiting Process WRITTEN BY ALEXA COYLE AND CATE WRIGHT

Many high school athletes dream of playing sports in college; getting recruited to compete at the next level while also continuing their academic careers. Some athletes may even be offered scholarships and receive tuition dollars for their athletic skills. It sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the college recruiting process has become more competitive and complicated over the past few years. The good news is, we have a local expert ready to help simplify the process. Professional soccer player and Montana Surf Soccer Club advisor, Alexa Coyle, grew up in Bozeman and went on to play collegiate soccer at the University of Montana before joining Scottish Women’s Premier League team, Hibernian FC in Edinburgh, Scotland. She recently launched The Female Edge, a company that consults with high school athletes, guiding them through college recruiting processes, providing mindset mentoring and more. Here, we have teamed up with Alexa to bring you a step-by-step guide to a successful college recruiting process:

THE WARM UP

Start researching colleges you may be interested in and ask yourself these key questions:

Ç What type of style does the team play? Would your style of play fit in with the team's style?

Ç At what level do you wish to play? College programs are separated

into divisions: D1, D2, D3, NAIA. Explore the divisions and figure out where you best fit in.

Ç Does the school offer programming that matches your academic

interests and objectives? (*Hint: keep focusing on your academics— grades are more important than you think in recruiting!)

Ç How close to home do you want to be? Where is the college located? Ç What is the climate like? Do you enjoy that kind of weather? Ç What scholarships are available at the school? Ç What do you enjoy doing outside of your sport? Does the school’s location support those hobbies?

Create a target list of five to 10 schools that fit your criteria. Make a spreadsheet including the names and contact information for the coaches at each of these schools. Record all of your games/races and use the best footage to create a highlight video. A highlight video is made up of a series of clips of game footage that highlight you and your specific talents and skills. Highlight videos are a great way to capture a college coach’s attention and have become a must-have item in the recruiting process. Create a player profile. Your player profile is a sports resume that will help coaches get to know who you are. Your player profile will include your highlight reel, key information about you as a player, your grades, your athletic and academic achievements and a bio that shares more information about your interests and goals. This player profile can be included in the emails sent to coaches of the schools that interest you. 28

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THE FIRST HALF

Remember that contact list you created? Use it to email coaches of the schools you may be interested in before each tournament you attend. The coaches will have a list of players they want to observe and you want to be sure that you’re on it. Be sure to include:

Ç Your Name Ç Graduation Year Ç Position(s) Ç Jersey Number you will be wearing Ç Tournament Schedule – include the name of your specific bracket and team

Ç Highlight Video and Player Profile Ç Your Contact Information Attend College ID Camps for the schools you’re interested in. Alexa shared, “I attended the University of Montana soccer ID camp every summer during high school. My junior summer I was recruited directly from the camp and offered a spot on the team. ID camps are a great way for coaches to spend significant time getting to know you and give you the opportunity to showcase your unique talents.” Email the coaches before the camp so they know who you are before you attend. This will help you stand out.

THE SECOND HALF

Be consistent, proactive and responsive – email coaches consistently and be proactive in your emailing, as well as responsive to emails you may receive. Be bold in expressing your interest – you want to differentiate yourself from other players interested in the school. Calling coaches is a great way to differentiate yourself. ENJOY the process and you will find the right school for YOU! It is important to stay focused on yourself in the process and eliminate comparison to other people's recruiting journeys.

THE WIN

College recruiting can be daunting, but as with anything in life, you can set yourself up for a win by having a clear game plan, knowing what you are looking for, utilizing the proper tools and obtaining valuable advice. Alexa Coyle is a Bozeman native, professional soccer player and founder of TheFemaleEdge.co, a business specializing in helping high school athletes with mindset mentoring, training plans and college recruiting. Cate Wright is a mother of two, volunteer and member of the Montana Surf/Blitzz FC Board of Directors. Her work with the Montana Surf Annual Fund is focused on ensuring that all children have access to the mental and physical benefits of sports, regardless of income.