Should a player introduce himself / herself to the head coach at an ID camp? Or would you prefer a player respect your time? “Our camps are small enough where that’s not going to be a problem. We’re going to get a chance to interact with every player. We’ll have a chance to get a read on every player. If it’s a larger camp, and you have a chance to say hi to the coach and give your name, go for it. Some camps are different, depending on the size of the camp and the personality of the coach. Some coaches are engaged, and some stand back. Use it as an opportunity to introduce yourself if you can. But trust the process that if you do a good job on the field, they’ll work to find out your name.”
If a player is not being recruited by the staff at his / her dream school, when should he / she move on to a second option? “The timelines are all so jumbled. There are going to be players that are late-bloomers. There might be a team that has some scholarship money left toward the end. If you don’t give up and improve a lot, that might line up with a program’s needs. Be realistic about your conversations with each program. For a lot of kids, if there is interest from a college coach, that coach will be engaged. If you’re not getting much feedback, just know that every program is dealing with a constant volume of kids. If you’re not hearing much, then it’s time to be open-minded about other opportunities.
Broaden the scope. But I’ve seen latebloomers get in with a new team late and become top recruits for those schools.”
What can high school and club players be doing to better prepare for college? “In our model, we’re looking for personalities. We’re looking for competitors. It doesn’t matter if it’s the last day of camp, and we’re playing a Rondo game, or if it’s some warmup. You want to have someone out there driving the energy that wants to win. They know there’s something to be gained every time they step on the field. Ultimately, in recruiting, you’re looking at 16and 17-year-olds and guessing who will be best when they’re 19 and 20. We find the best way is to identify a player who is constantly getting after it.”
What conditioning advice would you give to incoming freshmen? “When their senior season ends, they can get on the college team’s summer program. You can’t commit as a sophomore and start communicating with the college team’s strength coach, but you can during that senior summer. You’ll get feedback if you commit. Coaches might get out to see you play; they’ll let you know what they see. It’s pretty standard that as soon as a high school player graduates, the team will get them on the same strength and fitness program.”
Reprinted from FUEL Soccer. The official digital magazine of US Youth Soccer.
The official e-newsletter of the Virginia Youth Soccer Association.