College recruitment can seem quite intimidating, especially for those who are new to the process.
As a parent or player, you want to do everything you can to ensure opportunities are present. But, as you may have found out in your own research, it’s not always a straightforward process.
Integrative Soccer has received many questions regarding recruitment:
- What age should I start my recruitment journey?
- Should I hire a recruiter?
- What are NCAA’s recruitment rules?
- How do I get my child in front of college coaches?
- How should I be preparing for college soccer?
We have experience around collegiate soccer and recruitment, but we are not specialists.
Most youth coaches are not specialists, either. Relying on a coach’s timeline could put your recruitment opportunities at risk. College coaches are actively scouting players as young as fourteen, at which time most youth coaches aren’t typically advising collegiate options. It’s simply not at the forefront of their minds.
The best resources for college recruitment are the players, coaches, and recruiters who have been directly involved in the process. That’s why we do interviews and share organizations that guide you on the right path.
A majority of the players registered with Integrative Soccer are approaching the early teen years, which is the best time to start researching opportunities. Proactivity is key, and it probably won’t be inspired by anyone except you… and maybe this article.
This is your signal to start looking!
Websites with Reliable Information on College Recruitment
The earlier you understand the process, the better your chances.
Luckily, there are several free resources available online that can provide you with the information to increase your recruitment chances.
These are the two of the most trustworthy resources.
Next College Student Athlete (NCSA)
It’s hard to look past NCSA (now a part of IMG Academy). Every year, they help 24,000 new athletes enter collegiate sports and 35,000 coaches successfully recruit players. As the official recruitment partner of US Youth Soccer, they are a powerhouse in college soccer recruitment.
They also back their results with impressive data that blows away any testimonial on competitor sites. They regularly survey their large network of coaches and players to uncover collegiate soccer trends, and then they pass that information along to you.
We highly recommend NCSA as a jumping-off point as you begin your journey to collegiate soccer.
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
Who knows NCAA college recruitment better than the NCAA itself?
The NCAA publicly publishes its college recruitment rules. They also advise prospective athletes on the correct processes for recruitment. You can openly access their articles and the necessary documentation required to enter collegiate soccer on their website.
A lesser-known fact: the NCAA’s research department regularly analyzes and publishes information on the overall college soccer landscape. This can be helpful in understanding how to position yourself as you compete for your spot.
For example, recent reports show an increase in D1 athletic scholarships going to international players. If you’re a player who sits at the cusp of D1/D2 level, you may strategically target D2 coaches to ensure a scholarship, then transfer to D1 after one or two years.
And, just like NCSA, the NCAA surveys their players and coaches for their own recruitment, scholarship, and participation trends. They make this information public in their reports.
A few articles we’ve recently reviewed include:
- Trends in the Participation of International Student-Athletes in NCAA Divisions I and II
- NCAA Recruitment Facts
- Guides for the college-bound student
You can access more reports like these on the NCAA future student-athletes page.
College recruitment tips are also found in the form of podcasts!
The two podcasts listed below interview collegiate players and coaches about their personal experiences, providing unique tips on college recruitment. While I highly recommend you visit NCSA or NCAA, these resources can be a great supplement in preparing for collegiate play.
Be Proactive and Independent as You Search
Gaining independence over your college recruitment opportunities will allow you to start early, strategize, and be effective.
Enjoy these resources and check back for updates.