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How to Communicate with College Coaches.........Do's and Don'ts

Gordon Henderson
Ohio South Director of Coaching
 
Updated January 2014
 

Want to play soccer in college? There are multiple possibilities to consider; NCAA Division 1, NCAA Division 2, NCAA Division 3, NAIA, Junior College and Community College. The following article will focus upon institutions that participate at NCAA or NAIA level.

Okay.....before we start - a little bit of revision homework from the following article;

Scholarships! The Elephant in the Room (College Recruiting Part 1)

  • What does NCAA and NAIA stand for?
  • What is the difference between NCAA and NAIA?
  • What is the difference between NCAA Division 1, 2 and 3?
  • Is it possible to receive academic and athletic aid from an institution?

 

Good!.....now let's move on.

Common Contact and Recruiting Terminology

As you become engaged in the recruiting and decision making process, you will start to hear some specific terminology....the following list represent some of the more common terms to familiarize yourself with;

NCAA Division 1, 2, 3

Contact Evaluation Official Visit Prospective Student Athlete
Contact Period      Evaluation Period   Unofficial Visit Verbal Commitment
Dead Period Quiet Period   National Letter of Intent (NLI)
 

 

 

 

Definitions and explanations can be found on page 21 of the following link on the Ohio South website;

2013 - 2014 NCAA Guide for College Bound Student Athletes

 

NAIA

By philosophy, NAIA institutions tend to be less restrictive with rules during the recruitment period.

NAIA College Guide

 

When Should I Start Getting in Touch with College Coaches?

This really is a million dollar question as it tends to be different by gender and division. There are always exceptions to these timelines depending on the level of the college program (the higher a National ranking of a program – the earlier they tend to recruit) and the ability of the player (national team player, regional team player, state team player, etc.).  The following are approximate guidelines;

NCAA Division 1

Women – beginning sophomore year to middle of junior year

Men – middle of sophomore year to end junior year

NCAA Division 2

Women – beginning of sophomore year to beginning of junior year

Men – beginning of junior year to beginning of senior year

NCAA Division 3

Women – beginning of sophomore year to middle of junior year

Men – beginning of junior year to beginning of senior year

NAIA

Women – beginning of junior year to beginning of senior year

Men – beginning of junior year to beginning of senior year

 

How Should I get in Touch with a College Coach?

First.......this should be the player – not the parent......

Initial contact can be as early as freshman year – but for most – it is sophomore or junior year.

General Rule of Thumb......

  1. You can phone, e-mail , write to a coach any time you want......they may not be able to respond (see below)
  2. You can visit a college campus to talk with a college coach any time you want (except during a dead period)
  3. E-mail is usually best. Telephone calls and in person contacts are a lot more personal – but more restrictive.

Be aware that there are Recruiting Rules that many institutions need to follow depending on the level they play at (NCAA Division 1, 2, 3) or organization (NCAA or NAIA). This may restrict the coach from responding to your e-mail, phone call or letter.

 

NCAA Division 1

See page 22 – 23 of NCAA College Bound Student Athlete ('Other Sports' Column)

NCAA Guide for College Bound Student Athletes

  • Camp Brochures/Questionnaires – college coach may send freshman or sophomore year
  • Printed Recruiting Materials - college coach may send beginning September 1st of Junior year
  • E-mail /Letters – college coach may respond to e-mails beginning September 1st of Junior year
  • Telephone – college coach may phone you beginning July 1st before Senior year

 

NCAA Division 2

See page 24 of NCAA College Bound Student Athlete 

NCAA Guide for College Bound Student Athletes

  • Camp Brochures/Questionnaires - college coach may send at any time
  • Printed Recruiting Materials – college coach may send beginning June 15th before Junior year
  • E-mail /Letters – college coach may respond to e-mails beginning June 15th before Junior year
  • Telephone – college coach may phone beginning June 15th before Junior year

 

NCAA Division 3

See page 24 of NCAA College Bound Student Athlete 

NCAA Guide for College Bound Student Athletes

  • Camp Brochures/Questionnaires - college coach may send at any time
  • Printed Recruiting Materials – college coach may send at any time
  • E-mail /Letters – college coach may send at any time
  • Telephone – college coach may phone at any time

 

NAIA

  • Camp Brochures/Questionnaires - college coach may send at any time
  • Recruiting Materials – college coach may send at any time
  • E-mail /Letters – college coach may send at any time
  • Telephone – college coach may phone at any time

 

Player Resume - What Information Should be Included?

  1. Name, Address
  2. Graduation Year
  3. GPA
  4. Test scores (if applicable)
  5. Parent/Guardian names
  6. Why you want to attend this college/university......personalized (never generic  - Dear coach)
  7. Brief Academic highlight paragraph
  8. Club Team and number
  9. Club coach name and contact information
  10. Brief Club Athletic achievement paragraph
  11. High School Team and number
  12. High School coach name and contact information
  13. Brief High School achievement paragraph
  14. Upcoming event that see can see you play

 

Total should be no more than 1 – 2 pages.....if you are very interested in the institution – stay in touch! You have to recruit the colleges and universities as much as they have to recruit you.....

 

What About Video Clips?

Ask the coach their preference......I would anticipate that most do not want any video and prefer to see you in person. However, that may not always be possible. Use of video clips is becoming more and more isolated as a recruiting source.

 

What is an Unofficial Visit?

See page 21 of NCAA College Bound Student Athlete

NCAA Guide for College Bound Student Athletes

 

What is an Official Visit?

See page 21 of NCAA College Bound Student Athlete

NCAA Guide for College Bound Student Athletes

 

Should I Speak to a College Coach at one of my Soccer Matches or Tournaments?

For the most part.......No – they can reply with a general 'Hi' and that is about it. If they engage in conversation, this will count as a 'contact' which may or may not be permissible. If they wish to meet off campus, they will arrange it. If they do, it can only be after the game or tournament is completed and once your coach has released you. This is one of the biggest errors and recruiting rules violations out there.....the coach can get in trouble for this!

NCAA Division 1, 2, 3

See page 22 of NCAA College Bound Student Athlete

NCAA Guide for College Bound Student Athletes

 

NAIA

You may speak with the coach or the coach may speak with you after any game.

 
 
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