|NCSA RECRUITING ARTICLES ARCHIVE 2011|
|August 2011||July 2011||June 2011- none||May 2011|
|April 2011||March 2011||February 2011 - none||January 2011|
Important Soccer Dates
Every sport has important dates throughout the recruiting process. Most of these dates can differ from sport to sport, which is another reason why you should never compare your recruiting process to anyone else's. Remember that these are the important dates you need to be aware of as a soccer prospect.
• September 1st of junior year: This date marks the first day when Division I and II coaches can begin contacting prospects via email or letters in the mail. Prior to this date, their only allowed contact was camp brochures, questionnaires or other form letters. If you are not contacted by a Division I or II coach on or around this date, you are not on their radar.
• June 15th before senior year: Division II coaches can begin calling prospects once a week on this date.
• July 1st before senior year: The date when Division I coaches can begin calling prospects once a week. If you don't receive a phone call from a Division I coach on or around this date, it may be wise to focus on other levels.
• First day of senior classes: On this date, you can begin to take official visits to schools. The college coach will invite prospects on an official visit and they are typically reserved for top prospects.
• National Letter of Intent Signing Dates: The NLI is used for Division I and II scholarship athletes and once signed, the athlete and school are bound for one academic year. The 2012 soccer signing dates go from February 1, 2012 until August 1, 2012.
These dates apply to the coaches; you can call and email coaches at anytime. Most of the NCAA contact dates will apply to Division I and II schools. When it comes to Division III and NAIA, most do not have strict recruiting rules. You can communicate with Division III and NAIA schools at anytime. These dates will help you know what to expect throughout this process and will show coaches your recruiting knowledge.
Do You Know the Recruiting Timeline?
Recruiting begins in your freshman year, as that is when coaches at every level can begin to contact you in some form. Follow this timeline to get an idea of where you fit in:
Top Division I programs begin evaluating prospects freshman year. They will be watching prospects at tournaments and will send out camp invitations, questionnaires or general information on the school. Division II, III and NAIA schools, might send questionnaires and camp invitations as well, but it is still early for most of those schools.
Most programs will continue sending prospects camp information and questionnaires. Sophomore year is the biggest evaluation year for Division I coaches. They will be attending the major tournaments throughout the country and solid Division I athletes will be evaluated and identified during this time.
Division I prospects will be receiving personalized emails or letters from Division I coaches after September 1st. Solid prospects will be invited to campus on unofficial visits and most Division I recruits will have made their verbal commitments by the end of junior year.
Division II, III and NAIA prospects will be receiving personalized emails as well and will begin taking unofficial visits.
Division I athletes might take official visits during the fall and if offered an athletic scholarship, they will sign the National Letter of Intent in February. Division II, III and NAIA prospects will be making their final visits and will be making decisions at this time. Lower level programs will continue to recruit through late senior year.
This timeline isn't set in stone, but it is how the process generally works. Never wait for a coach to reach out to you. Always be pro-active, but keep this timeline in mind as you contact coaches.
Division III Schools: Why They May Be a Better Fit Than You Think
Somewhere along the line, Division III schools received a bad reputation. Student-athletes tend to think that either only low-level athletes go to Division III schools or that they are too expensive for their families to afford. This is not the case for most Division III schools and you should always give them a chance.
There are more than 800 Division III schools that have either a men's or women's soccer program throughout the nation, compared to about 500 Division I schools and about 400 Division II schools. There are many more opportunities to play soccer at a Division III school and if you don't remain open to Division III schools, you would miss out on quite a few opportunities.
A large number of Division III schools are stronger academically than schools in other divisions. There is also more one-on-one attention from professors at Division III schools, which can translate to higher grades. Division III schools tend to be smaller in size, which often means they are more academically focused.
One of the biggest reasons families do not consider Division III schools is because they don't offer athletic scholarships. However, most put together great financial packages that can be worth more money than an athletic scholarship could be. This money comes in the form of an academic scholarship or grant and it is available to all students, rather than only athletes.
Take the time to research Division III schools to see which ones might be the right fit for you. If you are a student-athlete who is looking to receive a top-notch education, attending a Division III school could be the right path for you.
What Does a Division I Player Look Like?
Division I soccer is not for everyone. It is extremely high level of play and only a small percentage of athletes can compete at that level of play. A Division I player is not made overnight; Division I athletes have been playing against top competition since they were very young. A great deal of time and money has been spent on these athletes in order for them to be placed in the category of being the best.
Division I coaches, especially top Division I, are looking for the best and they know where to look. Many Division I coaches will begin looking at athletes freshman and sophomore years and if you are serious about playing at this level, you need to be taking the proper steps early on.
Division I coaches are looking for players who have the following experience:
• ODP Experience:
o National Team/Pool
o Regional Team/Pool
o State Team NOT Pool
• CLUB Experience:
o Premier Club Experience
o Attend Major Tournaments:
Score at the Shore
Las Vegas Showcase
• High School Experience:
o Varsity starter
Pay close attention to who is contacting you. Division I coaches can start sending you personalized letters and emails, beginning September 1st of your junior year. If you aren't hearing from Division I coaches close to this date, they don't know about you. In a perfect world, Division I coaches would like to have their recruits committed by early junior year.
It's That Time of Year Again…
Are you receiving camp invitations or camp brochures? If so, you aren't alone. This is the time of year when coaches are spreading the word about their summer camps. Camps can be a valuable experience for an athlete, but you must have realistic expectations. Coaches send camp invitations to all of the athletes they have in their database and even though the invitation may look personalized, do not assume that a coach is recruiting you just because they send you an invitation.
The primary purpose of most camps is to raise money for a program and that is why coaches contact so many athletes. If you receive a camp invitation from a coach whom you have not had previous contact with, it is best to contact that coach personally before you make a decision. You will want to find out what their interest level is in you and what their role will be throughout the camp.
Attending camps is important and every athlete is encouraged to do so, but it should be for the right reasons. Every camp is a chance to play with different athletes and coaches, improve your skills and learn new techniques. Camps are a great opportunity for you to see campus and get a sense of a coach's style. However, the cost of camps can add up quickly, so you need to choose them wisely. Try to attend the camps at schools you are interested in and where you have spoken to the coach previously. Knowing that a coach is recruiting you before making this decision is very beneficial and will help ensure you make the most of the money you put towards camps.
You can attend as many camps as you would like, but keep realistic expectations. It can be easy to get excited when you receive an invitation for a camp, but before you get your hopes up too high, be sure to look into things first.
Where do you fit in?
Recruiting starts early; if you are interested in playing soccer in college, you must start thinking about college early as well. Different levels will begin recruiting prospects at different times. As a general rule, the stronger the program, the earlier they will recruit. When talking with coaches, always ask for the dates at which they intend to have their recruiting for your class completed.
Here are some guidelines that will help you gain an idea of where you currently fit in the timeline:
Division I: High level Division I programs will begin evaluating prospects freshman and sophomore years. You will receive camp information and questionnaires as a freshman and sophomore and they will personally contact you right around September 1st of junior year. You will more than likely have an idea of their interest prior to this date, as they typically communicate with your club coaches. These coaches will be extending verbal offers early junior year. Lower level Division
I programs will also extend verbal offers throughout junior year and try to have their recruiting done by the end of junior year.
Division II: High level Division II programs operate much like Division I coaches; they will recruit prospects early and they will be extending offers throughout junior year. Mid-Low level programs will typically wrap-up their recruiting by early senior year.
Division III and NAIA: High level programs will try to complete their recruiting by the end of the athlete's junior year. Some will continue recruiting early junior year. Mid-lower level programs can continue to recruit athletes until late senior year.
Nothing is absolute, but this will give you a good sense of how a coach's timeline operates at each level. Pay attention to the contacts you are receiving and the quality of the contacts. Where do you fit into this timeline?
NCSA, the Official Scouting Organization and Provider of Recruiting Education for Cal South, is the premier source for matching high school scholar - athletes with colleges and universities across the country. NCSA is the "Eyes & Ears" of more than 35,000 college coaches, who rely on NCSA's experienced scouting team and instant response capabilities to provide them with quality prospective recruits. NCSA prides itself in educating high school student-athletes and their families about the college recruiting process. Please visit www.ncsasports.org for more information about NCSA.