Recruiting Tips for Parents Just Starting the Process

I remember reading the earliest posts in this thread about 5-6 years ago. My girl started her recruiting activities (sending out emails to college coaches) about a year ago (in the spring prior to starting her high school junior year), and although it was quite intense and stressful for 5 months, she was offered a verbal commitment from one of her "Top 3 Dream" D1 schools (consistently ranked in the Top 20 in various annual "Best Colleges" lists) that she never thought she would be able to get into with academics alone. So, of course, she accepted their offer! I feel very proud and very lucky that it worked out so well and so quickly for her. Meanwhile, other players on her team are now starting again to go through another recruiting cycle that's even more intense because it will coincide with college applications later this year.

Since I got so much useful info simply by reading many of the posts in this thread, I will do my best to reply to relevant posts (even from years ago) to highlight them or respond to any new questions.

A few bits of insight that I'm happy to share after being on this soccer journey with my daughter for 10+ years:
  1. Appreciate every minute when you can watch her play or have a conversation with her (about soccer or anything else) -- the years go by very quickly, especially as she gets older and then starts to drive herself to trainings and games
  2. Capture game videos rather than game photos if you can -- videos are much more effective for sharing with college coaches or just for replay to reminisce
  3. Don't sweat the small stuff -- a bad ref call, a tight game that ended up a loss, she had a lousy game? These petty events don't matter compared to #1 above in the overall scheme of things. I used to be "that parent" during her U12 games -- pacing back and forth on the sideline, yelling "send it" (the 2nd most stupid thing a parent can say besides "push her back"), getting frustrated when she didn't start or got subbed out, etc. My best decision as a soccer parent was to "just shut up and enjoy watching the game" starting at U13. And I almost cried when she told me that she prefers having me drive her to games and be on the sideline rather than her Mom because she "yells too much."
  4. Oh, did I mention appreciate every minute when you can watch her play?
 
Daughter has done two unofficial visits. One was close, organized, and made sense to go unofficial. One could have been official, our choice, the school mentioned they like to bring in all verbal commits in September of their senior year for an official visit that they use for team bonding. If she chooses that school she will go back again on their dime, without a parent. You can also walk the campus of schools on your own to see if you like them.
All 4-5 schools that were very interested in my daughter had the same approach with unofficial vs. official visits -- that is, they wanted to reserve the official visit only for the verbally committed players, and they strongly prefer to have as many of those players do the official visit during the same weekend.

A couple schools also arrange to have the unofficial visit happen on the same weekend for interested players -- even though the players could be competing for the same roster spot, my daughter said she actually enjoyed meeting and talking with other players during these unofficial visits.
 
I remember reading the earliest posts in this thread about 5-6 years ago. My girl started her recruiting activities (sending out emails to college coaches) about a year ago (in the spring prior to starting her high school junior year), and although it was quite intense and stressful for 5 months, she was offered a verbal commitment from one of her "Top 3 Dream" D1 schools (consistently ranked in the Top 20 in various annual "Best Colleges" lists) that she never thought she would be able to get into with academics alone. So, of course, she accepted their offer! I feel very proud and very lucky that it worked out so well and so quickly for her. Meanwhile, other players on her team are now starting again to go through another recruiting cycle that's even more intense because it will coincide with college applications later this year.

Since I got so much useful info simply by reading many of the posts in this thread, I will do my best to reply to relevant posts (even from years ago) to highlight them or respond to any new questions.

A few bits of insight that I'm happy to share after being on this soccer journey with my daughter for 10+ years:
  1. Appreciate every minute when you can watch her play or have a conversation with her (about soccer or anything else) -- the years go by very quickly, especially as she gets older and then starts to drive herself to trainings and games
  2. Capture game videos rather than game photos if you can -- videos are much more effective for sharing with college coaches or just for replay to reminisce
  3. Don't sweat the small stuff -- a bad ref call, a tight game that ended up a loss, she had a lousy game? These petty events don't matter compared to #1 above in the overall scheme of things. I used to be "that parent" during her U12 games -- pacing back and forth on the sideline, yelling "send it" (the 2nd most stupid thing a parent can say besides "push her back"), getting frustrated when she didn't start or got subbed out, etc. My best decision as a soccer parent was to "just shut up and enjoy watching the game" starting at U13. And I almost cried when she told me that she prefers having me drive her to games and be on the sideline rather than her Mom because she "yells too much."
  4. Oh, did I mention appreciate every minute when you can watch her play?
Congrats on dream school for dd and 100% you did a super job dad and so did dd :) I knew some mama bears who yelled a lot and the dads were chill. I was a yeller until U16....lol! My dd has three more matches that she has committed to and then no more club. I watched a U10 game the other day for a few minutes after my dd U18/19 match up and I saw two dads that were pacing the sidelines hoping for a goal and a win. One of them was screaming at the ref and I saw my past self. I forgave myself for being way too into it, the winning part and the yelling at ref. It was `100% wrong on my part. U14 and younger was by far my most cherished times with my dd. Soccer changed after that. It became too much about the college deal and showcases, my poo :) I wish I could say I just kept my mouth shut after U13. Now I just sit and watch and cheer. I'm driving her to her last practice :)
 
I don't think it is too long. They can stop watching it at anytime. If what you put on their is quality, then it is fine. But, if it is a lot of the same stuff over and over, then I would eliminate the redundacy.
My daughter used a somewhat hidden feature of YouTube (only available in full website) which allows sharing a video link that starts at a specific timemark. This is much easier/faster for her to put together a list of 5-6 "highlights" (each with a timemarked YouTube video link) to share with college coaches vs. downloading YouTube videos, clipping them, and joining them into a single highlight video.

A few of the coaches told her that they liked having the full video because if they wanted to see a bit more of the gameplay leading up to the highlight timemark, they can easily do that. Another fascinating insight I got is that coaches actually reacted to how my daughter would celebrate a goal she had scored or assisted vs. a goal that happened without any involvement from her -- she gets just as excited for her teammates to score/assist by running to them and hugging them as she would jump for joy and open her arms to receive hugs from her teammates after she scored/assisted. These "qualities" of a player, showing their love for the game and they camaraderie with teammates, are almost never in any highlight reels that I've seen nor would my daughter or I even think about putting into her highlight reel if we were to create one (fortunately, we never had to).
 
I remember reading the earliest posts in this thread about 5-6 years ago. My girl started her recruiting activities (sending out emails to college coaches) about a year ago (in the spring prior to starting her high school junior year), and although it was quite intense and stressful for 5 months, she was offered a verbal commitment from one of her "Top 3 Dream" D1 schools (consistently ranked in the Top 20 in various annual "Best Colleges" lists) that she never thought she would be able to get into with academics alone. So, of course, she accepted their offer! I feel very proud and very lucky that it worked out so well and so quickly for her. Meanwhile, other players on her team are now starting again to go through another recruiting cycle that's even more intense because it will coincide with college applications later this year.

Since I got so much useful info simply by reading many of the posts in this thread, I will do my best to reply to relevant posts (even from years ago) to highlight them or respond to any new questions.

A few bits of insight that I'm happy to share after being on this soccer journey with my daughter for 10+ years:
  1. Appreciate every minute when you can watch her play or have a conversation with her (about soccer or anything else) -- the years go by very quickly, especially as she gets older and then starts to drive herself to trainings and games
  2. Capture game videos rather than game photos if you can -- videos are much more effective for sharing with college coaches or just for replay to reminisce
  3. Don't sweat the small stuff -- a bad ref call, a tight game that ended up a loss, she had a lousy game? These petty events don't matter compared to #1 above in the overall scheme of things. I used to be "that parent" during her U12 games -- pacing back and forth on the sideline, yelling "send it" (the 2nd most stupid thing a parent can say besides "push her back"), getting frustrated when she didn't start or got subbed out, etc. My best decision as a soccer parent was to "just shut up and enjoy watching the game" starting at U13. And I almost cried when she told me that she prefers having me drive her to games and be on the sideline rather than her Mom because she "yells too much."
  4. Oh, did I mention appreciate every minute when you can watch her play?
Sounds like your ready for the next chapter, the battle to travel and get playing time. This is where you fully lose control since most coaches never talk to parents. No matter what her playing experience is try to stay positive through the process and enjoy the ride.
 
Making a video serves a purpose in the right circumstances, but anyone who relies on video really far behind the eight ball. What simisoccerfan said is the best advice anyone has given yet in this thread. Recruiting can be very easy and straightforward if kid plays at a solid ECNL club for a respected coach. College coaches show up in droves for good teams at showcases and will almost always pay close attention to a kid who has shown interest, at least if the club coach has recommended the player in advance and is respected enough for the college to know they don't oversell players.

Every dollar I paid for soccer was earned back 10x over when her coach sat us down to talk about her future, specifically college. We talked about her interests, grades and test scores, and the colleges we were interested in for and their educational programs. We discussed how he anticipated she would fit in with different college coaches given their respective personalities and styles of play. He knew everything, including the educational programs at every school we were interested in, and each of the college coaches personally including their personalities and style of play. We discussed the schools he thought she might have a hard time getting playing time and the extent to which that even mattered to her if, for example, soccer was just her way to leverage getting admitted to Stanford. He made calls to coaches at the schools we agreed were the best fits, every single one of them watched her team at a showcase a few weeks later and, in fact, 100 college coaches came to her team's games that weekend. Within a month she had unofficial visits to two Ivies, two Pac-12s, and the one WCC that interested us. There were no videos. There were no mass emails to college coaches. This is not how things were done at her club because it was not necessary. All it took was my daughter's hard work, excellent daily training and development, and a phone call.

It is painful seeing dads complain in the other thread that a club deserves to be in ECNL because it has a U14 team that beat a pre-ECNL team at Mustang. They have no idea what ECNL is about. It isn't about 14 year old girls winning as many soccer games as possible. Many of their daughters are 11, 12 or 13 and have the potential to leverage soccer into college opportunity that it beyond their parents' wildest dreams and the path is right there in front of them, but they will squander it. When they claim a club in Modesto should be in ECNL over one like Santa Rosa United that has not won much for a long time, they have no clue. They don't understand that any 13 year old girl with potential who plays at Santa Rosa who is committed will develop into a solid college recruit even if they lose all their games. They don't understand that this club has respected staff with a long history of developing kids who have ability, and who are respected by college coaches who will answer the phone and listen when they call based on mutual respect that has been earned over decades. They fail to understand that there has been a single family connected with that club for so long, and who have contributed to developing and putting so many girls into high level programs that it is ridiculous, so much so that a kid is 75% of the way to an offer just because one of them made a phone call. Whereas college coaches have dealt with unknown yahoo coaches trying to oversell players and waste their time their entire careers, and it is unlikely they will even listen to the voicemail when some unknown phone number pops up.
I would agree with all of the points above and the intricacies of the recruiting process because my daughter's team coach as well as her club's ECNL Director were instrumental in preparing her and her teammates for the recruiting process, in mentoring her to refine/optimize conversations with interested college coaches, and in helping to "clinch" the offer for a verbal commitment that she happily accepted. Game videos had only supplemental value in the entire recruiting process.
 
Sounds like your ready for the next chapter, the battle to travel and get playing time. This is where you fully lose control since most coaches never talk to parents. No matter what her playing experience is try to stay positive through the process and enjoy the ride.
I still have another year of her club and high school soccer to enjoy in person before she leaves the nest, and I'm going to cherish every minute of it.

Fortunately, her would be college has had most of their games available on ESPN+ (hope it'll remain the case going forward), so I'm expecting to be able to watch her virtually while she's in college. Regardless, my wife and I are already planning/budgeting to make at least 1-2 visits to watch her play in person (hopefully, she'll get some playtime at least pre-season if not during the season) and enjoy some vacation time while we're there.
 

GT45

GOLD
All 4-5 schools that were very interested in my daughter had the same approach with unofficial vs. official visits -- that is, they wanted to reserve the official visit only for the verbally committed players, and they strongly prefer to have as many of those players do the official visit during the same weekend.
This is a spin for the schools/coaches to save money. They only have to fly in the players who end up committing there, rather than spend their recruiting dollars on someone who may turn them down. If it is a flying trip and they are serious about you, they should be paying for an official visit. If you end up committing there, you can pay for an unofficial on the weekend that all of the commits go in her senior year.

For those that do not know, you can only take one official visit per school, and five total. So local schools make sense in many cases to take unofficially.
 
This is a spin for the schools/coaches to save money. They only have to fly in the players who end up committing there, rather than spend their recruiting dollars on someone who may turn them down. If it is a flying trip and they are serious about you, they should be paying for an official visit. If you end up committing there, you can pay for an unofficial on the weekend that all of the commits go in her senior year.

For those that do not know, you can only take one official visit per school, and five total. So local schools make sense in many cases to take unofficially.
Fair point about schools holding back official visits to save money. It's never a mistake to ask for an official visit if the school seems to be very interested in the player. However, if the player is very interested in the school, then I wouldn't wait for the official visit if the cost for the unofficial visit is manageable, especially if there are other schools offering unofficial visits. In the recruiting process, it's helpful to experience as much of the school, coaching staff, and team -- in person -- as soon as possible in order to make comparisons and pros/cons.
 
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