If you’re a high school soccer player with dreams of playing for a college team, you may be wondering when you can start being recruited. After all, isn’t 9th grade too early? Yes and no. The answer depends on a variety of factors, including your sport, your academic standing, and the current regulations set forth by the NCAA.
In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of college recruitment, including eligibility criteria, recruitment periods, and scholarship opportunities.
Key Takeaways in this Article:
- To be eligible for college recruitment, you’ll need to meet certain academic and athletic standards.
- Recruitment for soccer periods and strategies vary by the school and coach, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the regulations.
- Scholarship opportunities are available for some student-athletes, but the commitment process can be complex and requires careful consideration.
When can soccer coaches contact recruits? Almost all forms of contact are allowed starting June 15th after an athlete’s sophomore year. This includes all forms of communication – verbal offers, emails, calls, texts, and recruiting letters. With this said, coaches can reach out earlier in some divisions.
There are no specific age requirements for college athletic recruitment. However, most college coaches start recruiting student-athletes during their sophomore or junior year of high school. It doesn’t matter if the sophomore is 15 or 17 years of age. This allows coaches to evaluate the athlete’s potential and track their progress over time.
To be eligible for college athletic recruitment, you must maintain a minimum GPA and complete a specific number of core courses. The NCAA has different eligibility requirements for Division I and Division II schools, so it’s important to check the specific requirements for the schools you are interested in.
In addition to academic standing, coaches will evaluate your athletic performance. For soccer players, they will look at how well you do in your position, your physical attributes, speed, technical skills, and how you handle yourself on the field. If you are in your high school years, try to always conduct yourself in the best light possible. You never know who’s watching!
The NCAA has specific rules and standards that colleges and coaches must follow when recruiting high school athletes. These regulations vary depending on the division of the college, so it’s important to know the specific rules for the division you’re interested in.
Division 1 Recruiting Rules
If you’re interested in playing sports at a Division 1 college, soccer coaches can start contacting you on or after June 15th of your sophomore year of high school. Coaches can start extending verbal offers and sending athletes text messages, direct messages, and emails, as well as all recruiting materials through snail mail.
Starting on August 1 before your junior year, athletes can make official and unofficial campus visits. During this time, the school’s athletic departments are also allowed to engage in recruits’ unofficial visits, assisting in arranging activities or meetings with coaches. Additionally, coaches can make off-campus contact with athletes at their homes or schools.
Division 2 Recruiting Rules
Division 2 colleges have slightly different regulations when it comes to recruiting. Coaches can start contacting you on or after June 15 after your sophomore year of high school.
Division 2 schools can send you campus information, NCAA publications, and non-recruiting material at any age. This is different from D1 regulations.
Division 3 Recruiting Rules
Division 3 colleges have the most relaxed regulations when it comes to recruiting. Coaches can contact you at any time after your sophomore year. They can send you recruiting material at any time.
Additionally, Division 3 colleges do not offer athletic scholarships, so coaches cannot offer you a scholarship at any point during the recruiting process. However, the school can provide you with merit or financial aid through your academics.
You can start visiting campuses after January 1st of your junior year of high school.
When it comes to college recruitment, there are several strategies that can help you get noticed by colleges. Here are three effective strategies to consider:
One of the best ways to get on the radar of college recruiters is to be proactive in your communication with them. This means reaching out to them directly and expressing your interest in their school. You can do this by sending an email, making a phone call, or even sending a handwritten note.
Make sure to introduce yourself and provide a brief overview of your academic and soccer achievements. Also, include a video highlighting your most current soccer season. A quality video can help you stand out from the large pile of emails!
College scouts are always looking to make their teams better. With the advancement in club soccer, there are many showcases throughout the year. Your club may participate in some but it’s also on you to seek local ones. You should also explore showcases or ID events at your desired colleges.
At the end of the day, you want to be close to where the action is at. It’s difficult to scouts to attend individual games but easy enough to walk through a national or regional showcase.
Social Media Presence
In today’s digital age, having a strong social media presence can be an effective way to get noticed by college recruiters. Make sure to clean up your social media profiles and look like someone wants to recruit.
In your profile, include your club, high school class, the league you play in, and maybe an inspirational quote. You’ll also want to change your profile pic of you playing soccer. This will help validate your personal brand.
When it comes to college athletic recruiting, the commitment process is an essential part of the journey. This process involves two main steps: verbal commitment and signing the National Letter of Intent (NLI).
A verbal commitment is when you, as a student-athlete, verbally agree to attend a college or university before officially signing. This commitment is not binding, and it is not a guarantee that you will receive a scholarship or a spot on the team. However, it serves as a signal to other college coaches to stop recruiting you.
Signing the National Letter of Intent
The NLI is a binding agreement between you and the college or university that you will attend. It is a legal document that states that you will attend the institution and that the institution will provide you with financial aid for that year.
You can start signing the NLI during specific signing periods, which vary by sport and division level. The signing periods are generally in November and April. Before you sign the NLI, you must have been offered a scholarship by the college or university.
Maintaining Academic Eligibility
Honestly, getting recruited to play a sport like soccer is the hard part. After you are in, you just need to work hard, keep pace, and maintain your eligibility. Sometimes it’s easier said than done considering you have more freedom in your life.
Maintaining Eligibility in College
Maintaining your eligibility is crucial to continuing to play college soccer. To maintain your eligibility, you must meet certain academic and athletic requirements. These requirements were most likely laid out in your scholarship offer.
It is important to stay in close communication with your coach and academic advisor to ensure you are meeting all eligibility requirements. The worst thing you can do as a student-athlete on a scholarship is to fall behind in your first year. If you can stay on top of it all as a college freshman, you’ll set yourself up for success in the next three years.
In addition to academic and athletic requirements, you must also follow the rules and regulations set forth by the NCAA. This includes following guidelines for amateurism, recruiting, and eligibility.
Violating any of these rules can result in loss of eligibility or other penalties. Stay informed and up-to-date on NCAA rules and regulations to ensure you are maintaining your eligibility.
I hope this helps you understand the college soccer recruiting process better. As an athlete in high school, it’s a lot to think about!
If you are serious about playing at the next level, understanding when you can start communicating with colleges is very important. It is much better to get ahead of the process in your sophomore year than to wait until the end of your junior year.
Whether it’s D1, D2, or D3, you cannot sit back and hope that you’ll be discovered. You need to proactively reach out to colleges with your highlights. The more you can build a rapport with a coach or scout, the better you’ll be seen in person.
If you are a parent reading this, please help support your child in any way you can. It’s an overwhelming process and having someone to help see them through can give them that extra push!