If you’re a serious high school soccer player, you’re probably hoping to play at the college-level. But how do you go from high school to the big leagues?
For a lot of athletes, the answer lies in getting noticed at recruiting camps.
Once a coach notices you and decides they want you on the team, it’s smooth sailing from there. In order to get noticed and snag a spot on the roster, follow these simple steps.
Be Strategic. Don’t sign up for every camp. Do your research and find programs and coaches you’d realistically love to play for. Beyond that, have an idea of what career you’d like to pursue and make sure the schools you’re looking at offer that program. Soccer camps usually happen in the summer, so make sure you’re looking well ahead of time. To find camps in your area and at schools you’re interested in, create a free Ryzer account and receive notifications of events as they become available—or use Ryzer’s “Event Search” option to find “Prospect/ID camps” near you.
Reach out. Once you’ve settled on a few camps, it’s time to reach out to the coaches; introduce yourself, tell them why you’re interested in their program, let them know what team you’re on (if it’s a team camp), your position(s), and attach a link to your recruiting video if you have one. You can also talk about their recently completed season, congratulating them on any success. If there’s a player(s) on their roster (or teams they’ve played) that you feel your skillset closely resembles, feel free to reference that too. This is a simple way to get your name on their radar. Tip:Only send this to schools you’re truly interested in—it’s not a blanket email.
Keep up your grades. Make sure you’re working hard on and off the field. The work you do in the classroom matters just as much as the on the field sweat-equity.
First impressions matter. Come to camp on-time and carry yourself confidently, like you are preparing for an important game. Introduce yourself to the coaches upon arrival and reiterate your excitement to be there. Leave your phone in your bag and get rid of all other distractions—your first impression will be your lasting impression.
Inspire others. Openly encourage other participants to do their best, and eagerly provide motivation when you see someone struggling. Soccer is a team sport—share the ball—don’t be a ball hog. Most campers will only be concerned with themselves and their personal results, but selfless actions will stand out.
Be an energy-giver. Coaches aren’t just looking for someone with the most endurance, quickest feet, or best ball control—they’re searching for athletes who will add positivity to the team, refrain from complaining, take criticism well, improve what’s asked of them, and listen closely. If coaches hear you complaining or acting overly cocky, they’ll immediately take note.
Work harder than anyone else. You won’t always be the most talented participant at camp, but you can always be the hardest worker. Camp is short; give everything you’ve got and then some.
Say “thank you.” Sending the coaches a hand-written "thank you" note after camp shows your gratitude and maturity. Reiterate your passion for soccer and their program, and your desire to play in college. And yes, reference academics!
Continue to improve. Take what you learned from camp and continue to improve upon it. Focus on the specific skills the coaches asked you to develop, so that next year when you show up, your off-season effort will do the talking.
If you do your research, show up with a good attitude, work hard, and end with a “thank you,” you’re sure to stand out and get noticed.
Remember to have fun! These are once-in-a-lifetime experiences you’ll want to always remember.