Contacting coaches is a crucial part of your College Recruiting Pathway - after all, we named our company after it! So here’s what we have to say on the subject...
Let’s cut right to it. While, like everything involved in the college recruiting process, it depends on your specific situation, here’s our official recommendation:
Boys should start contacting college coaches their sophomore year of high school
Girls should start contacting college coaches their freshman year of high school
*But don’t stop reading there! There’s a lot more you need to know!
We recommend girls start earlier because they’re recruited earlier than boys are. The top girls in the country commit as early as their freshman year, and a large number of girls commit by the end of their sophomore year. On the boys side, on the other hand, the top players often don’t commit until their sophomore year at the earliest, while many players commit by the end of their junior year.
Why Contact College Coaches so Early
If you read our post on important NCAA rules, you know that Division I and Division II college coaches can’t contact you about recruiting until June 15th between your sophomore and junior years of high school. So why contact them so early?
There are two main reasons why you should contact coaches about recruiting before they can contact you about recruiting:
They might watch you play! While it’s certainly not a guarantee, you’ll at least give yourself a chance. If you don’t contact a coach, it’s highly unlikely he/she will show up at one of your games. So why not give it a shot? Caveat: If you send college coaches a highlight video, then they will see you play!
You’ll join their email distribution list. Although college coaches can’t email you about recruiting, they can send you information on their camps, and ID camps are a great way to get recruited! You’ll be the first to know about any upcoming opportunities.
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What to do Before Contacting College Coaches
If you’ve read our post on the College Recruiting Pathway, then you know that contacting college coaches is Step 3 along the Pathway. That means that, regardless of how old you are or what grade you’re in, you need to complete Steps 1 & 2 first!
Step 1: Decide What You Want Out of Your College Experience
There’s no point in contacting college coaches if you don’t have a good understanding of what you want. You don’t have to have it all figured out, but you should at least spend some quality time thinking and doing research. Check our How to Begin post for some tips!
Step 2: Make Your List of Schools
Which college coaches are you going to contact? We definitely don’t recommend all of them. Developing your list of schools is critical - check this post to learn more.
When to Contact College Coaches
Now that you know the time period to start contacting college coaches and what you need to do beforehand, let’s talk about when exactly to contact them. There are six key times:
After making your list of schools
Before a showcase you’re attending
Before an ID camp you’re attending
After you make a new highlight video
After any big changes (new club team, new SAT/ACT score, etc.)
After they contact you - make sure you get back to every coach, even if you’re not interested
How to Contact College Coaches
Okay, you know when and why to contact college coaches, as well as what to do to prepare - now how do you contact them?
Email is the easiest and most effective way to contact college coaches. That’s why we included the email address of every NCAA soccer coach in our Recruiting Dashboard. College coaches spend a lot of time in their email inbox, and they expect players who are interested in their program to email them. To help you craft the perfect emails, we include our Best Practices for Emailing College Coaches as a FREE resource when you get your Dashboard.
While you can call college coaches, we don’t recommend it unless they ask you to. If a coach wants to talk to you on the phone, he/she will probably set up a day and time to have a chat. Many coaches actually find it annoying to receive a phone call from a player they haven’t expressed interest in.
You may have some opportunities to contact college coaches in person. If you go to an ID camp, for example, that’s a great chance for you to approach a coach whose program you’re interested in. While visiting campus is another such opportunity, but make sure you contact the coaches beforehand! We talk more about how to set up visits in this post.
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