In August, soccer manager's return to action and are busy chasing parents and player for signatures, trying to crop team photos into 240x240 pixel head shots, registering for tournaments and generally ramping up for the season. We're wondering how WAGS' diluted divisions will work out, who plays in that VCCL thing, and gossiping about what player went to which team. We're attending WAGS 2-hour online meetings (in theory...if anyone attended was there anything new?)
And, if you are a fan of soccer in general or women's soccer in particular, we're watching the Olympics. Seriously...did you see yesterday's gems?!
I'll get back to pre-season manager trials and tribulations at a later date. First, a bit about the whole college recruiting thing:
Last week, I spent a few minutes chatting with Blair Dils, Assistant squash coach at Williams College. If you know anything about DIII sports, you'll know that Williams has an excellent program (but needs a new name...the "Ephs"?). Perhaps not as good as Middlebury College, but all in all not bad. As Blair has also been involved with soccer at the school, I took the time ask about college recruiting since, although my daughter's team is U14, parents all seem to think their kid is going to play for Stanford or UNC.
Here is what I learned:
- College coaches will look at U17. If your child is a phenom and is nationally known and being targeted by D1 schools, maybe U16. Basically, Junior year in high school. Hence, don't worry about which tournaments boast of college coaches for your U12 team.
- But Sophomore year, your child should figure out which schools they may want to play for and get themselves noticed. Attend the school's camps or talk to the coach or find out what tournaments they do go and see so, when they are Juniors, they get noticed.
- DIII schools want athleticism. A three-sport athlete who has been a solid, if not a star, player and is planning on focusing on soccer (or some other sport) is a great draw for DIII.
- Got good grades? Even better - coaches love a player who can get in to the school on their own merit. Of course, he mentioned that the really good players who also have the really good grades wind up playing for the Ivy Leagues.
- Find a school that needs your skills - if they have 10 forwards and you are a striker, look elsewhere.
- Goalkeeper? That apparently changes everything. Schools like to add one per year but there seems to be a lot of shifting around here. When I mentioned that my daughter is a keeper, Blair's eyes got wide and he said "oh boy...that's a different story".
- ODP? ECNL? DA? He didn't seem to care. "Coaches want kids who can play. They don't care what league they played in. The trick is to get the coach to know you exist." (Side note: Blair didn't know VCCL. He'd heard of ECNL. "WAGS" however elicted a knowing nod and the comment "that's some good soccer").
Take away (At least for DIII schools): Seems like the burden is on us to first figure out where the player wants to go to school (like every other college-bound kid) and then figure out if they really want to play soccer at that level. If so, reach out to the school coaching staff and start a dialog. Attend their camps and get to know them. Ignore (for the most part) tournaments and services that tout the number of college scouts or those who claim that coaches only look at certain leagues.
And keep your grades up. Always keep your grades up.
I would love to hear from anyone with any sort of experience in this to help fill out the picture!
T-minus three weeks to tournament time...got your rosters done?