SYA understands that many players want to continue to play soccer in college. To assist them, we offer a variety of information here. From organizations to help with recruiting to timelines, from videos to NCAA clearinghouse information, we want to see our players succeed at the highest levels they dream of reaching. Please review the topics below and begin thinking about college early. Many of the required tasks- from grades and course requirements to visiting schools- cannot be rushed together during your senior year. Playing college soccer requires players to be responsible and committed well before their final year of high school. Begin early, keep your focus, and watch college matches at different levels, from D3 to the elite D1 programs. Above all, talk to your club coach beginning your freshman year if college soccer is something you are considering. Your coach’s guidance will be invaluable.
The very first thing: Buy a notebook or a binder. Fill it with everything remotely college related. Include academic information and awards and honors from school and our community as well as soccer accolades here too. Keep it somewhere safe.
When traveling, whether for soccer or family vacations, stop by schools on your path. Ideally try to visit when classes are in session during the spring and fall semesters to get a true sense of the character of the school and the students who attend. Look at schools in cities, suburbs, and rural areas. Consider seeing small schools (some have under 2000 students), medium size colleges and large universities. What sort of school makes you feel comfortable? Debate the importance of college athletics aside from soccer. Most college soccer players see very few football games as they also play on Saturdays. Is tremendous school spirit important to you? Investigate admission criteria early. FCPS schools have a great deal of college information through Blackboard, included details on GPA and SAT scores needed to attain acceptances. Thoroughly research schools. Great academic schools requiring high GPAs are unlikely to completely overlook a player’s 2.7. At the same time, a high GPA may be helpful at schools which are not as selective as it may assist a player in getting academic scholarships, particularly at D3 schools which don’t give athletic scholarships.
Once you have a sense of the sort of school you like, and an idea of where you are likely to be able to play and be admitted, begin searching for their ID clinics and summer camps. ID clinics are generally one-day affairs and cost $50-$75. Schools hold these a couple of times a year and bring in a group of players, run some training drills and then scrimmage. They will offer campus tours, in most cases, and coaches will share insight into their programs. Sometimes they include coaches from more than one school. Some colleges run summer camps over a period of days. They may also bring in outside coaches. If you are interested in a particular program contact the coach and ask about clinics and camps he may be hosting or attending.
Email coaches of schools you are interested in having consider you. Make a habit to send each email from scratch; that is, do not copy and paste. Emailing the coach at George Mason to say you just came to his game against UVA and found the James Madison campus to be beautiful and the school spirit impressive may sound great, but George Mason will write you off since you could not even get the school and coach straight. Proof-read everything. Keep your email short and concise. Give them the information they need clearly and succinctly. Title your email “Your Name, SYA CardinalsYear, Color, Class of Your Graduation Year” This makes your emails easy to find should a coach need to go back to look for something. Playing a tournament? Send an email in advance telling the coach you will be there and that you hope he will as well. Note that you’ll send your schedule when the date draws closer. Then, the week before the event, send another email with the same sort of title, adding “Name of Tournament Schedule” at the end. Now, he has two emails from you. They are easy to track. He can easily look up “Tim Howard, SYA Cardinals ’00 Red, Class of 2018” and then later, “Tim Howard, SYA Cardinals ’00 Red, Class of 2018- CASL Showcase Schedule 2015”. Do not harass a coach with too many emails, but do update him as things happen. Did you make a super save? Send a 15 second video clip. Were you just named captain of your team? Drop a line. Keep in mind that Division 1 schools won’t be able to contact you directly (as in, “Dear Tim, I saw you at the Jefferson Cup last weekend and was very impressed, etc”) until after September 1 of your junior year in high school. Division 2 and 3 schools are less restricted. If a coach comes to your match, be sure to email and thank him for taking the time.
Keep communicating with your club coach (as well as your high school varsity coach and your private trainers if you use any) about our contacts with college coaches. Be sure they know where you are looking. Discuss your strengths and weaknesses with them and work to improve areas in need of attention. Be a positive force on the field. Talk. Lead by example as well as verbally. Don’t berate other players on your team. Don’t talk back to the referee and absolutely don’t get into altercations with opponents. Don’t give up, no matter what the score, until the final whistle blows. Show sportsmanship at all times. Pay attention to your coach’s instructions while you are on the field as well as when you’re in the huddle. Attitude and “coachabilty” count. Make sure you are putting forth your best in all phases of the games, from warm-ups to cool-downs; from accepting praise to acknowledging instruction from the sideline, and whether the game is a glorious victory and your best performance of the season or a deflating defeat where you played like you’ve never seen a soccer ball before in your life. Your attitude as well as your fitness, technical ability, and tactical awareness are all facets of your game. Shine in each one.