Where do I Start with College Recruiting?

Deciding where to go to college can be a daunting idea even if you are not interested in playing a sport.  There are so many different types of schools out there! When you are an athlete, finding the perfect fit for your academics as well as your sport can seem even more overwhelming. I find it easiest to break my big decisions down into smaller tasks.

#1. Decide you want to play college soccer!

You don’t have to be one of those players that is obsessed with the game to find a home on a college soccer team. For me, it was mostly that I couldn’t picture my life without soccer. I wasn’t ready to “hang up the towel” as they say. Yes, a piece of it was definitely wanting to prove to myself that I could play Division 1 and wanting to achieve the next level- but it was never this intense ‘all I could think about’ goal. I just knew that playing soccer made me happy and I was enjoying competing at higher and higher levels, so I went for it. There are over 1300 schools that offer soccer for men or women. If you aren’t ready to retire then I’m CONFIDENT you can find a school and program that is right for you.

Once you decide you want to try and play in college, let your club coach and high school guidance counselor know. They will be key resources for you in your journey.


#2. Start doing your research, making contacts, and getting exposure.

What type of school do you want to attend? Big? Private? Near the ocean? In a city? Specific major offered? Financial fit? There are tons of factors that will go into your decision. Once you have an idea of your criteria, start looking at soccer programs within schools that meet your needs. Are you at the right skill level to play there? Are they recruiting for your position? You will want to make sure you are going to be happy living, going to school, and playing wherever you decide to go. It is about more than just soccer!

As you target specific schools, start contacting the school by filling out online forms found on their website and emailing the coach. Learn more about the school and team by visiting their website, physically visiting the school, and/or attend the sports camp offered by the team. Make sure the information sharing is a two-way street. As much as you need to learn about a school and a program, the soccer coach will need to learn about you. Make sure you are clearly communicating who you are, where you come from, and where they can see you play (player resume). Tournaments, camps, and showcases are great ways to be seen but coaches won’t know to look for you unless they know you are there!


#3. Focus on your academics.

While all of your research and communication efforts are going on, don’t forget to focus on the here and now! Getting good grades, taking the right classes, and achieving good scores on the SAT/ACT tests are SUPER important. No matter how awesome you are at your sport, you can’t go to a school if you can’t pass the admissions and eligibility center requirements!!  Additionally, programs rarely give full athletic scholarships for soccer (they can give partials if the total adds up their NCAA allocated number), so having academic scholarship opportunities will be a huge help in supporting the financial burden of getting a college education.


#4. Bring it all together to make a decision!

Hopefully at this point you have a handful of schools you are targeting and communicating with. Be ready to receive verbal offers! By combining the school criteria and soccer goals you came up with in step 2 you can analyze your offers to make the best decision to fit your needs.

Remember: this is YOUR decision! I talked through my options with family and friends, which I would highly suggest to any one going through this, but, at the end of the day I had to make the choice. I had to call the coach and say “I want to come play for your school.” And then follow through on that commitment.

I hope these steps will help you in your college recruiting journey! I know they are fairly high level so if you would like to talk through anything in more detail or you would like the support of an advisor please contact me or visit the JHConsulting website and fill out the “Get Started” form for a free consultation.


Mandy Raff comes to us from Modesto, CA. She grew up playing club soccer in Oregon and played in college for the University of Idaho. She is extremely passionate about helping others achieve their college soccer dreams!