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Recruiting When Not On A Field: 13 Questions To Ask A College Coach

The Coronavirus is having a significant effect on many different aspects of life including the college recruiting process. High school soccer players unable to play on a field may be getting anxious about missed on-field recruiting opportunities.

Despite being unable to play, there are a number of steps you can take to improve your chances of getting recruited in the long run. To help anxious soccer players, Future 500 is going to be running a ‘Recruiting When Not On a Field’ content series. This week we are going to be talking the questions you can ask college coaches as you evaluate their colleges.

Communicating with a college coach over the phone or through email is a great opportunity to make a good impression, as well as to ask questions that will help determine whether the college is a good fit for you academically, athletically and socially. You can also use this opportunity to find out more about the steps you need to take to be recruited to play at the college. Below are 13 questions to ask college coaches when communicating with them:

1. What are your recruiting needs for my class?

You will want to find out what the coach is looking for in his or her recruiting efforts for your class. This will help you determine how many roster spots are left, how likely it is that you will get recruited as well as how likely it is that you will get playing time, especially in your first year or two.

2. What are the next steps in the recruiting process with your program?

You will want to use your conversations with a coach to help you form a concrete idea of the steps you need to take if you want to play at the college. The coach might tell you about camps where you can be evaluated by their staff, steps in the application process, or other steps you can take which will allow for you to plan moving forward with the particular college.

3. What is your recruiting timeline?

This is another one of the questions to ask college coaches that will give you a sense of the timing of the coaches recruiting plans which will help you to plan your recruiting efforts. This is an important question which will help you assess how much time you have for subsequent recruiting steps with the program.

4. What does a typical day or week look like for a player during the season?

Your experience as a student-athlete at a particular college should be a big consideration as you assess colleges for fit. Asking a coach what the typical day/week looks like during the season will help you to determine how busy you will be, how difficult it will be to juggle your particular major or juggle a social life for instance. Everyone is different in terms of what they are looking for out of the sport/academic/social-life balance at college, and this question will help you to form a good picture of what the balance is like at the particular college.

5. What are the off-season expectations for a player?

This is another question relating to the sport/academics/life balance consideration and will allow you to determine what your off-season will look like and what sort of commitment you will need to fulfill in terms of training and time.

6. What are the values of your program?

Every coach will lead their program according to a set of values and ideals. This question will give the coach the opportunity to tell you about the character of their program, the values they are seeking in their players and their priorities in recruiting. You will be able to assess if these values align with your own values and what you are looking for in a program.

7. How would you best describe your coaching style?

Every player has a preference for how they like to be lead and coached on the field/court. Asking a coach this question about their style will allow you to assess whether there is a good fit between the coach’s style and your preferences. This will factor into your overall evaluation of fit.

8. What is your preferred system or style of play?

This is another important athletic fit-based question which will allow you to gain an understanding of how the coach wants to play. This will likely affect your athletic experience at the college. Different athletes prefer different systems and styles of play, depending on the sport. To use an example: a highly skilled and technical soccer player evaluating college teams will probably be better suited to a team with a style of play conducive to technical players.

9. How does the program or college support players missing class for games?

As we have mentioned before in the ACA Recruiting Blog – academics should be a primary driver in your assessment of the fit of different colleges. Remember, roughly 2% of college players go on to play professionally within their respective sports, meaning that the education you obtain from the college is extremely important for your future. You will want to have a good idea of the support you will receive from the school while juggling academics and athletics to ensure that you are able to succeed. You can also ask a coach what kind of support resources a college provides to help aid your efforts to succeed off the field.

10. What are the academic expectations for players on your team?

This is another useful question pertaining to the academic side of your experience at the college. It is helpful for you to know the GPA expectation for instance, as well as how much the athletic program emphasizes the academic side of their player’s experience at the college.

11. What is the team’s GPA/ graduation rate?

In line with the above academic-focused questions to ask college coaches this question will allow you to assess what your academic situation might look like at the end of your time at the college. This will have implications on your post-college life and should be an important consideration when evaluating college programs.

12. What housing options are available to players?

Where you live throughout your time at college is important and often has a big impact on your experience at the college. It is helpful to determine what housing looks like for players on the team, where players stay and what options you have for all four years. Housing is definitely an important factor in evaluating a college’s fit.

13. What does the team do for fun on their days off?

This is more of a cultural/social question which will help you assess what your college experience will look like when not in class or on the field/court. This question will help give you a good understanding of the social side of the college and the camaraderie of the team which will help you determine if the college is a good fit socially.

There will likely be additional questions to ask college coaches that are specific to your situation. However, the questions above will help you to assess whether a school is a good fit academically, athletically and socially as well as help you to determine what steps to take with the college after meeting with the coach.

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