The college recruiting process can be rocky, filled with countless unknowns and frustrations. More often than you’d like, you may find yourself wondering why you haven’t received a response for a coach after sending them multiple messages. While I can’t pinpoint the reasons a specific coach is not responding to you, here are some common scenarios I see players encounter:
College coaches’ lives are unbelievably hectic in-season as they balance planning practices, preparing for games, working with strength coaches, and responding to the various personal and academic issues that arise for their players. It makes sense that they have periods of time in-season where they’re unresponsive to recruiting emails. This isn’t personal, they simply don’t have the bandwidth to get back to you, much less make plans to attend your upcoming game.
They’re Following the Latest NCAA Recruiting Rules
In April 2018, the NCAA passed new amendments to their rules that restrict all recruiting activities before September 1st of your junior year. The purpose of the rule change is to allow high school athletes to spend more time making important decisions about college. If you’re a sophomore or younger, this change means you won’t be receiving any responses from college coaches, so gather your patience and be prepared to wait until you’re eligible to be recruited.
You’re Using a Generic Template
College coaches can quickly tell if you’ve simply cut and pasted an email template, changing only their names and the name of the school. Such generic inquiries understandably do not feel genuine to them, which can lead them to focus on other prospective athletes who’ve taken the time to write something more personalized. I have actually had former colleagues (assistant coaches) show me emails where a recruit used the wrong coach’s – and even program’s – name! If you’re really interested in a school, take the time to include a sentence or two that is specific and unique to the coach, program or institution. A little effort goes a long way.
Your Parents Emailed on Your Behalf
This is a big no-no. College coaches want to know that their players are independent people who can advocate for themselves. They’re interested in recruiting you, not your parents. Make sure that your email is written by you and comes from your email address. Another important tip: make sure your email address is appropriate (SoCcCeRrbabe2005 at aol.com wouldn’t pass the test).
So you now have a better understanding of why your inbox is staying at zero...what’s next? If you’re a junior and it’s after September 1, feel free to pick up the phone and call the coach. Speaking on the phone is a lost art form in the digital age. Coaches will appreciate the effort it takes and the interest it shows when you do phone them.
Wherever you are in your journey, remember that recruiting services and your club or high school coach can also be excellent resources to tap into since they can legally find out where a program stands in its recruiting process and determine how much interest a college coach has in you. Recruiters and coaches can also advocate on your behalf and will likely get more pertinent, actionable information than you would get on your own as a player. If you’re not already relying on a recruiting service or coach for help, I highly recommend that you add them to your plan of action.
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Chris Bart-Williams is the founder and owner of CBW Soccer Elite. After an extensive career in the English Premier League, Chris now uses his vast soccer knowledge to assist families throughout the college recruiting process and prepare players for the mental and physical challenges of collegiate soccer. You can reach Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.