As college soccer recruiters, my staff and I spend a lot of time speaking with college coaches and advising parents and players on how to make the difficult transition from club and high school soccer to college competition. The families that are part of the CBW Soccer Elite recruiting program are used to receiving phone calls and reports from us detailing the attributes a particular college coach is looking for, the feedback players receive after coaches watch them play, and the current level of interest from the players’ target schools. However, there’s an important component of our job as recruiters that I’d like to highlight this week: trust.
Why am I focusing on trust in a blog that’s dedicated to helping families navigate the college recruiting process? It’s simple, really. Trust is the key ingredient that allows us, as recruiters, to advocate on behalf of our clients and create successful outcomes. My staff and I have earned the trust of college coaches and families as a result of our integrity, honesty, and commitment to the highest standards. I don’t often talk about it, but I consider it a tremendous honor to be trusted by college coaches who, when they have a question about a player, pick up the phone to call us for an honest answer. Our integrity is on the line every time we provide information to a college coach and I thought it would be helpful to share not just how much information is being sought about players, but the specific types of questions that coaches ask to help them select players who will thrive under the physical, mental and emotional demands of their program. If you think coaches only care about a player’s performance on the field, take a look at Part 1 of our list of common questions you can expect college coaches to ask about players (Part 2 is coming soon).
Knowing the level of college soccer, what level do you predict this player can reach?
How involved are the parents when it comes to team activities, traveling to tournaments, etc.?
How does the player treat their teammates?
Do you think their mindset is a fit for my program?
Tell me about the player’s personality. Do they smile and laugh a lot? Do they seem sad or anxious?
How does the player deal with playing under pressure?
Does the player ask for feedback after their games?
How do they react after a mistake?
Who reaches out to you when there’s an issue, the parents or the player?
What is their mindset like when the team is losing?
Does the player watch professional or college soccer in their spare time?
Is the player versatile? What other positions do you believe they could play?
Do you know what the player intends to study in college?
Are they a good student?
Are they involved with any community service projects or volunteering?
Does the player enjoy team practice?
Are they vocal on the field in practice and games?
Does the player seek out individual training?
Does the player arrive early/on time for team activities?
Do you know of the player’s hobbies and interests outside of soccer?
When a college coach wants to understand where a player is currently, what aspects of the game they’re working on, what they need to do to achieve their goals, and what other factors might make them a good (or not-so-good) fit for their program, they seek out feedback from our staff. Similar to a job interview, these questions are designed to paint a complete picture of the player’s abilities and personality, and coaches know we’ll give them a realistic view of both. Remember, the recruiting process is a marathon not a sprint. Players have to perform consistently – not just when coaches turn up – and they must demonstrate strong character in all aspects of their lives. The CBW Soccer Elite recruiters consistently put our knowledge and credibility on the line to ensure coaches seek out our advice regarding players they're keeping an eye on. With so many athletes competing for a relative handful of college opportunities, getting a full, accurate picture of a player can help determine whether an offer is made.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog where I’ll share the second half of coaches’ most-asked questions and explain why the answers are vitally important.
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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.