Mastering the Long Dance of College Recruiting

Chris Bart-Williams & US Soccer technical advisor Morgan Church at the 2018 DA Winter Showcase

Congratulations are in order for Toni Tsoukalas! Toni recently committed to High Point University, a private liberal arts school in North Carolina. The Panthers are in the Big South Conference of Division I, where head coach Brandi Fontaine just finished her first season. We’re thrilled to have helped Toni find the right academic and athletic fit.

While checking “find the right college” off a student-athlete’s to-do list might seem simple, the recruiting journey is almost never a straight line. When working with clients in our Elite Recruiting Program, we help them navigate five major components of the recruiting process, each with its own timeline and focus. One component – what we like to call the Long Dance – seems especially relevant now as we are in the NCAA Dead Period. Read on to learn more about this recruiting stage and how you can make the most of it.

The Long Dance stage is arguably the longest part of the recruiting journey. During this time, players continue to train hard to further develop their game. At the same time, they are also attending ID camps, completing schoolwork, taking ACT/SAT exams and playing in college showcases. They may also be starting to have conversations on the phone with interested coaches, depending on the division and their age.

While all this activity is taking place, we reach out to our network of college coaches insight into how our clients measure up to their expectations. The information we gather from coaches informs the focus of players’ development and helps us guide them towards schools and programs that best match their needs. Especially after showcases, we typically have a lot of feedback to share; other periods can be quieter, as college coaches are focused on their own seasons and tend to put recruiting on the back burner. There are also dead periods, where coaches aren’t allowed to have face-to-face contact with recruits or their parents, and they can’t attend games. These fluctuations in communications can be frustrating but they’re an unavoidable part of the process; patience is key.

We know that the college recruiting process can be arduous, filled with highs and lows, excitement and fear. Our recruiters help eliminate the uncertainty and frustration by providing a road map, using our collective experience and expertise to illuminate the path. Though it may seem at times that everyone but you is committing to college, remember that the recruiting journey is ultimately about finding your best fit. Opt out of the comparison game and instead stay true to what you want and need. This way, you’ll be certain that you’ve found the program that’s right for you.

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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

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