Haverford College Women’s Soccer Coach, Jamie Gluck:
“ I will say, 75% of my team came from camp.”
Given that the “recruitment” process is far more about self-promotion than being courted by college programs, athletes who want to play college ball must consider the value of being on a campus, playing for a period of hours or days in front of the college coaches as compared with attending a tournament where a coach may stop by a field for only a half. As the quote above indicates, camps are highly effective tools in identifying and recruiting players. The trick is the development of a list of schools (791 men’s 4 year college teams/ 958 women’s 4 year college teams) and getting in front of coaches who represent teams you can play for and institutions to which you can gain admission. Whatever the criteria (affordability and brand name typically rule the top of the list) by which a list will be pared down, have those conversations early and often...but be forewarned, unless junior buys in to that list, the parents will be doing all the work.
Perhaps compared to the Ivy League, the University of Missouri may not resonate with mom and dad...but the “Tiger Grotto” (you can’t make this stuff up) might inspire a young person to consider looking into Mizzou:
To the extent possible, sample widely the varieties & grin and bear it when your child prefers features and qualities that don’t crack your list, like Cal Irvine’s “common area:”
How do camps help? They are an easy way to get a kid on a campus with no pressure...they can poke around a little and get a feel for an institution without being embarrassed them on a tour by asking questions about co-ed halls/rooms/bathrooms or pointing out how there wasn’t even internet in their dorm room in 1993.
More importantly, players are watched more closely and comprehensively at a camp than virtually any other event, and the feedback loop is more accurate and helpful in narrowing down the more than 3,000 institutions of higher education in a timely fashion!
Below, a rough timeline of strategies that will maximize ROI for your camp dollars...do recall, of course, that every kid is a little different and unique circumstances may alter these suggestions!
As you head into these shark-infested waters, consider these numbers:
Men’s Soccer Programs Women’s Soccer Programs
DI: 203 (26% of all men’s NCAA soccer teams)* DI: 329 (34% of all women’s NCAA soccer teams)***
DII: 189 DII: 201
DIII: 399 DIII: 428
*Emory’s acceptance rate ***Scripps’ acceptance rate
Some 5-6 thousand players of each gender enter the college ranks every year - tons of opportunities, but very difficult to catch a coach’s eye. Think about the work a student has to do to be accepted to Emory or Scripps; a soccer player has to do at least that much legwork to make the DI level...and only slightly less to find a spot in DII or III. Getting good feedback and campus experience is crucial to finding the right situation for a given player! Camps make that process much easier.
At right, Texas A&M’s “Campus Village at College Station” residence:
From the webpage: From our vast amenities to our friendly staff, Campus Village is a worry-free environment that allows you to focus on the most important thing - being a college student.
A sampling of One-Day clinics coming up (there will be many in December/January 2014-15 for younger players to remember to watch for)...additionally, the summer camp circuit is massive - more to come from LMSC on the summer camp scene!
University of Pennsylvania
James Madison University