by Miguel Nuila, head coach of the LMSC Velez (Under 18 Boys)
Written: December 5, 2009
The LMSC Velez is in its 11th year of existence with most of the players on the squad having been on the team since Under 10.It has been a long and difficult road over the years but the team has persevered and now we are being rewarded handsomely in college hunt.
The success of our college placement is due to mainly to these factors:
The amazing attitude that our parents have kept throughout the years.First and foremost, parents concentrated on one thing: their sons having fun in the game they love so much.By U-12, we had lost ALL of the parents wanting to professionalize their sons' soccer.Oddly enough, those that left us and that still play the sport are no better off college wise than any of the boys that chose to stay.
The impeccable integrity of our families.When a player commits to a coach, there are no take backs.When a school commits to a player, it is because that school is the player's number one choice.This integrity has given the team a good reputation with many colleges and universities.
Our parents got REAL very early in the process.For a team with the success that we have had, we have six players committed to Division 3 programs with more to follow this year as the Juniors begin committing.Schools like Amherst, Williams, Bowdoin, Carnegie Mellon, Vassar, Dickinson, Johns Hopkins, F&M, Rochester, and others frequently attend our games looking for that next potential recruit.The word is out that Velez supports Division 3 programs.
As the old saying goes, "there are 300 million citizens in the US and only 300 players of soccer at the highest level.Is it more important that they grow up to be a good soccer players or good citizens?"Of course, having a talented bunch did help a lot as well.The results of our college placements can be found at: http://velez91.com
During the beginning of our sophomore year, we used the following excerpt from a recruiting article.These are the words that set the tone for our entire recruiting campaign.
BE REALISTIC: Do not assume that because you are not an ODP or Representative player with great credentials that you cannot be recruited. There are not enough big names to go around. Over one thousand colleges compete in soccer. You can compete at many of the schools seeking decent players.
BE REALISTIC: When you set out to be recruited do not involve schools that you would not or could not go to if you were accepted. It is a waste of everyone’s time and money.
BE REALISTIC: Most young athletes are disappointed in their senior year because they assume a college coach is going to find them. Coaches do not have the time or money to search for athletes. You must help them by selling yourself.
BE REALISTIC: You are going to college to continue your education. You should be using soccer to help you complete that goal. Make your decision based on academic and social considerations NOT soccer. Carefully consider whether you want to be a small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond.
BE REALISTIC: Limit your marketing efforts to twenty to twenty-five schools.
BE REALISTIC: Full ride athletic scholarships are so rare they might just as well not exist. You are pursuing a package of Academic and Financial assistance. Understand what is possible and pursue that. The stories of a coach pulling into your driveway with money hanging out of his pockets are not realistic.
BE REALISTIC: Academic assistance for admissions is the easiest form of help to get. Do not put yourself in the position of being recruited too high academically. If you should be at New Mexico State do not try for Stanford. One level over your SAT or GPA is about as high as you want to push the academic help.
BE REALISTIC: Do not fall in love with the first coach who calls and says he wants you. You are going to spend four years living and playing somewhere. Be absolutely positive you will be happy in the school you end up in.
BE REALISTIC: Do not attempt to be recruited to a school unless there is at least some reason to believe you can get enough financial assistance to go there. A school that cost $25,000 has to come up with a lot more money to recruit a middle class kid than a school that costs $15,000. If that school only has five scholarships they probably cannot afford you.
BE REALISTIC: When you talk to coaches, they are trying to sell you on their program and you are trying to sell them on your abilities. This can lead to a lot of misunderstandings. If a school makes your final list, check it out very carefully. Twenty-five percent of all freshmen drop out the first year. When you talk to coaches YOU must do the talking. Your Mom and Dad are not being recruited.
BE REALISTIC: Make every attempt to attend camps where the colleges you like coach.Call the coaches directly (you are allowed to call the soccer office at the college) and find out where they will be coaching in winter or summer camps.