A college soccer coach can discover a potential recruit by receiving their game footage, getting a phone call from FirstPoint USA’s staff or by scouting the player in person.
A soccer showcase facilitates the scouting process. College coaches will attend a week-long series of games and skill drills at showcases held year-round. Players come from all over and are assigned to teams for the week. A strong performance can clinch a scholarship or put the player on a coach’s radar. The higher-profile showcases may also include the presence of scouts from professional soccer sides.
1. First and foremost, it is important to realize that playing in a soccer showcase will not ‘make or break’ your chances of securing a scholarship. There could be coaches present that have no need for a player in your position, or they could be from colleges that have academic standards above (or below) what is a good fit for you academically. Either way, the majority of coaches will watch the footage of the event from the comfort of their offices, and therefore establish contact with prospects at a later date.
2. Understanding and knowing your eligibility to compete in the NCAA DI, DII, DIII, NAIA or NJCAA is important knowledge to have. Coaches may see you as a great fit for their soccer program, but if your eligibility to attend their college is not known then it can be a very long and frustrating process for all involved. Know exactly what divisions and colleges you could be eligible for – and if you don’t know, speak to a member of FirstPoint’s compliance staff who will advise accordingly. It’s not all about soccer ability; your academics will have a major impact on what level of university & soccer program you will be able to commit to.
3. Playing your own game and keeping things as simple as possible is probably the best piece of advice you will hear from coaches at a Showcase event. You will not impress a coach if you are a defender that does tricks and step-overs with the ball at the edge of your own box. Leave that stuff to the attacking players! Be calm, composed and make the easy passes. This will help you settle into the game and quickly grow in confidence.
4. Coaches are judging a player’s character and work ethic, as well as your soccer talent. Address the coaches as “Sir” or “Coach” when in conversation with them. Show good manners and try not to use foul language. US college soccer is a very different environment from what you may be used to in your native country, and it will be your responsibility to adapt – not the coach’s. During games, give 100% effort on every opportunity possible.
5. Know the showcase’s requirements. Don’t assume it provides shorts and has extra shin guards to play with. If you’re running as part of a fitness test, take your running shoes. It shows a lack of detail if you don’t have the basic requirements required of the Showcase event itself.
6. Research the schools who are attending. Usually, the showcase provides a list of coaches planning to come. Have questions ready for coaches about their programs. This helps you in the process, and it impresses coaches that you came prepared. FirstPoint staff can help you prepare some questions to ask college coaches.
7. Contact the coaches beforehand to let them know you’re coming. There can be hundreds of players at a showcase. You don’t want to go under the radar because a coach didn’t realize you were attending.
8. Follow up with a coach after the showcase. Write a note thanking him for taking the time to chat and telling him how you hope to be in touch soon.
9. You may not be able to talk with a college coach, depending on when the showcase takes place. The NCAA has rules that restrict when a college coach is allowed to talk to a recruit. So a player shouldn’t feel snubbed if a coach refuses to talk at the time. Interested coaches will either contact you at a later date or go through the FirstPoint USA staff instead.
10. Enjoy the experience! What is the point in playing the game at all if you are not prepared to enjoy yourself? Playing with smile will come through on the field and will help you relax and be more confident in your control and touch with the ball.
Chief Executive, FirstPoint USA