Recruiting: rigorous yet rewarding

Courtney Johnson, senior soccer player, is signing her official commitment to West Point Academy on National Signing Day. This is the last and biggest step of the whole recruiting process.
Courtney Johnson, senior soccer player, is signing her official commitment to West Point Academy on National Signing Day. This is the last and biggest step of the whole recruiting process.

A question many high school athletes struggle with is whether or not to play sports on the next level, at college. Despite common beliefs, recruiting is an extremely stressful and complicated process.

Firstly, students must contact coaches. This involves sending countless emails and phone calls to coaches. The athlete needs to convince coaches to come to their games. Coaches normally have to watch the athlete numerous times before offering them anything.

Kati Stammen, junior volleyball player, said, “It [the recruiting process] is a really long process. I have been working on it since freshman year.” The athlete must send numerous emails to college coaches asking them to come to their games and see them play.

I find that the process can be very frustrating as well. Coaches might not email you back or not be able to go to your games. That makes it difficult to establish a connection with them especially the more athletic schools.

There are rules on when and how coaches can contact you, rules which can also complicate the process.

Kelsey Reeves, junior soccer player committed to ECU, said, “There are different rules and such for recruiting. For example, you can not officially commit to a school until your senior year.”

It is exciting when coaches do contact you though. They may send emails, written letters, or make phone calls.

Often times coaches will invite players to come to camps. That has a multitude of benefits for the coach and the player. The coach will be able to evaluate the player side-by-side with other possible recruits and returning players. Also, players will be able to get to know the players on the team now and feel out the school.

The recruiting process can be very stressful for some people.

Stammen said, “The process can become very stressful. Money can be a big factor, like what happened to me. A school offered me a full ride early on, which is tempting because that is such a big deal. But you have to try to look past it and see if that is where you would really want to go to school, including everything outside of the sport.”

It ends up being very stressful for many student-athletes. I have struggled to find the best balance in a school with a successful soccer program as well as high academic standards. You do not want to give up going to a school you like just to play soccer.

Recruiting takes massive amounts of time and effort, as it should, since it is going to be a huge part of the next four years of your life. In addition to contacting coaches through emails and phone calls, you must also take visits to schools.

Visiting campus’ is another vital step in the process. It can give the athlete a feel for the schools and its atmosphere. The athlete can meet with the coach and players, an essential but sometimes under-appreciated part of the process. Since team chemistry is key to success, you definitely do not want to play on a team that you do not gel with.

Reeves said, “It is important to have a good idea of where you want to go and be 100% sure before you commit. That made the process easier for me because the school I wanted to go to wanted me as well.”

Stammen agrees. “Figuring out where you want to go will make things a lot easier. Also, draw attention to yourself so coaches will notice and want you,” said Stammen.

If you are not able to play for officially for a college, there is also the option of club soccer. At certain colleges, club soccer is taken very seriously. They travel and compete but there is less of a commitment to the team.

Recruiting is stressful seeing as it can change your whole college experience. The best way to be prepared for possibly being recruiting is to do your research and begin contacting coaches early. While recruiting is a long process, if you want to play sports in college, it is well worth the work.


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