Tips on Contacting College Coaches
By Ramona Barber (Ramona Barber is the Iowa State Youth Soccer Association Education Director and a contributor to Sports Communication Publications)
With some additional tips from Athlete Representatives from YourSportsReel.
Very few college coaches will offer athletic scholarships to players they haven't seen play. Also, most college coaches will not take players seriously until the completion of their sophomore year. Players who will be juniors and seniors in high school should be sure to contact coaches at colleges that interest them and arrange to have their play evaluated. Here are some tips about contacting coaches:
1. BE REALISTIC ABOUT YOUR LEVEL OF PLAY. Contact colleges that are a good academic and athletic match for you. Make sure that you choose colleges that vary in level of play. Don't miss your chance to play in college because all the programs you contacted were above your level of play.
2. Make your first contact in writing in May at the end of your sophomore year. Personalize your letter requesting an evaluation. Let the coach know why you are considering his/her school. Include both athletic and academic information. If possible, include a one page resume. To substantially increase your chances of getting noticed, hire YourSportsReel to design and package your Portfolio. Keep in mind that some coaches do not care to evaluate players until the completion of their junior year.
3. Follow up your letter with a phone call. Talk with the coach or his/her staff. The more personalized interest a player shows in college, the more interest a coach usually shows in a player. When looking at NCAA colleges, be aware that although there are rules limiting calls a college coach can make to a player, players are not restricted in the calls they can make to a coach.
4. Don't wait until you get a tournament schedule to contact a college coach. Send information early on all the events you plan to attend. FAX your playing schedules to the coach when you receive them. Include your team name and jersey number each time you fax a schedule. Make a special note if you are changing jersey numbers or attending as a guest player.
5. Contact coaches in the geographic area that you are traveling to but also consider contacting coaches of colleges that may not be in traveling distance of the tournament. Many college coaches have friends across the country who they can ask to evaluate players.
6. Once a college coach has been contacted by a prospective recruit, it is customary for him/her to send a player profile sheet. Complete and return profile form immediately! Don't worry if you don't have all the information that the coach requests. For example, you may have not taken your SAT or ACT college entrance exams and have no test scores to report. Fill out as much of the profile as possible and let him/her know that you will send the additional information when it is available.
7. You can visit any college campus at your expense any time and talk with the coach or athletic department without breaking any recruiting rules. So, try to visit the colleges that interest you. College coaches usually take players more seriously if they make the effort to visit the campus.
8. Stay in contact with the coach after he/she has evaluated you. Let him/her know if you are serious about his/her program. Ask him/her if you are a potential fit. Keep him/her updated on your activities. Keep in mind that NCAA coaches have limits on contacting players. Don't take offense if you don't hear from the coach on a regular basis. You need to make sure that the coach knows that you have a serious interest!
9. Remember that many coaches are busy with their own team during the fall season and out of the office during the summer. Try to make contact early and if you don't hear from the coach, continue trying. Call to be sure the coach has received your information. If you get no response, check with the athletic office to see if there has been a coaching change.
10. After all your efforts, if you get no response, realize that the coach is probably not interested in recruiting you. If the coach tells you that you are not a good match for his program, accept it and move on.