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Key factors in college recruiting (Part II)
by Hugh Bell, by Mike Pantalione, February 17th, 2010 6:43PM



By Mike Pantalione & Hugh Bell

Yavapai College, located in Prescott, Ariz., has captured seven NJCAA National Championships and finished in the top four nationally 17 times since 1990. The coaches are longtime NSCAA members Mike Pantalione and Hugh Bell, who will never claim to have all the answers. This is intended for college coaches and others connected with the sport to have a laugh, look back on some of their own experiences, and perhaps add to the list of key factors to be aware of during the recruiting process:

Part II

The Campus Visit
32. The candidate has no questions during a campus visit. You mean that you have traveled six hours and have no questions?  Just the personality we want on the field.

33. The parents dominate the conversation during the campus visit. It's nice to have parents translating English to English for their son. Will they be in your speech class?

34. The player tells you he needs a full scholarship but is wearing better clothes than you.

35. The player tells you he needs a full scholarship but drives to campus in a better car than you.

36. The player tells you he needs a full scholarship but has never watched your team play.

37. The player claims he has no money but is wearing a thousand dollars of jewelry.

38. The player wants guaranteed playing time but has never watched your team play.

39.  The player informs you that he's looking at five of the Top 10 Division 1 schools. Yes, we have cable TV and access to their web sites as well.

40.  Another player informs you that he is considering five of the other Top 10 Division 1 schools. You haven't talked to any of those coaches yet?  We are considering coaching Arsenal in the English Premier League but haven't had the chance to contact them either.

The Tryout
41.  The candidate shows up to the tryout late, with improper equipment, including no shinguards. Brilliant.

42. The candidate shows up to the tryout with undesirables, his friends, watching from a distance.  Did not realize that they still make Pabst Blue Ribbon.

43.  The candidate shows up out of shape and is sucking air after three minutes. What are you thinking?  How can we evaluate?

44.  The candidate shows up in blue jeans and a white cutoff T-shirt. We are not recruiting for a 1950s movie.

45. The candidate is disappointed that you said no. He states, "How can you tell in just two hours?"  We didn't. We knew in five minutes.

Admissions & Grade Point Average
46.  The candidate states he has already been admitted to your school. So. You have not been admitted into the soccer program until we see you play!

47.  The club roster states a player has a 3.0 GPA. Must be rounding his actual 2.51 GPA to the closest whole number.

48.  The club roster states a player has a 2.2 GPA. Maybe in one of your semesters.  Sounds like a 1.6 overall GPA to us.

49. The club roster states a player has a 4.4 GPA that is weighted. What is that? Must mean that the player will give you 110 percent at all times.

His Coach
50. Tells you all about the player who won the Mr. Hustle Award. Who cares? Is the MVP interested?

51. Tells you all about the player who won the Most Improved Award. Who cares? Is the MVP interested?

52. Tells you his player can play for your team, when he never watched your team play. We probably would have better luck on a blind date.

53. Tells you he will be a good junior college player. Have you ever watched the Junior College National Tournament? 

54. Tells you that he has five players that can play for you. Why are you barely over .500 and not winning a state title?

55. Tells you that the player loves the sport. His family spends all day Sunday at the soccer field with the adult league. But can he play?

56. Tells you the player has a substance abuse problem but your school would be good for him. This is not a Rehabilitation Center!

57. Tells you he has a bad lifestyle, no home life, problems, problems, problems but he looks up to college coaches. Sure, we can change 18 years of a poor lifestyle by kickoff time on opening day.

58.  Tells you his player has only 5.4 speed in the 40 but he loves the sport. Great. We need people to keep stats.

59. Tells you his best player is 6-foot-1, 130. Is there any food in the refrigerator at home?

International Players
60. The candidate states that he was on the national team when he was 14. Yeah, you and five thousand other players.

61. The candidate claims to be on the national team. Sure, maybe he went to see the national team play in person once. Just because you do not have a zip code, don't think we will not do research on you.

62. The candidate sends a videotape from a foreign country and claims he's No. 10 in the film.  As he gets off the plane you realize his ears, height, and bone structure look different. Must be jet lag.

63. When asked, the candidate states that he has not played a match in two years.  "I have been training."  Do you have any friends?

The Field Player
64. The candidate invites you to his next match. We really appreciate that you received a red card in the first five minutes of the match, after we traveled four hours on the highway to watch you.

65. The best kept secret in town. The candidate shows up in a knee brace without anyone from his school, club, community or house telling you that he had an ACL tear last month.  

The Goalkeeper
66.  His coach tells you that his goalkeeper can punt a ball 80 yards. Great, but can he make a save?

67.  The goalkeeper sends a schedule of upcoming games. We show up and he is playing in the field. Are you a goalkeeper? Yes or No!

The Transfer
68.  A coach has a player who wants to transfer to your school. We are not baggage claim. We are not a rehabilitation center. We are not a halfway house. Can he score goals?  

69. The player wants to transfer to your school because he does not get along with his coach. Score three goals a game and you will have no problem with us.

Outside Factors
70.  The candidate demands a full scholarship. We are guessing after using the College Recruiting Services the family is out of money.

71.  The candidate demands a full scholarship. We are guessing after using all the professional video companies the family is out of money.

72.  The candidate demands a full scholarship. We are guessing after paying heavily for soccer all these years the family is out of money.

73.  The candidate demands a full scholarship. I guess after having a "personal trainer" cash the checks the family would be out of money.  Personal trainer?  Yeah, we played in the old North American Soccer League as well. What, they have a web site with the all-time league roster?  Never mind.

74.  The candidate states, "I have been offered a full scholarship at another school." Well, that statement is worth a full scholarship here. Not.

75. The candidate wants a full scholarship however he may play professionally in Mexico.  You and 10,000 other guys.  Who are in these players ears?

Read Part 1 HERE.

(Mike Pantalione has been Yavapai head coach since the program’s founding in 1989. Hugh Bell has been Yavapai's associate coach since 1992. Further information about the Yavapai College soccer program is available at


What tips do you have to help in the recruiting process? Any big no-nos? Let us know below.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: March 8, 2010 at 1:05 a.m.
    A bit cynical are we? Have you ever met a player applying to your school that you liked? Is this supposed to help players who are interested in playing soccer in college? I guess when you coach a national power you can afford to make fun of potential players because they need you more than you need them. Sounds like you only want players who will step onto your field already fully developed; once you're done recruiting, why do they need a coach? I'm pretty disappointed in the tone of this article. It would have been nice if the authors had mentioned a few things they think kids looking to play in college should be doing, rather than snidely listing all the ways potential recruits have pissed them off.

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