Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Catching college coaches' eyes at tournament play
by Avi Stopper, June 14th, 2013 1:39AM
Subscribe to Youth Soccer Insider

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

By Avi Stopper

The opening whistle blows. The ball gets dropped back to you. Your first touch isn't so good and the ball slips away. You scramble to it just before a defender gets there, but you hit it awkwardly and it bends out of bounds. Uh oh.

You look over at the sideline where the ball went out and see the coach from Northeast Southwest University. You gasp in disbelief, "I didn't realize hewas here." Your mind is racing for the rest of the game: "What did he think of that touch? Did he see the shot I just took? Why does he only seem to be watching when I mess up?"

To be successful at a tournament, you have to ignore the college coaches on the sideline. Worry about recruiting before the tournament begins and then focus on playing while you're there.

Why is it so important to focus on recruiting before a tournament even begins? Let's do some quick math. The average tournament has 16 teams in each age group. There are three age groups from which college coaches recruit. And there are 15 players on each team. That means that there are 720 players at the tournament. For any given player, the odds of randomly "getting seen" are impossibly low -- about .1 percent.

How then to beat the odds? College coaches typically go to tournaments with a list of players they want to see play. The list may include five names or it may have 50. Either way, the college coach is focusing his attention on a fraction of the total number of players at the tournament. Simply put: You need to get on that list.

Fortunately, it's not that difficult. Once you've figured out which colleges you like and started communicating with them, email the coaches your tournament schedule. A week before the tournament begins, send the coach a quick email saying something along the lines of:

Hi Coach Affleck,

I'm excited about playing next week at the Southside Invitational. Are you planning to be there? If so, I would really appreciate it if you'd take the time to see me play. My schedule is as follows:

- Saturday, 9 am, Field 9.
- Sunday, 11 am, Field 2.

I'm very interested in playing for you and I hope that after seeing me play, you'll be convinced that I'm a good fit for your team. Thanks so much for your time. I hope to see you there next week!

Ralph K. Smithsonia


An email like this is surprisingly simple, but it shows a coach that you're interested in playing for him and that you're doing everything you can to get him to see you play. This makes a big difference to college coaches, who otherwise have to spend an absurd amount of time chasing players down to see if they're interested. Simply showing that you're interested and asking a coach to watch you play can dramatically advance your cause.

OK, so you've emailed coaches your schedule and at long last you get to the tournament. You're pumped and ready to play, if a bit nervous. Inevitably you look over to the sideline and there he is, sitting in his lawn chair, pen and paper in hand, school logo emblazoned on his shirt.

The best thing you can do is play the way you normally play. Don't start dribbling all over the place in an effort to impress him. Most importantly, don't dwell on your mistakes -- college coaches know that everyone makes them. In fact, the way you respond to mistakes is something that coaches often watch. Most importantly, enjoy the game and embrace the opportunity to play. If you do that, you'll be able to sideline your concerns about recruiting.

(Avi Stopper is the CEO of CaptainU, the youth and college sports network, and author of “Make the Team: The Art of Self-Recruiting.” This article previously appeared in the Youth Soccer Insider in March 2011.)



1 comment
  1. Big Mac
    commented on: June 14, 2013 at 7:08 a.m.
    It might help if you add the number that you will be wearing during the tournament.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
John Hackworth: India experience provides valuable lessons for U.S. U-17 boys    
In its third international tournament of the year, the U.S. U-17 boys national team finished runner-up ...
Adding to the alphabet soup of American youth soccer    
If your children play soccer in the USA, they may be playing under the umbrella of ...
Insights on European scouting of U.S. youngsters by 'Arsenal Yankee' Danny Karbassiyoon    
Daniel Karbassiyoon jokes that Arsenal kept him from going to college twice. The first time, at ...
Police side with kids in pickup game dispute    
My favorite youth soccer story of the spring comes from Birmingham, Alabama, where police officers responded ...
U.S. girls to prep for U-17 World Cup against Swiss U-19s    
The U.S. U-17 girls national team, which is preparing for the U-17 Women's World Cup in ...
The Female Athlete Triad -- Be on the Lookout    
I was recently with a friend watching his daughter in a NorCal Premier State Cup soccer ...
Ref Watch: Players Taking Dives    
I started refereeing in 1978 and for every game that I officiated in the United States ...
Christian Pulisic near another milestone    
Christian Pulisic, the 17-year-old Pennsylvania kid who has already played nine Bundesliga games, is one game ...
U.S. Soccer goes all out to prep youth teams    
This month's U.S. youth national trips include the U-17 boys going to India while the U-20 ...
Parental influence done right -- supportive but not overbearing    
For better or worse (almost always for the better) there will be parental influence in coaching ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives