Another chapter follows in our stories reported directly by students about their college athletic recruitment experiences. This time, we hear from a field hockey recruit who landed at a top D1 field hockey program. Compared to my last post, which reflected a very early recruiting experience for a D1 women’s lacrosse recruit, this example shows how athletes can get recruited even well into their senior year.
Sport: Field Hockey
Athletic Conference Recruited to Play for: NCAA Division 1 – Big East
When did you decide that you wanted to play at the varsity level in college?
I first began thinking about being recruited when I entered high school but did not really do anything about it until the end of my sophomore year.
How did your recruiting process evolve?
During my sophomore year, I emailed dozens of coaches just trying to get my name out there. Even though coaches were unable to respond, they were able to come and watch me at different tournaments. On top of sending coaches emails, I created a highlight video as well as a website that highlighted my academic and athletic accomplishments all in one place.
At the end of sophomore year, I joined a club team that went to the two major field hockey tournaments hosted by USA field hockey, one being The National Field Hockey Festival and the other being The Disney Showcase. I went to both tournaments in the fall and spring of my sophomore year and began getting looks from coaches, mostly from D3 schools.
From the beginning, I knew that I didn’t want to choose a school based on field hockey but instead on academics, first and foremost. I also wanted a school that fit all of the “criteria” I looked for in a school. This gave me very few schools to choose from. Another major component was that I didn’t want to go north of my home state, which made it very difficult because many of the schools I was getting interest from were from up north.
As time went on, I was getting a lot of looks from coaches but not from schools I really wanted to attend, so I lost a lot of hope. Luckily, fall of my senior year (fairly late in the process), I got interest from the field hockey coach at a school I really wanted to go to. It was the perfect scenario. I am very thankful I waited and was patient during this recruiting process.
What did you feel was the most effective way to get seen and develop interest from coaches?
For field hockey, emailing the coaches and having them come and see me at the two major tournaments was the most effective recruiting method. I know a lot of other sports have a lot of showcases and camps, etc., but for field hockey it is really important to be seen by coaches at The National Field Hockey Festival and Disney. Another way you can be seen is at individual schools’ play-days, which are usually open for anyone to come and allow you to get to know the coaches and some members of the team.
I didn’t attend any college camps until the end of my junior year summer, and to be honest, they really were not worth it. Very few coaches come to the showcases and camps over the summer, and because there are so many of these camps, many coaches aren’t at the ones you go to. So, to me, it was a waste of time.
When did you take your first SAT or ACT?
I took my first SAT/ACT January of my sophomore year. I took it then only because I needed it to send to coaches so they would have an understanding of where I stood with my academic record and testing potential.
Please explain your “commitment” process.
I committed the fall (November) of my senior year to my school and then applied in January for admissions. The commitment process was fairly easy for me. I discussed my interest with the coach. I went up and visited the school, committed to the school and then went for my overnight. For me, at that point in time, I really had no other choice in schools so that made the process a lot easier. I had declined all other offers from other schools just because the school was not the right fit for me beyond being able to play field hockey.
Why did you choose the school that you did?
The school I choose was not originally on my list of schools that I wanted to attend. I was looking for a school in the south, but when I got an offer from this school I immediately became interested. The school is the size I was looking for (large), there is a nice academic quad, and there is a ton of school spirit, all of which were really important to me. They also have a top program in the major I am interested in.
I considered the distance from my parents, too. I wanted them to be able to come and watch me play, and I didn’t want to have to fly to and from school. I also weighed athletic factors including the coaching staff, the team members, athletic facilities, etc. The school I chose has the best of everything, and the team really is a family.
In addition, the school gives you the opportunity to study abroad (Andrea’s note: This is unusual for a D1 school.) and play for a club team while you’re away. And, finally, the most important factor was that, even though it’s a D1 program, the school puts academics before athletics. That was a major component for my parents.
Any sage words of advice for others in your sport who are going through their own recruiting process?
Don’t feel like it is ever too late to be recruited. The fact of the matter is, things happen and teams and coaches are always looking for players.
Keep contacting coaches no matter how much you think you are annoying them. They get hundreds of emails and you have to make yourself known (email them early).
Join a club team! Very little college interest comes out of high school and being on a club team will allow you to be seen by coaches at the major tournaments!