In my ongoing series about collegiate sports and athletic recruiting, we now hear from a female soccer goalie who landed at a D3 school late in the game. Her philosophy (and a good one at that) was to wait and find the school that had what she wanted academically and culturally first and foremost and then the opportunity to play soccer was simply an added benefit!
Sport: Women’s Soccer
Athletic Conference Recruited to Play for: NCAA Division 3 – NEWMAC
When did you decide that you wanted to play at the varsity level in college?
How did your recruiting process evolve?
My recruiting process began in my sophomore year when I attended my first recruiting clinic. After exploring the academic side/other aspects of several schools, I began reaching out to coaches. I gave them updates and let them know my tournament schedules. Through this exchange, I was able to get information on their recruiting clinics.
What did you feel was the most effective way to get seen and develop interest from coaches?
I felt the most effective way to get seen was through attending clinics on campus. The coaches were able to see me play through many aspects of the game (technical, tactical, fitness, etc.). These were also a good opportunity for me to receive evaluations from coaches and to step foot on campus. I attended one-day clinics, as well as one three-day overnight clinic.
I also created three videos (one with film from sophomore year games and training, one from junior year training, and one from senior year games and training) that I sent out to prospective coaches.
In addition, my club team attended many showcase tournaments (Bethesda, Disney, Columbia Invitational, Jefferson Cup, CASL, PA Classics) where coaches came to see me play.
My club/prospective coaches did not encourage me to take the SATs/ACTs earlier than normal. I took my first SAT in March of my junior year, and I took my first ACT in June of my junior year.
When and how did coaches who were interested in you communicate with you?
The coaches that were interested in me communicated with me primarily through email before and after showcases. If I saw a coach at a showcase, I would say hello, but nothing in terms of recruiting. I also talked to coaches after clinics. I would email them to thank them for the clinic and ask for an evaluation. I also talked to some coaches on the phone; they called me first (Andrea’s note: a coach could only initiate a call to Marie based on stringent timelines established by the NCAA). The coach for the team I will be playing for communicated with me mainly by email. I also met with him in person twice, once without my parents, and once with my parents.
Please explain your “commitment” process.
I did not “commit” to the school before I actually applied for admission.
Why did you choose the school that you did?
I chose the school that I did because it has the academic program that I want, and everything just felt right while I was there. The people were nice; it had great volunteer opportunities; and it was a good size for me. If soccer wasn’t an option, I could still say that I would choose the same school that I chose. However, the players on the soccer team were very welcoming and the team seemed competitive. This was obviously a plus.
In the end, the recruiting process turned out for me as I expected. My ultimate goal was to choose a school that had my academic program and had opportunities for me to develop as a person.
Do you have any significant stories that affected your recruiting experience?
A coach who was interested in me contacted me throughout my years of high school. During my senior year, one of his players suffered an injury, and he was in need of a player in my position. He called me and wanted me to check out the school. I wasn’t able to visit the school, but I did as much research as possible and did not see the school as an academic fit. It was difficult to turn it down, but I knew that it was important to look at the whole picture. I also got a severe concussion my junior year, which sidelined me for my entire high school season and some showcase tournaments for club season, so I was not able to be seen by as many coaches.
Any sage words of advice for others in your sport who are going through their own recruiting process?
Do not get too caught up in jumping to a decision as fast as you can. I committed in mid-April of my senior year, and I was the last person on my club team to commit to a school. Although it was stressful, everything was worth it. In the end, I felt it was helpful to take my time and truly look at each school for what it is. Remember that you are choosing a school, not just a soccer program.