Volume 1 | Issue 6
OGFC College Recruiting Newsletter
Parents and Players,
The recruiting process should start and end with the hope for a win-win conclusion. Players/parents are looking for the right fit academically, athletically and socially and one which will provide a positive experience. 

The collegiate coaching staff is looking for players that will enhance their culture and raise their teams level of play (in other words 'win'). 

When all parties find what they are seeking, it is a win-win. We've presented a number of suggestions, strategies and tips in order to help in the recruiting process which hopefully moves you towards your end of the win-win decision. As a side note and based on current events in the news, I suppose I did fail to mention that if you have $250,000 thou' laying around, this MAY open a few doors in your search ;)

I want to take a slightly different approach here. More often than not we as a club, rightly so, present information in a linear fashion in the recruiting process. We provide all sorts of information for the player and parent as to what they should do in order to obtain their end of the "win-win" goal. It is one directional and linear in nature. 

However, the question is "what are college coaches looking for in order to obtain  their  end of the win-win". I don't pretend to believe I am speaking for all college coaches here, nor is it exhaustive in nature. These are just a few themes that consistently come up around the camp fire of college coaches and are provided here to perhaps present a different perspective.
Players who have been taught that nothing is given to you - it is earned.
College coaches recruit from a world populated by many entitled would be college players. There is a pervasive mentality among such inhabitants which shouts "hey, I've played club a long time, I'm one of the best on my high school team and my mom says I'm fantastic.....can I have my scholarship now". They quickly realize once they enter the world of collegiate soccer that there are a lot of good players out there (how many local "phenoms" bound for the pro's have you seen go on to a good college program and do very little?) Nothing will be given to you. One of the unfortunate manifestations of this mentality is the "senior-itis" club coaches see in their players. Just about the time they should be preparing the most for their college career, which will begin in a few months, they flake off because they have "too much to do". And in some of the higher level club situations around the country - this is beginning to happen in their junior year (you know, once they've committed and a college coach has promised a scholarship....process is done, they've made it, right?)
Parents who get out of the way.
 A club player of mine was being recruited by a BCS program a few years ago. The head coach of that program told me they weren't going to continue to recruit the player, even though the player was easily good enough to help them. In fact, this player would have warranted a large scholarship. However, the head coach said "I don't want to have to put up with that kids parent(s) for the next 4 years". I understand parents have to be involved to varying degrees in the process, no issues. However, I always love it when I hear a parent state "WE are being recruited by so and so" or "WE just committed to university x". Hate to tell you parents, but unless you have some eligibility left, some shin guards in the closet and are willing to run the Yo-Yo fitness test in the fall - we college coaches aren't recruiting you, we are recruiting your son or daughter. So when you are sitting in the office of the college coach while on a visit, let your son or daughter take the lead and ask the questions. It's good to teach them to advocate for themselves. And if there is a really important issue that hasn't been discussed, you can bring it up at the end. Otherwise, get out of the way.  
Players who are good people first.
Several years ago I met with a couple of players for our end of the season meetings. Usually these are individual in nature, but I brought both of them in together. I told them I considered them to be "the vortex of doom". Every time they walked into the room I could hear the Darth Vader theme playing, the lights would dim, laughter would suffocate and smiles on peoples faces would run for the shadows. And frankly they were both really good soccer players. However, we were worse as a team because of their attitude. One player decided to move on and one player decided to grow up (and became an all-conference player by the way and a fantastic teammate). I often tell players whom I am recruiting "if you come in as a jerk, you will probably graduate as a jerk, I can't undo in 4 years what has been done to you or what you have chosen to do to yourself in the first 18". College coaches aren't looking for perfect people, heck, we are working with 18-22 year olds. I know 50 years olds that I wouldn't want around my team. They are however looking for players first and foremost that will add value to their program as quality human beings. Management studies will show that "bad is stronger than good" and the "bad apple syndrome" can reduce production by up to 40%.

These are just a few things that come up again and again among college coaches with regard to the recruiting process. And to think, none of these have to do with how many goals a kid scores, how fast or tall they are or how well they strike a ball. And I hear this from coaches in both the men's and women's game. So when you are trying to satisfy your academic, athletic and social goals during the recruiting process, remember that it should be a "win-win" for you AND the college coach. 
Recommended Reading
Make Your Bed  by Admiral William H. McRaven
Question for the Month: What does it mean if a player "redshirts" and what are the requirements in order to be eligible for such?

  "This is the true joy in life, the being used for the purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy" George Bernard Shaw
Pat Ferguson is our editor for this series of college recruiting newsletters. Pat is currently our girls director of player development and the women's soccer coach at Wright State University.