06 Sep SCOUTINGZONE: What is the role of the parent in the recruiting process?
A parent’s No. 1 role is to advise and guide the player through the process. Be there to provide structure, support and encouragement. If the player truly wants to play college soccer, they should be the one driving the process. There will be ups and downs, so enjoy the ride. Above all, encourage your child to drive their process, be proactive and realistic in their college search.
“A lot of parents try to take on the recruiting process for their child,” said an anonymous head college coach. “They write all the emails and when they come on campus they do more talking than their child. As coaches, we want to get to know the parents, but it’s most important to get to know the player. We want players who take the initiative on and off the field.”
Here are the top five misconceptions of a parent’s role in the recruiting process:
1. When a parent is writing the emails and calling the coaches…
- It’s obvious when a parent has written the email. Coaches always notice and are impressed with players who are diligent with their emails and calls. It shows accountability, maturity, initiative and desire. College coaches are looking for these characteristics in the players that they are recruiting. Many parents think they are “helping” their child out by writing the emails for them. However, they are actually only hurting their child’s chances at being recruited.
2. When a parent is more excited than the player…
- Red flag. Coaches will not pursue any player where the parent is driving the motivation and desire to play college soccer. It is quite apparent when kids have a genuine enthusiasm for a college or program. College coaches truly appreciate personalized emails. This shows that the player follows the team and has a genuine interest in what is going on with the program.
3. When a parent takes over the recruiting visit…
- A visit is the coach’s time with the recruit. Don’t make it about you, and don’t talk more than your son/daughter. And certainly don’t come across as wanting it more than them. Coaches want to get to know the parents, but it’s most important to get to know the player. They actively recruit players, who take the initiative during the recruiting process by showing leadership and maturity on and off the field.
4. When a parent makes “money” the first topic of discussion…
- One of the most important aspects of the recruiting process is getting a feel for a school and the program/staff. The player should be asking themselves: “Could I see myself living and playing soccer here for the next four years? Will my academic, social and soccer goals be met at this college?” Once you have those questions answered, finances will probably be your next step. Many times the college coach will bring up the “money talk.” However, if not, make sure you do so in a very tactful way. Coaches don’t want to feel as if they are being pressured or “wheeling and dealing” in a sales environment. If money is of concern, it’s okay to bring it up, just remember to be tactful, honest and you might not always hear what you are hoping for.
5. When a parent assumes their son/daughter is getting a full-ride…
- Parents always talk about “scholarship” or “full ride” when seeing other teammates sign their Letter of Intent. There are many misconceptions when it comes to scholarships. For example, a Division I program can have a maximum of 14 scholarships. An average college roster is close to 30 players, so full scholarships are rare. Most programs divide up their full rides to offer partial scholarships, or provide players an opportunity to prove themselves to earn % scholarships during the course of their four years. The biggest ticket most players have into a school is a strong academic transcript. Good grades are vital and can open the door to many colleges and provide opportunities for academic aide. Coaches are always keen on players that have a strong academic foundation.
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