Too Young To Start The Recruiting Process?


We get this question quite a bit, not just for soccer, but for all sports, so thought it would be a great idea to share with the masses……

“My child just turned 12 yrs old and has been in competitive soccer since age 3.  He dreams of playing Division I college soccer.  When do we start the recruiting process?”

You are taking the first important step in your son’s recruiting process, which is “research”.  So many people procrastinate, waiting until their child is “star quality” before doing any prep work regarding their recruiting.  The fact is, college coaches and recruiters are paying more and more close attention to younger athletes, all for the sake of getting a leg up on their competition at other colleges.  It is a polarizing fact, but certainly a reality.

So, at your son’s age, you can certainly start connecting with college coaches.  The primary reason is for simple exposure, but also to start getting your son (and you) familiar with the recruiting environment.  You can set up a recruiting profile at and even start sending it out to any target college coaches now.  Of course, you might be thinking “What in the world could be the benefit with him so far from high school, let alone college?”…… A great question and the answer is that at young ages, it is good practice, again, to get familiar with the recruiting environment, communicating with coaches, understanding everything involved in the long process, but the main reason it is good at this young age is that your son can start getting camp information from coaches.  Camps sponsored by colleges are fantastic places to go and learn skills, but they are also great places to catch the coaches’ eye.  Now, understand, you don’t go to these camps to “get discovered”, as with so many athletes there, it is pretty much impossible to do.  The key is that when an athlete has scheduled themselves to go to a college camp, they should call the coach ahead of time, let them know when they will be attending and then ask to meet them and get some one on one evaluation time.  This is the best way to truly benefit from camp time.

Again, while being a young athlete, the colleges will very often mail media guides and other neat stuff to the athletes.  Don’t get too excited if you get something in the mail stating that they “are interested in your son”, as most of that is mailing list material to keep athletes interested, etc.  The key is that your son is involved with these programs in some way and maintaining interest in high school and college recruiting.  This is also a great time to start preparing your son to talk with coaches, ask the right questions, etc.  This is where you, the parent, can be a huge help.  Remember, it is your son that you want to make phone calls to coaches, not you.  The college coaches like to hear from the athletes themselves, not the parents or high school coaches.  Plus, this is a great way to make a great first impression with a college coach.

One last thing, with him not even in high school yet, don’t put too much pressure on him (or yourself) at this point.  Simply familiarize yourselves with the recruiting basics, start getting some exposure via our website and use the resources on our site, like the NCAA Eligibility Guide For New Student-Athletes, etc.  These are all great things to help you.  The BIGGEST piece of advice is to KEEP IT FUN!  Too much “business” with the sport can spoil it for the athlete.  When it comes to competing at the collegiate level, it can be stressful enough with college, social environment and everything else.  They can be great athletes, but if they are not truly passionate and well adjusted, they could end up washing out after one year and coming back home.  So, take your time, make it fun, stay focused on grades (more important that anything) and as you go thru the process, always know that you can ask questions here every single step of the way!  That is what we are here for! – Your #1 College Sports Recruiting & Scholarship Networking Resource!


* For more High School athletics and college recruiting / scholarship assistance, visit:

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