Summer is here! It’s College ID Camp season. These college exposure events have become very popular for prospective student-athletes as well as college coaches. These ID camps, clinics, and showcases can be very valuable to your college recruiting process.
Before we provide tips on how to be your best self at these events, it’s important you understand the different events that exist.
There are three different types of College ID events
Independent College ID Events (Not affiliated with a college/university). They will bring in college coaches to train, identify, and evaluate prospective student-athletes. These camps could be one day events or up to 5 days. They generally range from having 50 up to 300 players participate. College coaches will work these events to train, identify, and potentially recruit student-athletes for their school and athletic program. The number of coaches will range from anywhere from 8 colleges to up to 75 college coaches. Here is a list of some popular Independent college soccer ID Events
Exact Soccer Camps (Nationwide)
Adidas Future 500 Camps (Philadelphia, Area)
Collegiate Soccer Academy (Massachusetts)
Latent Combines (Florida)
College ID Campshosted by a college - Head College Coaches will also host their own camp held on their campus. They bring in a number of other college coaches to work their camps. These are very similar to the Independent College ID Events except they are affiliated with a college or university. These camps generally range in the number of players in attendance as well as number of coaches present.
Villanova Soccer Camps
College ID Camp/Clinic managed and staffed by that college program only. These tend to be smaller and shorter events. These camps typically last 1-3 days where prospective student-athletes will get the opportunity to experience what it would be like to attend that school and play for that program. Be sure that you have had some interaction with the staff before attending. You will find these events at smaller schools like lower level DI schools, and DII and DIII programs. Many programs will offer 1 day ID Clinics a few times a year.
The first thing you should do before choosing a camp is determine what you want to get out of the camp experience. There are four reasons to attend a College ID Camp/Clinic or Showcase.
Gain college exposure
Improve your skills to become a better player
Compete against higher level of competition in order to evaluate your abilities against other players.
Experience a specific college program environment
Whatever the reason is for you to attend a college ID camp/clinic be sure you select the right type of camp in order to get the most out of your college camp experience.
Now that you have selected the camps you are going to attend, here are some tips to leave your mark at your next College ID event.
Make Contact with the Coaches: Review the list of college coaches who will be attending the camp. If there are schools that you may be interested in, write to the coaching staff expressing interest in their program. Let them know that you will be attending the camp and that you look forward to meeting them and having them watch you play. Be personal. Be specific. Be honest. You should start building a relationship with the college coach before arriving for camp.
Get Facetime with the Coach: While you are at camp try to find an opportunity to personally introduce yourself to the coaches whose programs you are interested in. Try to take a couple minutes to tell them your name, team, and preferred position, and any other information you think would be helpful. The best times to do that is during check-in if coaches are available, walking to and from the training fields, and in the cafeteria. However, coaches are prohibited from having recruiting conversations with you while attending these events.
Be Vocal and Positive on the Field: College coaches look for players who possess leadership qualities. Any player who has a voice on the field will immediately stand out as long as it is in a positive or constructive way. If you have the opportunity to be vocal, speak up as a positive influence and leader for your team. All of these qualities demonstrate your relentless and positive attitude, and those are two key characteristics all coaches find impressive.
Play Hard and Run Hard: If you are trying to make a good first impression on a college coach your attitude and your work ethic are your most controllable assets, and one of the best ways to set yourself apart from the crowd. If you lose the ball, work hard to get it back within the context of the game. If you have the ball know when to keep it and when to give it up. If you get knocked down, get back up. If you are on the field, stay focused on the ball and always keep your feet moving.
Respect: Be sure that you respect all members of the camp including the coaches, counselors, teammates, and campus staff. College coaches are not just evaluating you on the field but they are watching how you carry yourself off the field as well.
Request Feedback: College coaches seek players who are students of the game. A player who shows a coach they are willing to learn and improve will separate themselves from players who don't go that extra mile. Use this opportunity to engage with coaches about your game. Speak to them after a training session or game about what you might be able to work on to improve. Coaches love when a player takes ownership over their own athletic development.
FUN: Sports are meant to be fun! That is why we play! If you are not enjoying yourself it will show in how you approach the game. Coaches want players on their team who have passion for their sport. These are the players who believe working hard and improving is fun.
Follow-Up: You should always follow up with any college coaches you interacted with while at camp or any program you are interested in. You should thank them for working with you or taking the time to speak with you. If you can try to reference something specific, conversation or drill to help trigger their memory. Keep in mind the recruiting rules, they may not be able to respond to your email until the initial contact date but you should still follow-up.
If you follow through with these 8 simple steps no doubt you will stand out as qualified prospective student-athlete to some college coaches. Obviously, your abilities will be an important aspect of this process but on a level playing field these things will give you the edge over your competitors.
Grab your copy of Designing Your Pathway to College Sports and use our College ID event assessment form to keep track of how you perform at each event. Visit www.GuidingFutureStarsAcademy.com (GFS Store Tab) and get started on your journey to find the right college fit.