What Division do they compete? NCAA DI, DII, DIII
For all reasons this will become very important in your decision making process down the road, but the first question usually asked is what division does the program compete because that impacts everything from recruiting, to competition, to commitment level expected.
What is the overall record of the team over the past years? Have they been consistent, Are they a program on the rise? Have they won their conference?
The record of the team and where they compete is important. It will give you valuable imformation about what your potential four years with the program will entail. For example, the coach has been there for 30 years, winning records each year. The program will most likely be stable and the coache has found a suitable long term home. On the flip side, if a program has tranistion every 2-4 years, then msot likely coaches are using that job to get to teh next job. So while it still may be the right fit, best to make sure that the school is exactly where you want to be…i.e. make sure you don”t attend the program for the coach only.
The performance of the team will give you good indicators of the commitment level of the players and demands of the coach. At all levels, success takes work, so make sure you ask the right questions. Up and coming program with new coaches also provide opportunties that may not come at other programs, such as starting as a Freshman. Don’t discount program based solely on records or coaches turnover, but they are key factors when looking at programs as a whole.
What is your Level of Play
As a player and parent this can be a difficult item to determine in the recruiting process. It contains many factors besides just pure ability. To play at the highest levels, yes, the ability (talent) must be there or the opportunties will not be. However, the player must also determine their commitment level to that standard. This is not said to discount the level that you as a player want to compete. Desire and persistence can pay huge dividends for players if they are patient enought to wait for playing time.
Keys to Helping Determine the Right Level:
Roster and Recruits
The Roster for a College Program will help you determine a great deal about what the coach will be looking for in coming recruiting classes and also where the coach typically recruits. The Roster will determine which players the coach will be creuiting. If you see 7 defenders listed and 2 forwards, the likelihood of the program needing an attacking player is very high and chances are good. You will also need to assess the age of the program. If it is Senior heavy then the next incoming class may be very large.
The tendancy for coaches to recruit from the same areas is high. All coaches are looking for the best possibel players, but if coache shave confidence in players coming from a particular area or club it may be good to ask a few more questions. For example, if they are California State Schools, they recruit more players in state simply due to cost of in state versus out of state tuition. It costs the program less money to bring in teh player from California than Colorado.
Pay Attention to each years recruiting announcement. It will add to the roster and ultimately show exactly what coaches brought in that year. If three players came in to fill your role, the likelihood of them recruiting you are lower. On teh flip side, if the coach has one player coming in and the other player playing that role will be a junior or senior, then they will most likely be looking for that role as a priority to fill in the upcoming class.
In the Women’s game, the recruiting process is not allowing you to research much of this at the Divsion I level in a timely manner. Make sure you ask the questions?
Where do you see me playing?
How many other players in my role are you recruiting?
How much playing time do you see me getting?
What other roles on the field do you see me playing potentially?
One of the most critical factors to your success in school will be determining the best fit from a coaching and playing perspective. There are numerous things that go into great and not so great programs and coaches. Make sure you get a good feel for the program, the coach, his coaching style, and how the players react to the style.
Coaching Philospohy- How does the team play? Is it possesion oriented through the midfield, longer more direct, strong counter attacking? Does s/he like to change systems constantly? All good things to take note and understand where you might fit best.
Coaching Style- How do they communicate? What do they communicate? What is said to players prior to games, at halftime, in training sessions? How is it said? Always yelling and screaming or cool and calm? Players must understand what type of coach they play best under. It will go a long way towards your success and the successful relationship between you and your coach.
What do Former Players Say?- How is the coach spoken about by current and former players. Is it the coach that you would never play for again? Or the one who challenged you in all the right ways? Former players will be honest, so look for their direct feedback.
Most importantly will be the people you train and compete with daily. Understand the environment, will these people be with you living with you, training with you, traveling with you, and competing with you over the next four years. Are these people you want to be around? Do you spend your free time similarly? What are their attitudes like?
See more at: http://www.rushsoccer.com/1585#SoccerResearch