The Parent’s Role In The Soccer Recruiting Process

Darryl was a walking SportsCenter anchor for his son. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of every highlight, skill, award, or attribute at the ready to share with anyone interested or even not interested. He had never really been a big ‘volunteer’ for club team activities, but one frigid March showcase, an opportunity arose he couldn’t pass up. The team needed someone to pass out the team brochure to college coaches and Darryl’s moment had arrived. Adorned in a North Face Jacket and Beanie, and Jorts  (Yeah it was 40 degrees), he proceeded to hand brochures to each coach, introducing himself, making a little small talk, pointing out his son’s location on the brochure and, of course, began downloading highlights and attributes that make him a can’t miss prospect. 

Darryl was fired from the job. Don’t be Darryl.

The college recruiting process requires real work and as a parent eager to help your kid achieve their dream, most people screw it up. You either act too late, don’t do enough, do far too much, or do exactly the wrong things (like Darryl). If you’re ahead of the game, your kid has been to club/coach talks preparing kids for what they need to do, but detailed conversation about your role as a parent is rarely discussed. Let’s start fixing that. 

If you do this right as a parent, your child will learn the fundamentals of how to present themselves in a professional email, prepare a resume, market themselves for a position, handle a phone and in-person interview and make a very important life decision for the right reasons. They will learn a different kind of persistence, planning, overcoming disappointment, and the critical thinking required to evaluate what they really want for themselves and why.

But they will learn NONE of it if you do it all for them.

Helping your child learn these things is your role. Notice, nowhere did I mention their college signing day event on Instagram. That’s their goal, not yours. In my experience, there is a fascinating correlation between parents who did all the work for their child during the recruiting process and kids that weren’t happy with the results or quit college soccer before their sophomore year.

No joke, these are real things I’ve heard from parents in conversation:

  • “My kid is not really disciplined and proactive about doing all this communication.” You might want to start thinking about how tough college CLASSES might be and start building that discipline now.
  • “My kid wants this so bad, and I want it for them, so why shouldn’t I do much of this so they look the best they can be.” Are you gonna do their college chemistry work too?
  • “My kid just doesn’t do conversations with adults they don’t know very well.” Ok. Time to grow up and figure that out then. They’ll have to do that pretty frequently in life.
  • “But you don’t understand, my kid has a hard time writing things.” Well, teach them. It’s a life skill.
  • “My kid doesn’t like to ask questions of these coaches.” Then they need to accept a life of not getting what they want.
  • “All this work isn’t really necessary. Coaches will find you if you’re good enough.” No. No they won’t. Like…no.

Do you get it yet? The lessons learned are life skills. And if they learn them early and do well at them, they’ll know how to successfully position themselves for non-soccer scholarships, get into their college major or grad school, earn the respect of coaches, professors, and other adults, and seek employment. They might even learn the magic power of shaking someone’s hand (correctly), looking them in the eye, and smiling. They’ll also be miles ahead of other kids in this area giving them a life competitive advantage.

Your role is to actively show them how to take on these activities. Don’t do it for them. Teach them. Teach them not only how to do these things but why they’re important to achieve their college soccer goals, and how these things will help far beyond soccer recruiting. 

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