Former Georgetown men’s soccer Coach Keith Tabatznik gives pointers at April 24 College Night @ Stoddert Soccer. Joining him on the panel were (left to right): Rich Edgar, Assistant Soccer Coach and Director of Admissions, St. Mary’s College of Maryland; Amy Nakamoto, DCSSL Travel Coach, Former Head Coach, Women’s Soccer, Bryn Mawr College; Todd West, Head Coach, American University.
Some tips from the well-attended evening:
(1) The most important "scholarship" to focus on is your Grade Point Average. Colleges award far more dollars for merit than for soccer. And report your grades honestly. American University recalculates on a 4.0 scale - no bonus points for honors courses or acing AP exams.
(2) Don’t write about soccer on your essay. Admissions officers, not coaches, read your application, so unless soccer reveals your character or zest for community service, don’t waste this valuable chance to shine.
(3) Recruiting v. Walk Ons. Division 1 coaches have travel budgets and scout players at top showcases, such as December’s Disney tournament, or state and regional contests. Most D1 colleges recruit players; St. Mary’s coach has had a handful of walk-ons over the years.
(4) Division III offers great soccer and academics. The season is shorter, the travel less grueling than in Div.I, and lab courses trump game schedules. Some Div III schools, such as Hopkins or the New England college conference (Bowdoin, Middlebury, Colby), offer higher-level soccer than many Div I colleges. They don’t offer athletic scholarships, but brains over brawn means more dollars for athlete-scholars.
(5) Contact the Coach. If you plan to visit a campus, let the coach know you’re coming. E-mails that demonstrate knowledge of the college team and its playing style ("I like the way the Terps pass and play smart, not physical") are more effective than form letters. And don’t send blast E-mails to several college coaches!
(6) Videotapes, DVDs are great-but ditch the special effects. If you don’t play for a top club or high-school team, you have to be more proactive at getting a coach to consider you. Many coaches, particularly at Div. 2 and Div. 3 schools, will look at videotapes. They want to see the whole game, though, not just highlights, because they want to see how players move and behave when they don’t have the ball. And don’t jazz up the clips with lightning bolts, flashing lights or other distractions every time you score a goooalllll!
(7) Know the NCAA rules. Coaches cannot contact players--including returning calls--until June 1 of their junior year. If you get recruited because some rule was violated, that could cost you your spot on the team. Bone up on the regs with The NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student Athlete
by Mary Lord