Why You Should Attend a College ID Camp!

Date Posted: 5/17/2016

Today I would like to share with you some important advice about college recruiting, finding the right school for you and attendance at summer identification camps.  I hope you find this information helpful.  First, I would like to qualify myself so you know you are receiving information from someone who is an experienced recruiter.

I have been a collegiate soccer coach since 1979 and I have observed many changes in soccer development, the college game and specifically recruiting athletes.  I started my career as a NCAA Division I assistant, then became a very successful coach at NCAA Division II, moved to become a NCAA Division I head coach and I am finishing my career at a highly selective NCAA Division III university.  I chose to move to NCAA Division III because I believe in the development of the STUDENT-athlete.

During my 35 + years in coaching I have had the pleasure to work with numerous All-Americans, National Players of the Year and a few National Team players.  I have also had the opportunity to work with many marginally talented players who loved to compete and just wanted the camaraderie associated with being part of a team.

As a recruiter I believe that a coach must get out and see prospects play as much as possible.  This could be at College Showcase events and at ID camp programs.  I will share with you this true story.  Two weeks ago the Jefferson Cup was held in Richmond, VA.  We had 2 coaches at this event and we identified approximately 60 players to watch, who had either contacted us prior to the tournament, was recommended to us by a club or h.s. coach or who we have watched in previous events.  We try to watch a player play multiple times and we identified Game #1 and Game #3 to watch a specific club team, which had one of our prospects playing on.

I watched the first 30 minutes of Game #1 and I rated the player as an impact player.  I left the game, walked to another field and continued observing and evaluating other players.  My assistant went back to watch the last 20 minutes of the game I left and he also rated this player as an impact player.

Before I progress any further, I would like to share with you what we look for in prospects.  First, we look for his presence on the field.  Does he want the ball?  Does he go get the ball?  Does his teammates look to give him the ball?  Second, we look at their speed of play.  Specifically, technical speed, mental speed and physical speed.  Third, we look for his decision making and consistency.  This would include consistent play technically throughout the game and also consistency of effort and composure when things are going right and when challenged.  A fourth quality is athleticism.  Strength (on the ball), speed, quickness, balance are all factors we evaluate.  Finally, does the player possess a special quality that makes him valuable.  This could be 1 v 1 attacking or defending skills.  Another example might be if a player has outstanding heading skills.   The player we were watching possessed many of the mentioned qualities.

On day 3, we went back to watch our "impact" rated recruit play and as good as he was on Day 1, he was that bad on Day 3.  He could not string passes together, got caught in possession a number of times (he is a defender), he got caught out of position (and ball watching), which cost his team a goal-- I think you get the picture.  This is why college coaches want to see players play multiple times AND why it is so important that a coach gets to watch and hopefully work with a prospect at a camp.  I think this is the # 1 reason why a prospect should attend an ID camp-- to work with the coaches that he could potentially play for.

The best place to attend a sports camp is at a college campus where you can benefit from being identified by college coaches, observe these coaches interacting with players and colleagues, live in a college dorm, eat campus food and just soak-in the campus climate. Other benefits include simply making you a better soccer player and observing collegiate players and their level of competition so that you can aspire to be like them. 

At the College ID program at Denison University we provide you with the opportunity to work with our coaching staff AND other collegiate coaches from Ohio.  In addition, we invite college coaches not on our staff to come to the Denison campus and watch prospects train and play throughout the camp.  You will participate in meaningful games and training sessions conducted by college coaches.  You will have every opportunity to showcase your abilities.  This camp will change your outlook on what you need to be doing to get yourself ready for that first preseason camp.