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June 8th, 2016

Supply and Demand Side in College Soccer Recruiting 

College Coaches Are Overwhelmed too!

In the economics of recruiting from a coach's point of view, players, clubs, teams, camps, tournaments, recruiting services, social media and mass emails form the huge supply side landscape that shifts and expands daily. 

The demand side consists of the college coaches recruiting and deciding what players to offer roster spots, and when possible, scholarships to the supply side masses.

It is easy to see the coaches as they observe, evaluate and identify players at showcases and think that it is straightforward for them to select recruits, contact and sign them. 

However, the demand side job of finding best fit players is as daunting and overwhelming for college coaches as it is for recruits.  Sorting through hundreds of emails, videos, and phone messages and then trying to discern and discover recruits that are academically qualified and financially able is no easy task. 

A coach's livelihood depends on making the right choices and the pressure to find quality players, strong students and upstanding citizens for their university community is relentless as each year a new class must be harvested.

I know this from my 25 years of experience coaching Division 1 college soccer for both the men's and women's teams at Columbia University and networking with hundreds of my peers, almost all College Head Coaches. After speaking with many college coaches at Memorial Day tournaments, it reminded me of my experiences as a college coach and just how few prospects we as college coaches actually really know. 

Often the solution is for college coaches to focus exclusively on Development Academy kids or ECNL players on the girl's side.  Some coaches rely on tried and true relationships with certain clubs or coaches that they know and trust. 

So how do you get on the radar of the schools that are a great fit for you?

OK, I am gonna go biblical on you. I am gonna convince you that recruiting isn't just about what you do on the pitch and in the classroom. You need to put as much effort into building relationships with your coaches, teachers, counselors, club alumni and more. 

Network and You reap what you sow.

Network and You will reap more than you sow.

Network and You will reap later than you sow.

Sow=Work

Your network can't be handed to you by your parents; it can't be bought, borrowed or downloaded like an app; you have to engage, introduce, contact and work on building relationships with leaders in your club, team, school and life. 

Do you now where each one of your teachers went to college?  Each coach in your club?  Parents of club teammates?  

The people around you are a great way to start. Even your peers and their siblings can be influential. 10 years ago a Harvard kid asked 5 friends over to his dorm to discuss a business opportunity. 2 of 5 showed up. Those two met with Mark Zuckerburg CEO of Facebook and are all billionaires today! 

Who are the other 3? Who cares! If you want something badly enough: You gotta always show up! You gotta connect! You reap what you sow my friends. It may not be a linear connection or pathway but work on your network and expand your relationships with soccer and academic influencers in your life and you will achieve trans-formative results.

Join our year-long Next Gen College Prep club and immediately connect to the experience and network of the five former or current head college coaches on our staff. 

Join and connect with the four ex-Directors of Coaching on our staff.  

Join and connect with our professional affiliations in Florida, Arizona, England, Germany, Belgium, France, Argentina and Brazil.

So how do you join Next Gen College Prep Club?

It is simple.  Register for one of our College-Pro Combines this summer by clicking here, and you get a one-year membership to our College Prep Club.  This membership has its exclusive privileges:

  • Be a V.I.P. player at our College-Pro Combine 
  • Get a free annual subscription to our College Recruiting 101 webinar series (price is $149 per year)
  • Get a $100 gift voucher towards one of our Select Squad College Showcase Tours in 2016/2017         
  • Get 10% off our new College Planning Workshops in 2016/2017

Register here and expand your network.  Allow us to observe you, work with you, get to know you.  We can then help identify the right college soccer programs for you and give you the introductions by tapping into our vast network of college coaches.  Remember, college coaches are overwhelmed too!

Kevin McCarthy

Director of College Programming


May 30, 2016

College ID Clinics

As the Director of College Programming at Next Gen USA, a former Division 1 college coach for 25 years and a parent of two teenage soccer players with aspirations to play beyond high school, I have a broad range of depth and perspective in navigating the college recruiting process.  While most parents and players consult me because of my soccer playing, coaching and consulting experience, I find that it is my role as soccer Dad that often helps me guide and educate families in the most holistic and healthy manner about college soccer recruiting.

In that light, I thought offering a few points about best practices for parents in the thick of the recruiting journey with their kids would be helpful.

No Tiger Mom's, Helicopter Parents Allowed! 

Hovering parents create kids that slouch towards their goals while holding their parents hands.  All communication with college coaches should be via the player, not parent, until the coach requests otherwise. Players are the drivers/owners of the process, and college coaches value that. They want to know who is the person both on and off the field they are getting!

What Can We Do? 

There is, I believe, a middle ground. As parents we are willing to chauffeur to games and training, stand in wind, snow, sleet and rain at games, buy brightly colored, insanely expensive soccer cleats and while always providing love and support. Kids fulfill their end of this contract by doing their best. Not necessarily All-American or best on the team…but their best. That means in school and on and off the field with their soccer teams. This approach will be a win-win in the college recruiting process.

Are ID clinics and camps with multiple schools listed worth attending? 

When families spend money at camps and clinics to get identified, they usually skip important steps, and end up hoping and waiting to get noticed and recruited. It is vital to look deeper at certain ID clinics and camps that claim to be legit recruiting opportunities, recognizing that most are about revenue--not recruiting.  So do your homework on who is coming, is it a big or a high-touch event, understand what environment allows you to display your strengths.  Research the college, the soccer program and their coaches. All your work upfront will help you choose the ID camps wisely and remember - be selective! Combining a school visit with an id clinic on campus and ensuring the coach knows you are going, is a pro-active way of maximizing your exposure at the event.

We have never been through the recruiting process...help!

That is the aim of the Next Gen Passport to College Soccer program. We provide empowering education to you and your player, access to college coaches and inspirational showcase and tour opportunities, association with almost every college soccer program nationwide and the world's top professional clubs if your player wants that added differentiation on their resume.  Our methodology will guide your child to transformative results and the ability to maturely steer through the transition from high school and club soccer into college.

For more information and the opportunity to join our program in the summer, please click here. This summer we have created special 1-Day College-Pro Combine events in NY, NJ, PA and MD for High School kids to get a taste of our unique Passport to College Soccer methodology.  And if you register by Memorial Day Weekend, my marketing folks tell me the price has been reduced by $50, which is a 20% discount!

You can also follow me on twitter @KevinMcCarthyNY for more recruiting advice.


May 27th, 2016

Memorial Day Scouting

Have you contacted coaches about your tournament schedule this coming long weekend?  If so, have you followed up to make sure and get on their schedule this weekend?

Writing College Coaches!

Almost all of our Next Gen players are participating in tournaments this Memorial Day weekend. As kick off approaches it is important to write to college coaches and inform them of your schedule.  Hopefully, your clubs have prepared you to be proactive and contact colleges this week. Don't stress though if you have not done so yet; in my 25 years of being a Division 1 coach, I always finalized my schedule the night prior to the start of the event. So get to work and follow these few simple tips!

Do Your Homework!

Get the right address, make sure the coach is the right one (especially with assistant coaches that turn over often), and NO ONE likes generic mass emails! I bet you don't like getting form emails from college coaches about camps or clinics either. As coaches, we know prospective students are more responsive to personal communication. Coaches will have the same expectations when receiving emails from recruits.

Keep It Simple!

Emails are a great way to communicate with a coach, but they should be sent with a specific purpose. You have to find a balance between overwhelming a coach with information and making yourself stand out as a prospect.

Select a purpose for your email and stick to the topic: Introduction and Interest, Tournament Schedule.

Once you have specified the purpose of your email, decide what information is critical. Here are a few suggestions: Introduction and Interest, Team (Club, High School and/or NGUSA), Brief Athletic Information (Position, most significant award or statistic), Brief Academic Information  (GPA, Grad Year, test score), Team or Group name and jersey colors and number, tournament schedule. 

Actionable Items!

Do they have any feedback for you? Are there any other upcoming events they will be attending? Do you need a left sided player for the class of 2018?  Find a way to get a personal response and to highlight one of your unique differentiating factors!

Attachments and Links!

Rather than inundating a coach with every detail of your playing history, attach your player profile to the email. Coaches are busy and they should be able to immediately identify the purpose of your email. If you are able to attach a profile or provide a link to a highlight video, they can review your additional information on their own time. Keep the meat of your email clear and concise, but give the coach an opportunity to learn more if they are interested in what you have to offer.

Remember, these tips are meant to serve only as a guide. Create your own Personal Recruiting Brand and differentiate yourself from the masses!

For more info to help you throughout the recruiting process, please click here:  http://www.nextgenusa.org/collegeprocombine/.  And if you register by Memorial Day Monday, I am told you save $50 from the price of a summer College-Pro Combine.

You can also follow me on twitter @KevinMcCarthyNY and let me know how I can help you find your best fit school and soccer team.

Good luck this weekend!


May 15, 2016

College Recruiting 101 

Recently I hosted a webinar on College Soccer Recruiting 101 and have presented similar college prep workshops to many more players and parents. I continue to discover an enormous amount of mis-information and myths about how soccer players should best navigate the recruiting process.

This is the final of three posts which aim to provide, from a player and parent’s perspective, a realistic view of the process required to play college soccer.  It will follow up on the previous posts which were about (#1) starting the process with a list of best fit and match schools, and (#2) creating your distinct personal brand for college soccer recruiting.  You can read the previous two posts by scrolling down.

There is no way to Hack The College Soccer Recruiting Game!

Let's be clear - there are no guarantees to playing college soccer. No recruiting companies can and should guarantee you will play college soccer.  Many recruiting services provide the services of e-mailing your profile, making you a professional highlight film, even providing a college scouting report on you. Many will offer sound, broad based guidance throughout the process.  These are all valuable services.  However, if a recruiting service even suggests the promise of a scholarship, I would question them.  Next Gen's Passport to College Soccer is ultimately about being informed, educated and empowered for players to be their own agents.  Finding your way is to assertively and doggedly seek the outcome: the end result of studying and playing at a school you love!

Nothing Works Unless You DO!

As Tony Williams, my inspirational colleague at @NextGenSoccerUS tells our players, "Nothing Works Unless You Do!"  This clearly goes for your development and growth as a high level player aspiring to play college soccer; it is also absolutely essential to embrace the recruiting process as well.  Remember, there are no recruiting Hacks out there! 

Get A Job!

One strategy is to think of the college recruiting process as a job search.

I have seen players successfully navigate the process with this type of mindset.  Like a job search, it takes lots of work to get the right match. Define and target your companies (schools), research them, identify and get the attention of the right people (coach/assistant coach), impress that person in an audition (showcase) or interview (college visit), and be persistent but professional!

I suggest continuing this business analogy and enlist your Board of Directors to assist you in the recruiting process.  Who are they?

Your club coach, club Director of Coaching, select team coach, high school coach, guidance counselor, club and school alumni who went on ahead of you to play in college, your extended family and, of course, the P.U.'s, The Rents...yup, Mom and Dad.

While You(!) must be the Chair of the Board, parents can provide invaluable support and guidance during the college soccer search by focusing on what is important to you and helping you stay organized and updated with all materials and deadlines. They will keep you focused on your list of best fit schools and not be swayed by the choices of teammates or fixated on the “one ideal school.”

Most importantly, like at games, parents should stay on the sidelines and be professional in your support. Coaches recruit good, trustworthy parents as much as hard working, talented players because they believe there is a connection between the two.

And again parents, as you do at games, provide unwavering support during the inevitable highs and lows of the process.

In summary, while wrapping up these three posts on the college soccer recruiting process,I have steered you to begin with a best match, best fit list; define and create  your own singular personal brand for recruiting and by taking A.I.M., that is using Authentic Impression Management strategies to have coaches find you; and finally embrace the work and the college recruiting process and you will find your way, your school, your college soccer program.

Recruiting Zen

I will leave you with a little Recruiting Zen:

Everything is related to everything else!

Your life - School, Soccer, Social - all twist, turn and tangle together.  Wake up, be conscious of moving confidently in the direction of your dreams of playing college soccer at a great fit school!

Follow me @KevinMcCarthyNY for updates on College Recruiting.

Til then; don't hope, don't try. Do.


May 14, 2016

Passport to College Soccer - College Recruiting 101

Last week I hosted a webinar on Soccer Recruiting 101 and traveled to Toronto, Canada to do a College Prep workshop based on the principles discussed in my webinar. I continue to discover an enormous amount of misinformation and myths about how soccer players should best navigate the college recruiting process.  There has been an avalanche of follow up questions so I decided to write a series of posts on helping soccer players and their families successfully begin, work and complete the recruiting process.

This is the second of three posts which have been designed to provide, from a player and parent’s perspective, a realistic view of the process required to play college soccer.  You can read my first post below.

While each prospect and each family’s circumstances are unique, the most powerful path to finding the best fit school and soccer program is to take ownership of the recruiting process. Take a step back from the recruiting chaos and bombardment of marketing information, and decide what criteria of a college and soccer program are important to you. Drop the expectations of college coaches relentlessly recruiting you for their program! 

In my workshops I begin by asking the players “How many of you want to play college soccer”?  As you can guess, all hands shoot up; the response is almost always %100.  Great start but the answers to the next question leave me shaking my head every time: “What are you doing to reach that goal”?

“I am going to ID camps this summer”

“My team plays in a lot of tournaments where I can be seen”

“Our club uses a national recruiting service for our profiles”

Every time I hear these passive answers I want to grab each kid by the shoulders and scream:“Wake Up!”

However…

I doubt that is you.  Since you’re reading this post I’m going to assume you’re the type with more defined goals. You are pro-active and not willing to just hope you get recruited anywhere to play college soccer.  You have worked the process discussed in my last post about defining your specific criteria in finding your best fit school list.

As a player with clear and lofty goals, you now have to find the most effective way to reach those goals.  You are willing to work and be the driver/owner of your college recruiting journey. Now you must also make sure the right people know about you.

Your Personal Brand as a player, student and person must be strong and real!

Once you have clarity about your Personal Brand, then you need to use Impression Management Strategies, on and off the field, to get the attention of coaches you are targeting.  Your brand must be authentic to who you are and consistent in highlighting your unique differentiating qualities in Soccer, School and Character.

Knowing your best qualities as a player, your academic interests and strengths, and your leadership style will help you stand out and clearly differentiate yourself from other prospects.  Going through this process, you may find out your "dream" college is not really a good fit for you.

The players that realize they are the primary agents of their development on and off the field will be most successful at connecting with the best-fit schools, performing at peak levels in ID events, clearly communicating their goals when meeting coaches and submitting a successful application, while clearly expressing who they are and what value and quality they will bring to their college and college soccer program.  

Your authenticity will be the magnet for the college coaches. It is all about you with the right tools and guidance - own it!

Follow me @KevinMcCarthyNY for updates and expect more in my third post later this week on College Recruiting 101.  

Til then; don't hope, don't try. Do.


May 07, 2016

Passport to College Soccer by former Columbia University Head Coach

We had a great response to the Free Next Gen USA Passport to College Soccer Webinar last week. Thanks to those who were able to join us. So many of you had follow up questions that I decided to write a series of posts on helping soccer players and their families navigate successfully through the recruiting process. 

The Challenge: Where to begin? How to be seen? What works?

Just as there is no one best fit school, there is no singular step-by-step guide for college recruiting. While the process is understood, your unique strengths and qualities will define your individual recruiting journey. You should map out multiple pathways or options that will support you as a player in creating the direction, confidence and knowledge to be successful in finding a best-fit college.  In addition to participating in the "right" soccer showcase opportunities, you need to understand and be ready in the areas of academics, application excellence, leadership training, image management, as well as the soccer skills and tactics that are required to play at the next level. 


YOU have only one opportunity to be successful at the college recruiting process. At Next Gen, we provide our High School soccer players with the expert support they need at all levels during this critical time. There is an integrated focus on the entire recruiting journey.     

Finding The Best Fit School and Soccer Program For You!  

The college search is not about getting into the best college or on the best team. We don't believe in a best college or best soccer program. There is no school that is best for all student-athletes.  Some students do best at large public universities; others excel in small liberal arts colleges; still others want to study far from home and there are multiple divisions within the NCAA to choose from.

If you want to make the most of college and college soccer, don't just apply to the big–name schools or the ones your teammates are excited about. With the guidance of your club or coach, write down the criteria that are important and then use them to provide the GPS to find schools that are a great fit for you.

It's never too early to start compiling a list of potential colleges.

If you're an 8th grader or freshman, go window–shopping. Check out college and team websites, ask for ideas from your coaches, older players and alumni in your club, family and teachers. Create a list of schools that interest you. If you are a sophomore or junior, you should have this list now! Focus on refining this list further based on your best-fit criteria.  

The Next Gen USA Passport to College process is designed to guide you on how and when to contact college coaches. As you get closer to junior year, it's time to have an understanding of how your transcript is shaping up too. Next Gen USA Passport to College uses this information to help you find the right school and soccer program.

Follow me on Twitter @KevinMcCarthyNY for updates and expect more to come in my second post next week on College Recruiting 101. Til then; don't hope, don't try. Do!

Kevin McCarthy

Next Gen Director of College Programming
Former Coach of Columbia University Mens and Womens Soccer Teams