The Albion Soccer Club is committed to giving all of our players that want to play college soccer every opportunity. That means we will help educate the players and parents in areas that they need to spend time on to prepare the player, we will help organize player profiles, we will look to expose the players in the proper tournaments to gain exposure, we will contact college coaches, we will assist with helping a player select the right college for them, we will write letters of recommendation, and assist the player/family in any other area that will help get the player into college. The College Placement Program of Albion SC is designed to give every player what they need to find their way to playing in college.
I. GETTING STARTED:
There are over 1,000 colleges and universities across the and that you can choose from that has soccer programs. The college selection process can seem overwhelming, but it does not have to be if you are organized. Be proactive and do things gradually, so the process will not overwhelm you. It is up to you, the player, to make things happen… but we will be there to help you at each step along the way.
“The will to succeed is important, but what’s more important is the will to prepare.” Bobby Knight
To get prepared for the college process means that you have to prepare for success on and off the field. On the soccer side of things the team, the players and the parents must be extremely committed to the years ahead. This means doing what is required to prepare and put the players and the team in the position to have college opportunities. The team will take on a tremendous amount of travel to showcase the players and the team. And the players will need to commit to all training sessions, games and showcase events.
Academically you must do your best to excel. To a college coach, giving you a scholarship is an investment. Most coaches are not going to invest limited scholarship money in an athlete that is at risk of not being academically eligible to compete. Here is a short essay on the importance of academics in recruiting from the iHigh.com website that is quite instructive.
The importance of grades in recruiting
By iHigh Columnist Russ Williams
Your grades and test scores have become even more important as the NCAA has rules governing athletic eligibility based on academic performance. It is a requirement that you register with the NCAA Clearinghouse if you want to compete at the division 1 or 2 levels. You can learn more about these requirements by visiting the NCAA website.
How about looking at it one more way. A college coach is recruiting you and one other athlete. The other athlete is a little ahead of you on the athletic side but your grades and test scores are far superior to the other candidate. Who will the coach choose when it comes time to offer the scholarship? Most of the time the coach will choose you! Why? With the schools coaches and conditioning programs they can most likely bring your athletic performance up to the other candidates. There is not much they can do to bring the other candidates academic performance up to yours. The coach wants you to play for four years and they want you to graduate. You will win that head to head battle just about every time.
II. HOW TO IDENTIFY SCHOOLS TO ATTEND: (Begin to think about these issues early)
One of the most important decisions a young person will make while in high school is the choice of a college to attend. If the young student is fortunate to not only be academically qualified but also athletically as well, then opportunities exist to secure a college scholarship.
Look at schools that best suit your academic needs and a soccer program that is compatible with your playing ability. What academic fields of study are you interested in? Your choice of school should be based on your studies first, then soccer.
What Division school would you like to attend (See Appendix 2)? Consider Universities or Colleges from different divisions.
Be Realistic (see Appendix 3)!
Do you want to attend a big or small college or university?
Do you want to travel out of state or stay in state? Do you want to stay close to home?
Do you want a residential campus or a commuter campus experience
What climate do you prefer?
Do you want to play in a particular conference?
Would you prefer a private or state university?
How much are you willing to pay for your education?
III. COLLEGE PLACEMENT PROCESS
The lucky student who possesses recognized soccer abilities and a skill in addition to their academic abilities has additional opportunities. College coaches are constantly on the lookout for new prospects. Oftentimes you will find coaches at tournaments viewing any number of players. As a prospective college player, it is of utmost importance that you do a thorough investigation of potential colleges and that you are identified as early as possible. Important vehicles for showcasing your abilities include tournaments, club soccer, high school soccer, and the Olympic Development Program. Many coaches begin identifying potential prospects in a player’s junior year of high school or earlier. In this section we will look at the placement process and identify the factors that will be important to maximize your exposure to the colleges that you are interested in. Here is and overview of some key things to consider. For a more detailed look at the process, see Appendix 4.
There are 3 ways to receive money for your college education and they are not mutually exclusive.
1. Academic Scholarships
2. Athletic scholarship
3. Financial need
SAT: Take the SAT either late in your sophomore or early in your Junior year. Take it several times if you are not satisfied with your score. The better you score the better chances you have of getting money for academics and being accepted to the university or college of your choice. Spend the money to take an SAT preparation course if necessary.
GPA: Concentrate on your grades beginning as a freshman onward. Good grades not only give you a chance to earn academic scholarship money but are also something coaches are looking for.
Guidance Counselor: Meet with your High School counselor to discuss schools that meet your academic needs. Keep in constant contact with your counselor.
Meet with Albion SC coaches to discuss realistic possibilities and to discuss which university or college is right for you (see Appendix 3).
Do a thorough review of potential colleges you would like to attend using the factors described above in Section II.
Attend Camps: Attend a camp at the University or College of your interest during your freshman, sophomore and Junior years of High School. Go prepared! Do not show up out of shape. First impressions are lasting.
Attend College Combines for exposure to College coaches from numerous Universities and Colleges.
Email and correspond with Universities, Colleges and their coaches. Inform coaches of which tournaments you will be participating in and send them your schedule.
IV. EXPECTATIONS OF ALBION SC PLAYERS
These are the basic expectations that we have for all Albion SC players, but especially those interested in playing at the collegiate level. The habits you form today will make the person that become tomorrow!
Attend all training sessions.
Attend all training sessions with College coaches.
Attend all games.
Attend all tournaments.
Attend all College showcases.
Attend College Seminars (GU15-GU16).
Soccer Profile: Every player must fill out a soccer profile during his or her U15 year. The player profile will include academic information, soccer information, extra curricular activities and more. In conjunction with the College Committee, the team will design a promotional booklet that will be distributed at tournaments and showcase events. This profile will be updated as needed from U16-U17. (For examples see Appendix 5)
Be pro-active in contacting College coaches (see Appendix 4).
Be realistic with your choices and consult with Albion SC staff (see Appendix 3).
Register with the NCAA Clearinghouse after your junior year in High School.
There are different recruiting rules associated with the different divisions which may limit the amount of direct communication you can have with college and university coaches (See Appendix 1). However, you are allowed to contact them and indicate an interest, inform them of high school and club/tournament schedules etc… The purpose is to get into their database of prospective student athletes so they can evaluate you even though they may not be able to directly communicate with you.
NOTE: NAIA coaches are under no such recruiting restrictions and are allowed unlimited personal contact with you as early and as often as they desire.
Finally, be sure to take advantage of additional resources including informative website links and our excel databases of all of the college soccer programs and their contact information. These will be available on the Albion website.
Appendix 1: NCAA Recruiting Rules Summary
NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse
* Initiate registration with the Clearinghouse by completing a NCAA student release form during your junior year. See your guidance counselor for forms and evaluation of your eligibility status.
* Letters/printed materials are permitted from coaches (or others at the institution) beginning September 1 of your junior year.
* E-mail and fax are considered correspondence.
* May call June 15 after completion of your junior year.
* Limited to one per week to prospect or parent(s). (One call per institution, i.e. coach or faculty member or other athletic department personnel.) There are exceptions at the times surrounding official visits, home visits and signing dates.
* Prospect or parent(s) may phone a coach as often as they wish.
* Enrolled collegiate student-athletes may not make recruiting calls.
* You may telephone enrolled collegiate student-athletes at your own expense.
* E-mail is not considered a phone call, therefore, is not limited.
* Definition - Any face-to-face encounter during which dialogue occurs.
* A college coach may contact a prospect or parent(s) off their campus beginning June 15 after your junior year.
* Limit of 3 contacts per institution.
* A coach may not contact a prospect during competition.
* A coach may contact parents during competition.
* Definition - Any off-campus activity designed to assess athletics and/or academics.
* There is no limit to the number of evaluations an institution may conduct in Div. II.
* Division II institutions may conduct one tryout per prospect per sport on its campus, not to exceed two hours in length.
* Only seniors who have completed their sport season or are in a term other than the "traditional" sport season may participate.
* You must have your high school athletics director’s approval in writing.
* The prospect or (if under age 18) the prospect’s parent(s) must sign a waiver absolving Missouri Southern State University of any and all responsibility should an injury occur.
* A medical examination of a prospect may be permitted as part of the tryout.
* Prospect’s strength, speed, agility and sport skills may be tested; Football, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer and wrestling tryouts may not include competition. * During the academic year, competition is permissible against the member institution’s team in a tryout.
* An institution may provide clothing and equipment to a prospect if it is returned at the conclusion of the tryout.
* A visit made to the institution at the prospect’s own expense.
* May be made before your senior year in high school.
* A visit made to the institution’s campus at the expense of that institution.
* Maximum of 5.
* Only one per institution.
* 48-hour limit.
* You must provide the college with an academic transcript and an ACT or SAT test score prior to the visit.
* Entertainment money may not be used to buy souvenirs for yourself.
* Prospect may receive transportation.
* Prospect and parents may receive meals, lodging and admission to campus events.
* A prospect visiting an institution may participate in physical workouts provided the activities are not organized or observed by members of the coaching staff.
Div. I - Boosters and alumni may not be involved in recruiting.
Div. II - Boosters and alumni may write letters and send e-mail to you. They may not be involved in off-campus recruiting or place phone calls.
Div. III - Alumni, boosters may contact you off campus.
* Tryouts: Div. II - Allowed on any visit, with restrictions (release form).
Div. I & III - Not allowed.
National Letter of Intent (NLI)
* Your commitment is to the school, not the coach.
* When you sign, you agree to attend that institution for at least one academic year. If you fail to do so, you will lose two years eligibility and must sit out for two years at another college. The only exception is if you obtain a Qualified Release Agreement, in which case you must complete one year of residence there and lose one year of eligibility.
* Applies only to those institutions that participate in the NLI.
For Your Information
* For more information on the many aspects of collegiate athletics, visit the "NCAA On-line" at www.NCAA.org. For details on eligibility requirements,refer to the Guide for the College Bound Athlete within the website.
* You may also call the Missouri Southern Athletics Department at 1-877-946-6772 with any questions you may have.
Appendix 2: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DIVISIONS?
NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association)- www.ncaa.org
Division II (or DII) is an intermediate-level division of competition in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. It offers an alternative to both the highly competitive (and highly expensive) "big-time" level of intercollegiate sports offered in NCAA Division I and the non-scholarship, less competitive level of competition offered in Division III. Division II schools tend to be smaller public universities and many private institutions. Athletic scholarships are offered in most sponsored sports at most institutions, but with more stringent limits as to the numbers offered in any one sport than at the Division I level. Division II institutions have to sponsor at least four sports for men and four for women, with two team sports for each gender, and each playing season represented by each gender. There are contest and participant minimums for each sport, as well as scheduling criteria -- For sports other than football and basketball there are no scheduling requirements. There are maximum financial aid awards for each sport that a Div. II school must not exceed. Division II teams usually feature a number of local or in-state student-athletes. Many Division II student-athletes pay for school through a combination of scholarship money, grants, student loans and employment earnings. Division II athletics programs are financed in the institution’s budget like other academic departments on campus. Traditional rivalries with regional institutions dominate
Division III (or DIII) is a division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association of the . The division consists of colleges and universities with less competitive collegiate athletic programs. There are over 420 member institutions, making DIII the largest of the three divisions sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. DIII schools range in size from less than 500 to over 10,000 students. Division III institutions have to sponsor at least five sports for men and five for women, with two team sports for each gender, and each playing season represented by each gender. There are minimum contest and participant minimums for each sport. Division III athletics features student-athletes who receive no financial aid related to their athletic ability and athletic departments are staffed and funded like any other department in the university. Division III athletics departments place special importance on the impact of athletics on the participants rather than on the spectators. The student-athlete’s experience is of paramount concern. Division III athletics encourages participation by maximizing the number and variety of athletics opportunities available to students, placing primary emphasis on regional in-season and conference competition.
NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics)- www.naia.org
Active membership in the NAIA is open to four year colleges and universities in the and that must be nonprofit organizations and fully accredited by one of the six established regional accrediting bodies. Member institutions, although a varied and diverse mix of private and public, share a common commitment to high standards and to the principle that participation in athletics serves as an integral part of the total educational process. The NAIA has 50,000 student-athletes participating at nearly 300 member colleges and universities throughout the and . The NAIA does not require a minimum number of sponsored varsity sports as active members are permitted to make decisions about sports sponsorship consistent with their institution’s mission and overall budgetary needs. Affiliated NAIA conferences, however, often do have minimum sponsorship requirements that conference members must meet. Maximum institutional aid limits exist for each sport so student athletes’ education are often funded through a combination of scholarship money, grants, student loans and employment earnings. The purpose of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is to promote the education and development of students through intercollegiate athletic participation. Since 1937, the NAIA has continued a long tradition of pushing the envelope and making a positive difference in the lives of students, coaches and parents. The Champions of Character program is the NAIA’s latest initiative and seeks to create an environment in which every student-athlete, coach, official and spectator are committed to the true spirit of competition through the five core values: respect, integrity, responsibility, servant leadership and sportsmanship. This program will educate and create awareness of the positive character-building traits afforded by sports and return integrity to competition at the collegiate and youth levels while impacting all of society.
Many high school athletes anticipate continuing their athletic endeavors in college. In many instances, these expectations are very realistic; in others, they are not. It is extremely important for athletes to discuss the possibility of competing at the college level with their coach. He or she will be able to provide the guidance required for this very important decision.
Student-athletes must prepare themselves both athletically and academically. In January of 1993, NCAA Divisions I and II voted to establish an Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse to simplify the process of enrolling student-athletes. Guidelines were established and a common form developed This form should be filled out on-line at www.ncaaclearinghouse.net in the fall of your senior year and a request for transcripts made to the registrar. Transfer students must request transcripts be sent from EVERY school attended. This form is for athletic eligibility for Division I and II ONLY, not college admission or other levels of athletic participation. DI and II athletes must:
· Graduate from high school
· Meet ACT or SAT score requirements
· Complete 14 core courses with GPA requirements
· Class of 2008 must complete 16 core courses
Remember, top Division I and II athletes are the "best of the best".
The Real World of Athletic Scholarships
· Only 1.5% of high school basketball players receive scholarships to play in college - also most are partials. The odds of a high school basketball player making it to the pros are about 10,000 to 1.
NAIA and Division III
· D-III and NAIA colleges and universities are some of the best schools in the country. The are often among the most prestigious and provide some of the best educational programs available.
College Soccer – What You Thought You Knew Was Wrong
If you find an article about college soccer in the newspaper, it focuses on Division 1 schools like the University of Missouri , University of Kansas or Nebraska . If you read an article about men’s soccer you may read an article about Indiana, Creighton, or locally UMKC or in recent years, occasionally Rockhurst. You rarely see Park, Baker or other local NAIA schools covered unless they have a tragic accident or reach nationals. Even in publications like Soccer , only rarely are schools other those playing in NCAA, Division I mentioned.
This lack of coverage stems from the ignorance of many sports reporters at major newspapers. They assume that soccer is like football and basketball; that there is a drop off in quality from Division I to Division II. This lack of knowledge is compounded with only Division I teams receiving ink, readers also tend to believe that the quality of soccer is lower outside of Division I ranks. Many transplants to from Europe or South America believe that the division ranking in college corresponds to the divisions of professional soccer in Europe ; that the worst first division teams are better than the best second division teams. Both ideas are wrong. The truth is that the best Second Division teams are every bit the equal, and as often as not beat, Division I teams.
The equality between top Division I and Division II programs is demonstrated every year when top Division II teams such as Seattle Pacific square off against Washington or Southern Connecticut meets Connecticut University. For example, two years ago Washington was ranked 4th among NCAA Division I schools and Seattle Pacific was ranked 8th among Division II programs, yet Seattle Pacific defeated Washington at Washington 1-0. Similar results occur every year.
NAIA programs match well against comparable NCAA schools. Top ranked NAIA schools such as Lindenwood, St. Gregory’s or John Brown, are the equal of most NCAA Division I or Division II schools. The NAIA programs may not be at the level of the very best soccer programs in the country, like Creighton or Indiana, but good NAIA schools are an equal match with most NCAA Division I programs.
Kansas City is also blessed with top talent playing at the Junior College level. Colleges such as State Fair in Sedalia, Johnson County , in Overland Park, and Cloud Count in Concordia, Kansas are ranked in the top fifteen in the country year after year. Players at these institutions travel to Arizona, Texas, and across the Midwest each season. They often have preseason scrimmages against top NAIA and NCAA programs; scrimmages that the Junior Colleges win a fair percentage of the time. These scrimmages not only allow the players valuable experience, they afford the coaches at the four year schools a chance to scout potential players. As a gauge of the quality of local junior college programs compare the number of alumni from Johnson County Community College that have gone on to the pro ranks with those from area Division I teams. In the last ten years more players from Johnson County Community College have gone to the pros than from UMKC, Drury and Southwest Missouri State – combined – all quality NCAA Division 1 programs.
So the next time you hear a player, parent or coach brag about playing Division I, you will know that the boast is meaningless. What matters is not the category, but the quality of the program.
Junior colleges are designed for students who may wish to continue their education at a four-year institution later or for those who wish to pursue a two-year degree or certificate program. Certain junior colleges may award scholarships to recruited athletes. Here are some facts:
· Junior colleges often provide academic help to students. This may be in the form of extra tutoring, mentoring and/or specialzed classes. You may benefit from this extra attention!
Steps to Take: Overview
There are many college-playing opportunities for high school graduates. There are also many schools with soccer programs. These colleges and universities vary widely in size, location, academic offering, and their soccer programs range from moderately competitive to very competitive. One very useful resource which can help a player prepare for the ordeals of college recruiting is a book entitled: Student Athlete College Guide: Soccer by Charlie Kadupski, telephone: 1-800-862-3092.
Steps in the process include these points:
1. Preparing academically
2. Preparing athletically
3. Completing administrative preparations
4. Identifying realistic college options
5. Generating contacts among these options
6. Following up on contacts
7. Making a selection and committing
For players of equal academic and athletic ability, those who have the opportunity to create more contacts, and those who are more diligent about communicating effectively will find themselves with more opportunities to attend school and play soccer.
Communicating with the Coach
Good communication is essential. Complete forms carefully and return them promptly. Follow up by mail, e-mail and phone. Return phone calls immediately, and remember that the NCAA coach cannot usually call more than once a week. If you have a message, call back and keep calling until you get through.
If you fail to return phone calls promptly or to return paperwork or get your paperwork into the NCAA Eligibility Clearinghouse, the coach will have to move on to other players, giving your playing opportunity and financial aid to another player who was prompt about returning paperwork and phone calls. When the coach calls, the coach wants to present the school and soccer program, to learn more about you - the player, and to arrange to move you further along the recruiting pipeline, possibly to a home visit or to an official visit to the school.
If you are not interested, save everyone time and be honest about it. However, if you are interested, there’s a lot you need to find out about the school and program so that you’ll be able to make a good decision. The following is a list of questions that you might ask.
About the School
1. Is this a four-year or two-year school?
2. Is the school public or private?
3. If it is private…is it church affiliated?
4. Where is the school located?
5. Is this in the country, a small town, or in an urban area?
6. What is the campus like?
7. How large is the school, what is the undergraduate enrollment?
8. What are the strongest degree programs offered, and which are the best academic departments?
9. What degree programs are popular with current soccer players?
10. Do most students live on campus or in off-campus apartments?
11. What is the student housing like?
12. Do the members of the soccer team room together?
13. What transportation is possible from my home to the campus?
14. What is the academic calendar - quarters, semesters or trimesters?
15. What computing resources and library services are available to students?
16. What do you do to help players with their schoolwork?
17. Is tutoring provided?
About the Soccer Program and the Team
1. In what division does the school play? (NCAA I, NCAA II, NCAA III, NAIA, NJCAA)
2. In what conference is the team?
3. What important non-conference teams are scheduled?
4. Can you provide a schedule for next fall?
5. What was the team’s conference and overall record this year?
6. How many players will there be on the roster next year?
7. How many will travel with the team?
8. What training happens between seasons?
9. What is the pre-season schedule?
10. What is the practice schedule after school starts?
11. Including meetings, training, travel, and matches, how much time is required?
12. What facilities and staff are available to take care of injuries and rehab?
13. What are your goals for the team?
14. What is the style of play you want to see?
About the Coach’s Needs
1. How many seniors are graduating?
2. Are there any red shirt players returning?
3. Where would I play in the team?
4. How much playing time should I expect as a freshman?
5. How many other players are playing that position?
6. Are you recruiting other players for that position? Have you committed to any?
How to Go Forward
1. Where am I on your board now?
2. Have you seen me play?
3. Which tournaments will you be attending? (Appropriate before January)
4. Do you have our team’s schedule for this fall? (Appropriate in the Fall)
5. Have you talked with my coaches?
6. Do you have a copy of my playing resume and references?
7. What’s the next step?
8. What should I do?
9. Do you see me as a serious possibility?
After this last question, let silence work for you. Listen carefully and let the coach explain fully.
Steps to Take: Getting serious
1. Carefully examine the College Choice material provided by "Soccer America Magazine".
2. Go through the listings and put together a list of options that sound attractive.
3. Gather information from the universities you are interested in either by phone or by mail concerning their academic programs and entrance requirements. If you know what your future course of study will be then you may want to find out if they offer a program in that area and if it is a strong one. While academic standards should be your primary consideration in choosing a college, you will also need information about financial obligations, housing arrangements, the social environment, and the general atmosphere of the university. Ask yourself if you will be happy at the university if you never get to play soccer there.
4. After gathering all of the information from these schools, you will want information about the athletic and in particular, the men’s or women’s soccer program. Evaluate your ability to make the team and eventually play. You want to be in a position to contribute to your team whatever level they compete at. Consider the financial support the program receives, the coach and his or her philosophy in regards to soccer and team conduct. If you are serious about your soccer and plan to keep improving yourself as a player and person, look at the level of seriousness among the people you will be playing with. Are you committed enough to want to play on a team that will be competing on a regular basis for the national championship? If soccer is important to you, this is where I would want to be; it is a matter of personal choice.
5. Narrow down your list to anywhere from 10-15 schools that best meet your needs. Your education should be your first priority! Don’t forget to consider Div III or NAIA schools in this process.
6. Prepare a short and informative letter of introduction expressing your interest in possibly attending that particular university and your desire to perhaps play soccer there. Ask for information about application procedures, financial aid, and your desire to have the coach in question evaluate your ability. Include personal information, your ODP, Club, High School, and list your coaches names and phone numbers. Let them know when you will be graduating, if you have information about your cumulative GPA and or SAT scores you might include that as well. Gather information for the coach about where you will be performing throughout the season, tournaments, times and dates. Mail this information to your choices and await any responses. Please be considerate about the time and effort these coaches put in and follow up the response they send you. Feel free to call them by phone once you have established contact.
7. Sort out the universities which most interest you and go on your campus visits. It will be up to you and your parents to communicate with the coach and school of your choice. Please be professional and responsible in your correspondence with these programs, you may open the door for other players from our club in future years. Be proud of your affiliation with the Albion Soccer Club and be an example for others. Remember we want to take pride in you; communicate and conduct yourself in an honest way.