GPRC Wolves Men's Soccer Recruiting
Recruiting Tips for Parents
Becoming a prospective student athlete, for your son or daughter is a very exciting time in their lives. As a parent, embracing the opportunities that an athletic scholarship to play soccer offers your child, is a very important role. They will look to you for guidance, support, encouragement and direction. The Grande Prairie Regional College Soccer program is as much for you as it is for our Canadian soccer athletes.
The amount of parental involvement in the recruiting process is unique to each individual situation. There are however, some guidelines to keep in mind. Remember that the scholarship process should involve your son or daughter as much as possible, after all it is they who are earning the scholarship and not you. The variables involved with receiving a scholarship can vary from a few hundred dollars to a full ride involving tens of thousands of dollars. Neither of these amounts determine your worth as a parent or how effective you have been in terms of their development, as everyone is different. You will also need to keep an open mind at all times with regards to decisions and offers. Money is not the most important factor when deciding on which scholarship to accept as there are other considerations to factor in such as the academics offered, the coach, the teammates, and much more.
Below we have compiled a list of parental Do's and Don'ts to help guide you through some of the areas as you are getting started in the recruiting process.
- Become active and encourage your child at an early age to start thinking about their education and athletic future.
- Support your child's development in pursuing as many opportunities to play soccer as possible, such as camps, school teams, club teams, clinics, etc.
- Help your child realize their potential and help them to pursue their dream to play soccer, whether it is for a small college team or the national team program.
- Help your child with their career choices and encourage them to research potential schools for academics. After all they are a “student” athlete first.
- Communicate with your child, the importance of grades and an athletic scholarship. We can help re-iterate the importance of this message to them.
- Encourage your child to keep as many options open as possible as to what school they will eventually attend. The perfect fit is not always the program across the street and come decision time your son or daughter should have as many options open to them as possible.
- And lastly, do keep in mind that there are only so many scholarship offers in Canada and that the US is a very viable option for many athletes. Stay away from the rhetorical speeches as only you the parent know what is best for your child.
- Let money or the total scholarship offer be the sole focus of your search.
- Let money be the ultimate deciding factor of which school your son or daughter will attend.
- Tell recruiters or coaches how great your child is, they will see the DVD or perhaps have an opportunity to see them play. Be modest and gracious at all times.
- Let a coach tell your child that Canada is their only option for a scholarship. If they can not give you a balanced or unbiased opinion then perhaps their opinion is not warranted.
- Assume your child has everything under control. The pressure of school work and grades may require your continued guidance.
- Limit his or her choices to schools close to home. Step outside the box.
- If your son or daughter plays for a club program that has direct ties to a college or university in Canada, don't assume that they will be recruited to that program. (see below)
- Worry about trying to make the perfect decision.
And the Number one mistake you can make as a parent: Don't let your son or daughter wait to be scouted or recruited for a soccer scholarship. The longer you wait the fewer options you will have and you will relinquish more control to the college coach. If your son or daughter waits until grade 12 and are expecting to be recruited by a program, it may seriously limit your child's options for a scholarship. The fewer options the athlete has the greater the chance your son or daughter will not enjoy their first years experience if any is given at all. Be proactive, be informed and be recruited!
The best thing you can do as a parent is to try to educate yourself as much as possible so you can provide guidance when needed. Even though your son or daughter may not appear to be interested in your opinion right now, if you do your homework, at some point they will want your help. Good luck!
What if My Son or Daughter Plays Club for an Affiliated College or University Program?
Many opportunities are afforded to athletes in these programs such as good coaching and good facilities. But there are other factors that parents need to be aware of that are directly related to recruiting.
Athletes and parents may be led to believe or are under the impression that they will have a much better chance of making a college/university program if they are affiliated with it's club. This may be true in some instances, but coaches really only want to recruit the best athletes. Remember they are likely only recruiting 1 or 2 players each year for their team and they will look at other clubs or provinces to recruit the best athletes as well. Simply put, these programs can not recruit your son's or daughter's entire team! Consequently if your child is involved with such a program, be sure to communicate with the coaches what their chances are of making the college/university team when they do graduate. If you wait too long, or are unsure of where they stand as a prospect, when the time for a decision does come, the athlete's choices and options for a scholarship elsewhere may be much fewer.
In the United States, the NCAA rules govern that colleges and university programs are not permitted to run their own clubs because of the unfair recruiting practices that it has over other programs. These rules primarily were also instituted to protect the best interest of the athletes.
What are the Main Differences Between the way Canadian and American Coaches Recruit?
Soccer coaches are people just like you. However, they are coaches with a job to do, some paid very little and some paid very handsomely. Depending on what conference they coach, budgets, what country they live in or what their coaching philosophy is, will ultimately depend on how they recruit athletes.
In Canada many College and University coaches start the recruiting process in grade 12. Some coaches do little recruiting and let the athlete come to them, while others are very aggressive and travel to scout and communicate with many athletes. American coaches or scouts are somewhat more proactive in their recruiting practices. For example, the main difference in the US is that it is common for programs to start recruiting athletes in grade 9. What this means is that American athletes and parents are far more aware of the recruiting process at a much younger age. If you are just discovering this now it validates what we are attempting to communicate to parents. Essentially, the sooner the parents and athletes take control of the recruiting process, the better chance you have of securing the best academic and athletic scholarship for your son or daughter.
The rules that govern recruiting from Canada to the US are vastly different. Whereby many rules are implemented in the US to provide a fair and balanced recruiting process to protect athletes, sadly fewer such rules apply in Canada . Perhaps this is due to the vast number of programs in the US whereby they have had to implement tighter restrictions. Or it is because some athletes have been unfairly treated. Whatever those differences may be, it is important to remember that the athlete must always come first. Everyone in the CIS, CCAA, NCAA, NAIA or NJCAA administration no doubt wishes to do what is best for your son or daughter as it pertains to recruiting. But leadership is forever evolving.
"Used with permission of Volleyball Prospects Canada"
For more information on Wolves Men's Soccer contact:
Chris Spaidal, Head Coach
Grande Prairie Regional College