Q: How important is it in the recruiting process to play on a winning club team?
Club participation can be very important in certain sports like soccer, volleyball, softball, etc. These teams typically provide stiffer competition and attend exposure oriented events. “Playing up” can be a huge advantage for some athletes. This basically means a 16 year old athlete playing for an 18 and under team rather than a 16 and under team would be viewed positively by the college coaching community.
Obviously the winning programs are playing more games in the tournaments and events as they stay in the winner’s bracket longer, which provides them more opportunities to be evaluated by college coaches.
However, let me be clear, it is vital that EVERY recruit does work in the recruiting process in addition to joining a club team. Club participation can be time consuming and wasteful if you simply show up to dozens of tournaments and hope to get noticed.
As NCSA Soccer Recruiting Expert, Tim Twellman says, “College coaches of top programs usually will only travel an extended distance for a top player they are after…and usually only once, unless this is the very best of the best. For the average player, coaches do not travel much outside of their own recruiting area. If there is a player that shows interest that is far away they will use their contacts in that region to assist them with the evaluation of that player. As with most sports, the families think just by sending their athletes to showcases they will get noticed and that is just not true. If a college soccer program is lucky, they might have a staff of three coaches. They can not do much with three coaches and a limited budget for travel. And that is at a top program, just imagine what it’s like for a coach at a DII, DIII, and NAIA program.”
Long story short…YOU HAVE WORK TO DO!