When can men’s soccer coaches contact recruits? Generally speaking, almost all forms of contact are allowed starting June 15 after an athlete’s sophomore year, including verbal offers, emails, calls, texts and recruiting letters. For some divisions, coaches can reach out earlier. In this section, we break down the NCAA soccer recruiting rules and calendar, as well as the rules and calendar for the NAIA. Everything you need to know about soccer camps.
The NCAA has set up certain rules around when—and how—college coaches can contact potential recruits. One of the goals in creating these rules is to curb early recruiting. However, athletes and coaches have found ways to make contact before the timeline established by the NCAA. In fact, in NCSA’s survey of D1 men’s soccer coaches, 74% reported that they began evaluating talent in the 10th grade. Athletes who are serious about playing for a D1 men’s soccer program need to start the recruiting process early and reach out to coaches sophomore year of high school—or even earlier.
Insider tip: While student-athletes and D1 and D2 college coaches cannot communicate—via email, phone or text—until June 15 after the athlete’s sophomore year, coaches can begin looking at athletes much earlier. Even if coaches can’t contact those recruits, they are going to look at a student-athlete’s video and grades, and potentially reach out to their club and/or high school coaches to make sure the student-athlete is someone they want to recruit. College coaches are not going to wait until June 15 after a prospect’s sophomore year to begin evaluating them. Make sure your profile is up to date with your latest videos and transcripts and update it regularly so coaches can see your progress.
For soccer recruits, NCAA D1 and D2 coaches can’t reach out to athletes until after June 15 of their sophomore year, but this doesn’t mean recruits should wait until this date to contact coaches. Former NCAA and NAIA coaches Lindsey Boldt and Luis Cortell share the importance of being proactive before and during the contact period that begins on June 15.
There is zero off-campus communication allowed between a coach and a recruit before June 15 after an athlete’s sophomore year. Should you go to a soccer college?
However, one way college coaches initiate contact with young athletes is by working through their club or high school coach. The club or high school coach can relay information for the athlete and college coach. With that said, even these conversations have limitations. College coaches can only express interest in a recruiting prospect. D1 college coaches are not allowed to have any kind of recruiting conversation with a club or high school coach before June 15 after an athlete’s sophomore year.
College coaches also use camps and clinics as an opportunity to evaluate prospective recruits. While recruiting conversations are prohibited prior to June 15 after an athlete’s sophomore year college coaches and athletes may communicate at on-campus camps.
The NCAA men’s soccer recruiting rules and 2020–21 NCAA recruiting calendar can help families make sure they’re on track in the recruiting process. The NCAA men’s soccer recruiting rules show student-athletes the types of communication to expect from college coaches based on their year in high school. The NCAA men’s soccer recruiting calendar outlines the specific recruiting periods throughout the year, which regulate how coaches can communicate with athletes during the school year.
It’s important to remember that the coaches—not the recruits—are responsible for complying with the NCAA soccer recruiting rules. In other words, student-athletes don’t need to worry about sitting down and memorizing the exact dates coaches can start contacting them. For more information about the NCAA men’s soccer recruiting rules, check out the NCAA’s Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete.
These rules break down when athletes can receive specific forms of communication from coaches based on their year in high school:
Additionally, coaches can begin initiating communication with athletes during camps and clinics.
The NCAA men’s soccer recruiting rules for Division 2 schools are slightly more relaxed than those for Division 1, with most contact starting in the summer of the athlete’s junior year:
D3 men’s soccer colleges have the most relaxed recruiting rules among NCAA division levels:
The NAIA has fewer recruiting rules than the NCAA. NAIA coaches can contact student-athletes anytime during high school. NAIA recruiting tends to start a little later than NCAA D1 recruiting and closer to the D2 recruiting period, as NAIA coaches wait to see which athletes just missed the cut to compete at a D1 school. They also spend more time making sure that their school is the right fit for athletes socially and academically, as well as athletically.
Throughout the year, there are certain time periods set forth by the NCAA that regulate the way coaches can recruit athletes at that time. Remember: It’s up to the coach to follow these recruiting rules. However, it’s also important for families to know what to expect from coaches throughout the year. For example, student-athletes want to avoid planning their campus visits during a dead period, as the coach will not be able to meet with them during that time.
Dead periods: Coaches may not have any in-person contact with recruits and/or their parents. In other words, coaches are not allowed to talk to recruits at their college campus, the athlete’s school, an athletic camp or even the grocery store. Athletes and coaches are still allowed to communicate via phone, email, social media and other digital communication channels.
Contact period: Outside of the above dead periods, and a quiet period between December 23-25, 2020, communication between athletes and coaches is fair game throughout the rest of the year. Beginning June 15 after the sophomore year coaches can extend verbal offers and initiate contact and respond to emails, texts, calls and direct messages from athletes and their parents through any NCAA-approved method. Before June 15 after an athlete’s sophomore year, coaches can be contacted but they cannot respond outside of camp and clinic information.
Beginning June 15 after a prospect’s sophomore year and except for the dates listed below, treat everything else like a contact period.
Dead periods: Coaches may not have any in-person contact with recruits and/or their parents. In other words, coaches are not allowed to talk to recruits at their college campus, the athlete’s school, an athletic camp or even the grocery store. Athletes and coaches are still allowed to communicate via phone, email, social media and other digital channels.
For D3 schools, there are no dead periods. The contact period is effectively year-round.
Insider tip: Despite the impact that coronavirus had on college sports, as of June 1, 2021, the NCAA resumed its regular recruiting rules and activity! Coaches are actively working to fill their rosters, so student-athletes should be proactive in reaching out to coaches. Read up on how the extra year of eligibility granted to athletes who were most affected by the pandemic in 2020 will impact future recruiting classes.