Are You Being Scammed by College Coaches?

So I have blogged previously about some recruiting camp companies and services that I find unethical or scams. But college coaches, the ones we all want attention from in this process actually might be in on the scam too! On a micro-level, college coaches rarely say no, you are not good enough. I have heard of prospects flying across the country to attend the same college camp thinking they are a prospect only to find out they never really were on that college’s list. Often, college coaches know who they are really interested in, but they keep nearly every prospect on their list so they can keep leading them on and get their camp money! The coaches hold the cards that all prospects want and some coaches prey on a prospects desire to play college soccer.


The other day several clients sent me the same screenshot of an email they had received from a coach. I have to admit the emails were so well done, I get why a 15-17 year old would fall for it. I have redacted identifying information from the email in the screenshot below.

I know first hand how the camp scene works. Most college soccer staffs have a staff member in charge of camps and that is how they get paid and the more kids that come to the camp, the more the staff makes as a whole. I know college coaches that make $100,000 a year on ID camps alone. Yes, some top recruits are invited to camps and have to do well, but in reality, most of my top recruits are recruited from coaches seeing their games rather than a recruit attending their camp.

With that being said, I want to break down this email to show you some red flags to look for…

  1. The email comes from [email protected] 
    • I’ll fully admit, I used to do this when I coached. You can send an email to any prospect that has filled out a NCSA form. Coaches do this to get more kids to their camp. If it’s not from their college email address … RED FLAG.
  2. “I am writing to express my excitement and admiration for your outstanding performance this fall”
    • Where did they see you play? How do they know your performance this fall is outstanding? I had a player receive this email that is injured currently. Clearly they haven’t had any outstanding performances this fall!!! That player was still intrigued as this was so well done. If the coach isn’t specific about when and where they saw you play and what they like about your performance, they most likely received your from a database or your email address was added to their master list to their mass email list when you emailed them … RED FLAG
  3. “Watch our game on ESPN+” 
    • This is a very good tactic as this invites you to something for free and a way to see the team play. This is great bait and makes the player feel more than just a camp invite is coming and this might be more than that. In reality, it’s not, but a smart move on their part … RED FLAG
  4. “We’d like to extend an invitation to our camp.”
    • It feels good to be invited versus just signing up for random camps. Trust me the invite is going to hundreds, if not thousand of other prospects. The other line of “hurry up, we have limited spots”. This helps them guarantee that they will make money and they will usually add more or even more dates if the camp becomes overly popular. They aren’t going to pass up a chance to make money … RED FLAG
  5. “We are genuinely excited about the possibility of working with you and having you as part of our team. Your commitment would be a significant milestone for us, and we would be proud to share it on our social media platforms.”
    • So if you post you are going to their camp, they will share it on social media. All this is for them is bonus marketing and they are using your presence and influence on social media to get you excited and to market themselves even further … RED FLAG
  6. The coach shares their cell phone number.
    • Wow. If this doesn’t make it seem real, I don’t know what does. But again, it’s all marketing. Remember when I said some coaches get paid solely on camps?  Why wouldn’t you as a coach answer a text or two from a gullible kid knowing it might result in a $200+ dollar payday … RED FLAG
  7. “Congratulations on your performance…..we believe you have what it takes  to make a significant impact on our team and we are excited about the possibility of working together.”
    • Just a flat out lie. This is a mass email and they want you to believe you are a prospect for them so you attend their camp. I can promise you this school has their 2024 class complete and likely close to being done with 2025s. Don’t fall for it … RED FLAG

I share all of this as I want prospects to spend their time, energy and money wisely. There is very much a return on investment for every camp you could attend. College coaches and programs are competing for your attendance so they can add money to their coaches pockets. 


Be cautious out there. There are a lot of traps that look fantastic and make you feel good about yourself and that you might have a chance. In the end, some even college coaches can’t help themselves to the greed and potential money making opportunity that comes from making kids feel like they are getting recruited by paying for a camp.


Are you spinning your wheels in the college recruiting process? Have you attended camps like this in the hope of being recruited?


I coached college soccer for 25 years. My friends are college soccer coaches. I know how this all works. If you are looking to save time, energy and money and make real connections with college coaches, reach out to me using the button below. I’m happy to set up no pressure consultation to see where things are at with you and to tell you more, no strings attached.