In last week’s blog, I wrote about how not all College Recruiting Showcases and Events are created equal and there are so many to choose from. In case you missed it, here’s last week’s blog on the website. I had quite a response and a lot of questions, so I wanted to expand on this topic even further before moving on to the topic.
Clubs and organizations are always looking to make money. Showcases and tournaments have evolved and are all about making a profit too.
Showcases should mandate rosters with contact and academic info and provide them to college coaches in attendance. If you are going to a college showcase event, I think you should expect that the event will have rosters and profiles with contact information available for college coaches so that if a college coach sees a player they like, they know how to contact them. I think showcases should demand full player profiles for every player in the event. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many times you go to an event and there is no player information for college coaches. This is a shame. The amount of money families spend to attend these events in the hopes of getting recruited with no way to contact players is basically stealing. Many of my college coaching friends just got back from a weekend of showcases (as I mentioned in the last blog post) and they were terribly frustrated by showcases not providing appropriate rosters, to a point where they will not return to some of these in the future.
Take it into your own hands. Just in case, I think clubs and parents need to take this into their own hands and always bring rosters with player profiles to events to hand out to college coaches in attendance. Teams should designate a parent to scan the field for college coaches in attendance, where this designee looks for college coaches watching the games and asks them if they need a roster with contacts and provide it. I don’t know how many times when recruiting I saw a player I liked in a game, but I had no way to get their contact information. Instead of chasing down that kid’s information, which might prove difficult, I would likely just move on to a different prospect. I just didn’t have time to chase down contact information. I think most prospects and their parents assume that if they are going to a college showcase, that the player information is updated and going to be distributed to college coaches attending.
I have been to showcases and felt compelled to tell parents and teams that their team does not have any information for college coaches, often resulting in parents to make one. If you are going to a college showcase event with the expectation of college recruitment, you want to make sure it is easy for college coaches that attend to know how to contact any players they might like. Plus, providing valuable information like GPA and test scores and intended majors helps college coaches know who might be a good fit for their college based on academic profile. The right fit isn’t just about being a good player! Be prepared as parents and as a club to help your players get recruited if an event isn’t providing what you expected.
SHOWCASES THAT SELL YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION
There are showcases that use companies to provide the rosters of those participating. Again, showcases need to make money and there are companies that have taken advantage of this. These businesses pay the showcase to be the official roster provider for the event. It is big money! In some cases, they are talking upwards of $20,000 to be the provider of rosters for certain showcases. Clubs and players attending a showcase have to fill out the roster with that company. The company then gets your contact information and in turn, the company wants you to buy something, usually a claim to receive increased exposure in recruiting. It’s a win for the showcase as they make $10,000-$20,000 and hand this part of running their showcase off to a third party. But the catch is this, the third party is usually a recruiting service or a profile service that receives every player’s phone number and email address.
Ever wonder why you get relentless emails from companies like NCSA and others that want you to pay to get verified or upgrade your profile? I have also seen that every kid that signs up for an event gets a “free profile” on a platform like NCSA and they need to have their NCSA profile verified so coaches have access to this profile. Verified means you have to sit through a high pressure sales call. Yes, you can have a minimal free profile with NCSA, but they try to sell you on their recruiting platform, which I will talk about in a later blog entry. The tournament or showcase gets a payment from the company to have access to your name and contact information. THE SHOWCASE IS LITERALLY SELLING YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION!
TAKING RECRUITING INTO YOUR OWN HANDS
I really think a club or parent group taking this into their own hands, having their own profiles and rosters to give to college coaches could save you a lot of money and make sure college coaches get the proper information. Don’t leave it up to the event to do this, they often fail at this. Don’t leave it to your club to organize this as well, unfortunately the clubs fail at this too. I have been to showcases and told teams that their rosters were not available or incomplete and the parents could not believe it or were upset as they expected their club would do this. The rosters from USYS or US Club don’t often have graduation years or player contact information on them. These rosters should have your graduation year, contact info and GPAs, test scores, at minimum. Coaches want to know if a player they like can meet the academic standards of their college or maybe that player wants a specific major that only certain colleges have. Additionally, sending messages to coaches via email and text before events to let them know your schedule, your interest, what number you wear can really help too. When coaches go to events they go watch players they know about. Safeguard your recruitment and your entire team’s at an event by making your own rosters and player profiles. If you’d like more information on how to do this, send me a message.
COLLEGE COACHES WILL ATTEND LIST
Every showcase has a list of college coaches that say they will attend the event or have signed up to attend. I don’t always trust this list. Many college coaches register for every event out there and a showcase can advertise that these registered coaches will be attending the event. A majority that register attend, but there are some that just sign up for every event and don’t attend. They still get access to the profiles and contact information for all the players in attendance. These coaches are registering so they can get more contacts to send info about their personal ID camps and the more kids that attend their camps the more money they make!!! It’s almost impossible to tell who is really in attendance and who is not. When I was coaching, I went to showcases to see kids I knew about. I wasn’t usually just going field to field and trying to find a needle in a haystack. With that being said, if I could get contacts to try to sell my own camps, why wouldn’t I try to make a buck and who knows, maybe I’d find a kid that was a good fit for my program.
Some showcases limit who can record the event, meaning that they don’t allow video cameras, this way you are forced to buy their recordings and highlight packages. Again, the showcase is getting paid by these companies to be the sole provider of video. As a college coach and someone who makes highlight videos for a living, I can promise that these videos are notoriously poor and not worth it. Usually these show every touch a player makes over an event, including both the good and the bad. I saw one the other day where the player went backwards on every touch they made, I’m telling you no college coach wants to see that. I suggest making your own videos or hiring a knowledgeable person to do this and making sure you have seen their work in advance of purchasing a film package.
One thing TSA Recruiting does is make highlight videos that can evolve over time. Having coached college soccer for 25 years, I know what coaches want to see in a video and how to organize the video so that it can help a player gain interest from college coaches. It only has to be 2-3 minutes long and it should have a “wow” factor to it. It should show your strengths and what position(s) you play. For example, if you are a center back, you need to show some heading as well as passing. If your team doesn’t record games, take it into your own hands. If your opponent has a camera, find out who it belongs to and ask the person if you can get the film. The more video footage you have the better off you will be. I know some clubs that don’t record and others that do it sparingly. Having up to date video is important in recruiting, so depending on your situation, don’t be afraid to take this into your own hands.