Part 1 of 6 in the blog series “The Money Grab of College Recruiting” about how college recruiting can be misleading, cause confusion and isn’t always what it seems to be – all in the name of money.
I get asked all the time if I think a showcase is “worth it or not”, in regards to college recruiting. There are so many events out there that your team can play in. Should your team go to a particular showcase in the name of college recruitment, it can cost a lot of money to attend a showcase, travel (gas or even airfare) and stay in hotels. Just like finding the right fit college to attend and play at is different for everyone, so is finding the right showcases to maximize your recruiting and minimize cost.
Everyone is different. If you want to go to school at an Ivy league, you need to be at events where those schools are evaluating or if you want to go to school in California, you should try to get to events in California. If your team is not going to these showcases, you need to try to find a guest play opportunity that might fit work (or attend ID camps there, something we’ll cover in a future blog).
Add in the fact that there are just so many college showcase events out there, deciding if it’s worth it for you to attend is a personal decision. I do think there are great opportunities out there and there is no doubt that coaches want to see you play live. But you need to consider the return on investment (ROI) to decide if a particular event is worth it for you. The ROI could be as simple as you want to attend and have fun and be with your team. There’s nothing wrong with that, but when people are misled that going to “X event” will get them recruited, I often cringe. For instance, in the men’s soccer recruiting world, the three biggest leagues in the United States (MLS Next, ECNL and National League Pro as well as the biggest club, Rush International) are holding national showcase events on the same weekend, December 2-4.
In addition to these four, there are many other smaller ones. College coaches simply cannot attend all of them and most will attend the MLS Next and ECNL. Throw in the fact that many college programs have limited recruiting budgets and cannot attend many events, they are forced to pick and choose the ones where they can get the most “bang for their buck”. I know of youth clubs that signed up to attend some of these smaller showcases in hopes of helping with recruiting and don’t really know that very few college coaches will be attending these showcases.
It is important to think about – is the showcase your team is attending going to give you the exposure you want? How can you/your team get the most out of attending any event. The name “college showcase” has become a marketing tool to get teams to attend an event. The number one priority for events is to make money. College recruiting is secondary and you/ your club might need to take some things into your own hands.
Recruiting can be a lot of fun and worth it and I want to make sure prospects are getting the best ROI on any event out there.
Here is a video I made about the Not All Showcases Being Created Equal and some things you/your club can do to make sure you are attending the right events and some tips for when you attend that could increase your exposure.