What We’ve Learned About College Recruiting During COVID

As we all know by now, the world took a turn over the past year. There are several new norms, and we’ve all had to quickly adapt. As many high school juniors and seniors prepared for a summer filled with tournaments and showcases, COVID-19 made it impossible for these events to take place. Without these standard parts of the college recruiting process, many Socceristas were left wondering: what does COVID recruiting look like? And, how do I impress recruiters?

The college recruiting process begins as early as eighth grade and for aspiring college athletes, their junior and senior years of high school are crucial. The recruitment process is stressful enough, but COVID-19 made it all the more strenuous, leaving young players with nothing but uncertainty. However, this unfortunate wrench in the college recruitment process begs the question: are showcases the only way to be recruited?

Online Recruitment Opens Up New Opportunities

The NCAA made several changes to regulations and its calendar during the pandemic, changing the way college coaches engage with recruits and their families. Due to these changes, the NCAA Division I Council suspended in-person recruiting through January 1, 2021. As a result of the lack of showcases and in-person events, there has been an increase in the use of online recruitment.

Potential prospects can use different recruiting platforms to upload highlight tapes and connect with coaches via email and virtual meetings. Virtual campus tours and virtual meetings with coaches and current players give prospects the full COVID recruiting experience from the safety of their homes. Although in-person experiences are important, there are still ways to get the information you need to help you during the recruiting process. Coaches understand the hardships everyone is going through and they too have adjusted their process and increased communication with prospects to ensure they prioritize their future recruiting class.  

Are Showcases Necessary Going Forward?

Obviously, college showcases and I.D. clinics are very important parts of the recruitment process, but they are not 100% necessary. Although the recruitment process changed quickly, athletes and coaches have found ways to make it work. This opens the door for a permanent change to the recruitment process; why spend thousands of dollars traveling to different colleges if you can get the full experience from home? Without the cost of travel, college athletic programs can save money on recruitment trips, have access to game film, and contact information for prospects from the comfort of their office. Prospects also continue to get a full recruiting experience, just virtually.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that showcases and spending thousands of dollars on travel and hotels are not completely necessary parts of the recruitment process. Virtual recruitment is the new norm and something future student-athletes will have to adapt to.

Featured Image via Adobe Stock @Brian


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