Archive | March, 2013

ID Me! (Part II)

13 Mar

images-1In Part I of this series, I talked about how showcase camps can serve as a vehicle for players to gain exposure to multiple schools in one location.  Now let’s turn our attention to the “on campus” ID camp experience.  To be clear, I’m referring to camps that take place on a specific school’s campus.  While there are sometimes several schools represented at an ID camp, more often than not, it is the host school that is the main attraction.

Personally, the ID camp experience was very instrumental to my path to playing college soccer.  I attended the Duke Soccer Camp in the summer after my junior year, fortunately played very well, and on the final day of camp, Assistant Coach Dave Smyth shared that he had serious interest in me as a player. Duke was my dream school so, as you can imagine, I was on top of the world.  I can honestly say that if I never attended the Duke Soccer Camp, I would never have become a Blue Devil.

But that was a few years ago now 🙂 and the landscape has definitely changed.  Now hundreds of schools across all of the divisions offer ID camps. So what’s up with the recruiting scene today?  What is the most important consideration when thinking about an “on campus” ID camp?

Do Your Research

Make sure that the level of play at the camp’s host school is a reality for you.  You should get some third party feedback to help you zero in on what school’s might be good fit for you athletically.* (PG Method helps players with this very question)

At the Division 1 level, it’s typical for only one or two players per season to be identified through the on campus ID camp experience.  Top student-athletes usually attend the school’s camp at the request of the coaching staff because they have previously been spotted playing for their club, academy, or as a part of the ODP or Youth National team program.  It’s fair to say that it’s very rare, that a “diamond in the rough” is discovered at a D1 ID camp.  At the Division 3/NAIA level however, ID camps have become an essential tool for coaches to evaluate talent. Many of these schools lack the recruiting budgets of the big schools, and as a result they rely more heavily on the on campus ID camp.

Keri Sanchez, Head Coach of the Claremont Mudd & Scripps Women’s team was kind enough to give me some cold hard facts with respect to her ID camp.

“Of the 8 ED (Early Decision) applicants admitted this year, 5 of the 8 had attended at least one CMS camp or clinic.  I do find it valuable for both sides – the player and the school.”  Stats like this are common at the D3 level where 50-70% of the team’s roster may have been spotted through the school’s ID camp.

Similarly, you should determine if the school is a good fit for you academically.  Make sure your grades and test scores meet their admission standards.  Keri Sanchez, highlights the importance of finding both an athletic and an academic fit.

“I think ID camps have become an important recruiting tool for coaches and athletes at all colleges, NCAA Division I, II, and III, as well as NAIA.  It allows players to visit campus, take a tour, be evaluated, and meet student-athletes and coaches.  Being on a campus is the best way for someone to get a feel for what college life would be like.  It makes it easier to narrow down schools.  It is not realistic to think that a player can attend all ID camps offered, so the prospective student-athlete needs to do some research beforehand to find a collection of schools that best match them academically first, than athletically.” 

College coaches will often only recruit kids that have actually set foot on their campus and have demonstrated a sincere interest in their school.  So what better way to gain that attention than by attending a camp on the school’s campus.  Furthermore, it will not only give you a feel for the school and campus, it will give you a chance to interact with the coaching staff and get a feel for what it would be like to play there. Even though we are in an age of connecting electronically, when it comes to college recruiting, it’s still about making a personal face-to-face connection.  ID camps provide this opportunity and can be an amazing tool for both the student-athlete and the coach to get to know each other.

But before signing up for every camp under the sun, make sure that the school is a fit for you both athletically and academically. Be very specific about which camps you attend.   Make sure the level of play makes sense for you, and that you have a serious interest in the school from an academic standpoint.  In short, attend the camps where you have a reasonable shot at being recruited not just as a player, but also as a student-athlete.  If these things line up, then like me, it may end up being the most important factor in your college recruitment.

A very special thanks to Joe Clarke, Head Men’s Coach at Washington University and Keri Sanchez, Head Women’s Coach at CMS for their contributions to this series.  Links to the school’s ID camps are below.

Joe Clarke/Wash U Soccer Camps

Claremont Mudd Scripps Girls Soccer Camps/Clinics