Website Manager

Atlanta Fire United

Recruiting Advice by Dom

 


Coach Dom's Recruiting Blog

Dom is here for all current AFU members - parents and players, please feel free to reach out to Dom with any questions you might have regarding your player and his her options for scholarships:

Director of Recruiting 
Dom Martelli 
[email protected]
[email protected]

4 Week Recruiting Plan

We have put together a detailed 4-week recruiting plan for you to follow. In times like this, when you are unable to connect with coaches on the field, it's super important that you are still pressing forward with recruiting and connecting with coaches off the field. Remember, college coaches have a lot more time to spend in front of their computers at the moment... now is a great time to get in front of them

Week 1: Building Your Top 20 List

Take the first week to create your Top 20 College List based upon the criteria below. Create a pros and cons list as you uncover details about various colleges to build your list. This will be your target list you work off of for the next 4-weeks. Remember: The majority of the colleges on your list should be realistic options both athletically and academically.

  • Financial Aspects: Consider tuition - both in-state and out of state and the % of students receiving financial aid.
  • Academic Aspects: Evaluate the SAT, ACT and GPA requirements. Be realistic when evaluating your grades. Academics & college experience should be put before soccer. What major are you interested in and does the school offer it? Can you academically get into this institution?
  • Social Atmosphere: Super important! If you didn't play soccer, would you still want to be at this college? Offer other interests you have such as greek life, clubs, or activities outside of soccer.
  • Soccer Program: Is it a realistic match? Look at the current team, alumni, style of play, social media handles, coaching staff and current players' youth playing bios to help determine if you can REALISTICALLY play there.
  • Athletic Program: Take the time to research the entire athletic program. Other sports they offer. Facilities and support they provide athletes.
  • Size of School: Public or Private? Large 4-Year? Small 4-Year? Big City or Small Town. Are you a small private, or big football team kind of person?
  • Division: Make sure to consider ALL divisions (Div I, Div II, Div III, NAIA, Junior College) even those that may be outside of your initial thoughts; you will be surprised at the variety of opportunities out there.
  • Geographical Location: Beach or Mountains? Do you like seasons or unchanging weather? Do you prefer a school close to home or are you looking for a brand new experience in a completely different place?
  • Quality of Life: Evaluate the quality of life, scholastic intensity & then soccer.


Week 2: 
Emailing College Coaches

Your week 2 objective is to start connecting with college coaches that are on your Top 20 list. Email. Email. Email. Remember, they are hunkered down too and welcome recruits reaching out to them. This "downtime" is a HUGE opportunity to make an impact. Think about it... right before a big tournament coaches receive hundreds of emails. Today, probably only receiving a few per day. You can make an impact and stand out more by emailing today and they actually have the time to open all their emails now!)

  • Email is personalized: When coaches receive an email from a recruit, they want to know that it is NOT a copy/paste to every coach across the country. There should be something personal to show genuine interest. Keep it brief, yet informative, authentic AND personal. Tell them why you are interested in attending their college and being a part of their team!
  • Player should write the email (not the Parent: Coaches want to hear from you; not from your parents or via a database email system. Also, make sure your email address is professional (your name and grad year is the best if possible) (ex. NO: [email protected] YES: [email protected])
  • Include Your Upcoming Tournaments/Games: When things return to normal and we all get back on the field (yippee can't wait!), you can include when/where you will be playing next and game details.
  • Interested College Major: Many schools have very specialized majors so coaches will narrow their player search to those specific majors.
  • GPA: Noting your GPA is always important... especially if it's stellar! Most highly academic schools aren't able to recruit a player lower than their school GPA standard (Ex: 3.6+). If you DO have a stellar GPA it can be advantageous to the soccer program because perhaps you would qualify for an academic scholarship instead of having to use soccer scholarship money.


Week 3: 
Create a Highlight Video

During week 3, begin by gathering your game highlights over the past 6 months to compile them into a reel. Right now, since you are unable to play in front of college coaches, highlight video/clips have become an important part of the recruiting process. By sending coaches your "highlights" you are still staying in front of coaches. Here are some things to consider when creating your highlight video...

  • Keep it short (3-5 minutes): Highlight videos should be just that, your highlights. Not entire games, just clips showing your special moments. If they are kept within 3-5 min they will likely watch most of your video. If too lengthy, you will bore them and they will move on. The main intention of your highlight video is to pique an interest. It's rare a player is offered a scholarship solely off of a video. However, your video gives the coach an idea if you are someone they want to continue tracking and see play live. Or remind them who you are after they have already seen you play. Give them the good stuff and the sweet spot is somewhere between 3-5 min.
  • Keep it positive: This is a HIGHLIGHT video – show your positives. This is not the time to show that you are human and make mistakes. Leave your bloopers off the reel and wow them with your talent.
  • Intro to your video: A few must haves at the start: Name, Team, League/Level, Jersey #, Grad Year, & Your Email/Your Coach Email. Something to think about including... a quick 5-10 second intro of you speaking can show personality – and put a face to the player on the video. it’s nice to have a personal touch to help you stand out and give the coach a look at you, the person. This is definitely not a must have, but rather nice to add if it sees fitting to you. Also, DO NOT make it lengthy, if you do add a verbal intro- keep it to 5-10 seconds.
  • Make it relevant to your position: It’s helpful to have “sections” in the video that are specific to you/your position. For example: if you are a forward you can have sections for:
  1. Goals
  2. Assists
  3. 3Movement off the ball
  4. Set Pieces
  • Make YOURSELF Visible: Remember, the scout doesn’t know who you are. Add a circle, arrow, light, some indication as to which player they should be watching. Even if you indicate your jersey # at the start, they are not going to scan the field for your jersey # on each clip. Make it very obvious who you are on every clip.
  • Music: If you are going to use music, make sure it is tasteful (and definitely without profanity!).


Week 4: 
Follow-Up

Week 4 will be your chance to circle back with another touch point to your Top 20 College List. Your highlight video may now be complete which is a perfect reason to follow-up. And if it's not quite done yet, even sending them a teaser with a few clips is a great reason to touch base with them again. Whatever your reason, it's important to use this "downtime" to get on their radar and the perfect way to do so, is through consistent communication.

  • ·Club Director of Recruitment Utilization (That’s Me)Domenic Martelli is an extremely important resource, yet I am underutilized in this process. You definitely should rely on Domenic Martelli for guidance in this process - I know you well as a player and a person. You have a unique opportunity to use this "downtime" to really utilize your Atlanta Fire College Recruiting Director. Schedule a 1on1 recruiting call with Domenic Martelli or a Google Meet.

· [email protected]com - 404-556-2312

RECRUITING SEMINARS

College ID Camp 2020 For High School Boys and Girls (U15 and up) 


Location: 
Bunten Road Park - 3180 Bunten Rd, Duluth GA 30096

Date:

Girls Camp
Saturday, April 25

Boys Camp
Sunday, April 26

Who:
Players 9 – 12 Grade
A
ll teams and players

Cost:
$90.00 per player (Ages 14 and Up)

Schedule

8:30 - 9:00am
Registration and Check-In

9:15am
Introduction of College Coaches

9:30am
Field session #1 
(training sessions run by coaches)

10:20am - 10:30am
End session #1 and Team discussion with College Coach

10:30am
Field Session #2 
(training session run by coaches)

11:20am - 11:30
End session #1 and Team discussion with College Coach

12:00pm
Lunch and Recruiting seminar & panel discussion

1:30pm
Field session - coaches coach and evaluate
(scrimmage games)

3:30pm - Wrap up and closing ceremonies

Objective:

This ID camp is open to all aspiring college players regardless of club affiliation. The goal is to educate student athletes on the college recruitment process while providing a unique opportunity to train while being evaluated first-hand in game like situations by actual college coaches. AFU guarantees the attendance of at least 8 current colleges coaches with representatives from NCAA DI, DII, DIII as well as the NAIA.

Camp directors and point of contact:
Director of Recruitment: Domenic Martelli – [email protected]

What to Bring:

Ball (age group appropriate size)

Shin guards with soccer socks that fully cover

Fluids (Water, Gatorade)

Sunscreen

Any required medical needs


Post 4 - CONTACTING COLLEGE COACHES

HOW TO CONTACT COLLEGE COACHES: EMAILING, TEXTING, CALLING AND DIRECT MESSAGING

“How do coaches find recruits?” is a question families ask every day. While coaches have their different methods for scouting out new talent, one good way to ensure a coach knows about you is to contact the coach yourself. Email, texting, phone calls, and even social media messages are all acceptable ways for student-athletes to contact college coaches.

Key steps to contacting college coaches

Start your outreach by gathering all the information you’ll need to include in your communications to college coaches. Your NCSA profile is a great place to keep all your important recruiting information. When communicating with college coaches, don’t forget to include a link to your profile so they can easily view everything they need to see to conduct their initial evaluation of you. Key information includes:

  • Your highlight or skills video
  • Your best athletic stats—verified, third-party stats from a combine or other event are preferred
  • Academic information, such as GPA and ACT/SAT scores if applicable
  • Contact information for you, your parents and your club/high school coach, plus the contact information for any personal trainers that you have
  • Schedule of where and when you’ll be competing throughout the upcoming season

Next, you’ll need to research coach contact information. Check out the school’s athletic staff directory on the institution’s website to find coaches’ phone number and email. To make this process easier, NCSA has a college search feature that provides the contact information for coaches at every school across the U.S. Here are some key pieces of information to look for in your search for coach contact information:

  • Does the program have a recruiting coordinator? Larger programs tend to have a recruiting staff, including recruiting coordinators. All recruiting will funnel through that person, so when you’re looking to send an introductory email, this is the best person to start with.
  • No recruiting coordinator? See if the program has a position coach. A great next person to contact is the coach for your position.
  • No position coach? Check for an assistant coach. When the previous two options fail, look for the contact information for the assistant coach. If you can’t find that, you can start with the head coach; however, the head coach is going to be a little more difficult to get ahold of initially.
  • Find something that stands out to you about that school. Coaches want to see that you are engaged and interested in their program. Including a personalized sentence or two about why you would like to join their program goes a long way.

Once you’ve gathered all the information you need, you’re ready to start reaching out to college coaches.


Calling college coaches: Phone and voicemail scripts to use on your next call 

In an era filled with text messages, emails, tweets and other communications, a well-placed phone call to college coaches can be extremely impactful. In fact, our research has found that the average college coach receives a mere seven phone calls from recruits each week—or fewer! Taking the time to call college coaches is a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd and get attention


Emailing college coaches: Tips and templates to help you reach out

Simply sending an email isn’t enough to get a coach’s attention. You need to create clear, concise emails with attention-grabbing subject lines to give yourself a chance at the coach opening your email, reading it and responding

Post 3 - How to Make a Soccer Recruiting Video

How to Make a Soccer Recruiting Video 

The preferred way for coaches to evaluate recruits is to observe them in person at club tournaments, but that doesn’t mean they will have an opportunity to see every recruit who’s on their radar compete in person. That’s where a well-done recruiting video can play a big role. The video will serve two key purposes: Provide coaches with a way to make their initial evaluation of an athlete, and if the coach cannot see them compete in person, the video might be the only way that coaches will get to see a recruit play. Here’s how it typically works:

In initial communications with college coaches, student-athletes should always include their recruiting video. This video should really focus on in-game action. Coaches want to see how athletes move in the game and what their ability to make plays is.

If the coach liked what they saw in the initial video, they will likely reach out to schedule a time to evaluate the athlete in person.

In this article, we focus on what athletes need to include in the initial highlight video that they’ll be sending around to college coaches. There are specific skills to showcase and different techniques to use to ensure athletes are making the best first impression.

Where to get highlight video footage?

In general, college coaches want to know how athletes respond in a game, so they’d prefer to see game footage over practice footage. Most coaches want to observe how athletes see the pitch—they need to judge their decision-making and skills. Think about it: If a college coach isn’t going to have the opportunity to watch someone play in person, what’s the best way for an athlete to showcase their talent as a men’s soccer player? It’s showing their best game footage

How long should a soccer recruiting video be?

The recruiting video should be 3–6 minutes long and include 20–25 clips of game action for field players. Any longer, and it will run the risk of having the coach lose interest. Position players should create a men’s soccer highlight video with game footage. Goalies should create a men’s soccer skills video that’s supplemented with game footage and highlights.

Defenders

  • Defending: 1v1, small groups, crosses and corners in the air, chasing down players, blocking shots
  • Intercepting, running forward and getting into the attack
  • Showing timing, defensive shape, technical abilities, a clean first touch
  • Keeping possession with your distribution
  • Wings: making runs forward

Midfielders

  •  Both sides of the ball: blocking passing lanes and getting into the attack
  •  Reading the game with off-the-ball movement
  • Working hard defensively

Wingers

  • Beating opponents down the line and turning the corner
  • Crossing the ball, preferably with both feet
  • Playing 18 to 18 with a good engine
  • Making well-timed and creative runs
  • Showing change of pace

Defensive center-midfielders

  • Staying consistent and reliable
  • Winning all balls in the air and distributing them to teammates
  • Clogging up the middle and disrupting opponents’ attacks
  • Clean first touch

Attacking center-midfielders

  • Playmaking ability
  • Showing technical control in tight spaces
  •  Speed of play
  • Clean first touch

Forwards

  • Goals and assists
  • Getting behind the back line
  • Dribbling, combining and timing runs
  • Finishing with multiple surfaces
  • Getting on the end of corner kicks and crosses and put them on frame
  • Reading the play to know when your teammate is about to win the ball and check back into space to be an outlet pass
  • Playing back to goal and playing others in

Goalies

  • Skills footage and match footage; highlight skills that weren’t shown in match footage
  • Shot stopping
  • Extension and collapse diving to both sides, preferably in a variety of situations
  • Collecting, parrying and boxing
  • Breakaways, angle play and sliding saves
  •  Distribution: back passes, punts, drop kicks, throws, rolls
  • Punting: follow the ball when filming to see the distance
  • Goal kicks
  • Showing footwork throughout the video

Editing tips, how to pick the right plays

Once the footage is shot, the next step is to edit it down to the best 3­–6 minutes, which includes 20–25 game clips for field players. Start the video off strong with big highlight plays. Recruits have about 30 seconds to make an impression on the coach, so pick opening plays or skills that will leave an impression. From there, make sure to add in other key skills that college coaches want to see. The goal is to get coaches hooked in the first 30 seconds, so they continue watching the video to see the depth of the skillset. During the video, athletes can distinguish who they are in each play by using a simple arrow, a circle, a spotlight—something clean and simple to alert the coach who they should be watching.

Remember that every touch and play doesn’t have to be perfect. Coaches are also interested in how players adjust to imperfect situations. Recruits should also include their contact information (name, email and phone number) and their coach’s contact information (name, email and phone number) at the beginning and end of their recruiting video.

 

POST 2 - Academic Eligibility Requirements by Division

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NCAA Division I

The following requirements are for all athletes who want to play NCAA DI sports and receive an athletic scholarship. 99% of athletes who meet the DI requirements will also be eligible at other division levels.It's important to remember that just because you meet the academicrequirementsof the NCAA, you are not guaranteed to gain admission into the school of your choice. Here are the current NCAA DI requirements for athlete graduating in the class of 2019 or later.

  1. You must graduate from high school
  2.  You must complete 16 core courses and receive a minimum GPA of 2.3 in those courses. The core course requirements are as follows 4 years of English, 3 years of Math (Algebra 1 or higher), 2 years of Natural or Physical Science, 2 years of Social Science, 1 additional year of English, Math or Natural/Physical Science, 2 years of Social Science and 4 additional years of English, Math or Natural/Physical Science, Social Science, Foreign Language, Comparative Religion or Philosophy
  3. You must complete 10 core course, including 7 in English, Math or Natural/Physical Science, before your seventh semester. Once you begin your seventh semester, you may not repeat or replace any of those 10 courses to improve your core-course GPA
  4. Earn anSAT combined score or ACT sum scorematching your core-course GPA on the Division I sliding scale, which balances your test score and core-course GPA. If you have a low test score, you need a higher core-course GPA to be eligible. If you have a low core-course GPA, you need a higher test score to be eligible

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NCAA Division II

The requirements to play NCAA DII sports and receive a scholarship are lower than the DI level. All eligible DI athletes are eligible at the DII level. If you don’t meet the DI requirements but meet the requirements below, you can compete at the NCAA DII level.

  1. You must graduate from high school
  2. You must complete 16 core courses and receive a minimum GPA of 2.2
  3. The core course requirements are as follows 3 years of English, 2 years of Math (Algebra 1 or higher), 2 years of Natural or Physical Science, 2 years of Social Science, 3 additional years of English, Math or Natural or Physical Science and 4 additional years of English, Math, Natural or Physical Science, Social Science, Foreign Language, Comparative Religion or Philosophy
  4. You must take the SAT or ACT
  5.  Earn an SAT Combined score or ACT sum score matching your core-course GPA on the Division II sliding scale, which balances your test score and core-course GPA. If you have a low test score, you need a higher core-course GPA to be eligible. If you have a low core-course GPA, you need a higher test score to be eligible

NCAA Division III

If you are going to compete at the NCAA DIII level you do not need to register with the NCAA. The NCAA has no academic requirements for DIII athletes. Each university sets their own academic standards for student athletes and financial aid. It is best to contact the coaches at the DIII universities you are interested and get the standards from them.


Post 1 - What is a scholarship

What is a Scholarship?

Receiving an athletic scholarship is not as common as families think. Offers are often confused with an actual scholarship, and they are two different things. Before you have accepted an athletic scholarship, it is important to know how often it will be renewed because not all athletic scholarships are renewed annually. Here is why an athletic scholarship may or may not be guaranteed for four years.

It’s no secret that the college recruiting process can get complicated, especially when it comes to athletic scholarships. There are a lot of things to consider when pursuing an athletic scholarship, including important deadlines, new recruiting rules, as well as knowing which divisions offer athletic scholarships in the first place. But are athletic scholarships even guaranteed for four years? Read on to find the answer to this and other important scholarship questions.

A SCHOLARSHIP OFFER IS NOT A GUARANTEE

It’s important to note that when a coach extends a verbal scholarship offer, it’s non-binding. This means that the scholarship will be granted if certain requirements are met, and one of them is signing the National Letter of Intent. However, keep in mind that even though they are not binding, verbal offers and commitments should still be taken very seriously for the majority of athletics programs. 

SO, WHAT IS AN ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIP?

An athletic scholarship is the amount of financial aid given to a student-athlete from a collegiate athletic department to help offset the cost of tuition. It is awarded based on the student’s athletic abilities, athletic department budget, type of sport and division level. The team’s coach is tasked with deciding who to award scholarships to, as well as how much money each student-athlete receives. 

ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS CAN BE GUARANTEED FOR FOUR YEARS, BUT IT’S NOT THE NORM

The NCAA has allowed colleges to provide multiyear scholarships since 2012. Additionally, in 2015, NCAA D1 colleges from the Power Five conferences (colleges in the Football Bowl Subdivision, plus Notre Dame) agreed to implement a rule that prevented multi-year D1 scholarships from being canceled or not renewed for any athletic reason.

So, yes, there are athletic scholarships that are guaranteed for four years, but they are not the norm outside of powerhouse football programs. While the practice of extending multi-year, athletic scholarships has been growing, it is largely dependent on whether specific programs and coaches are open to offering them.

Most athletic scholarships are only guaranteed for one year, but they are generally renewed annually. There some exceptions to this such as having academic or conduct issues. So, be sure to discuss scholarship offers in detail with each coach in order to get a good idea of what your situation will be.

SCHOLARSHIPS CAN BE TAKEN AWAY

It’s possible for student-athletes to lose their athletic scholarships, which can happen for a variety of reasons. The most common scenario is when a student-athlete thinks they have a scholarship, but all they have is an offer. This is one of the pitfalls of not understanding the difference between a verbal offer and an actual scholarship.

While college coaches are usually the ones who extend verbal offers, the National Letter of Intent is actually the binding agreement between the college and the student-athlete. That means if you sign an NLI and the coach who offered you the scholarships leaves the program — which can and does happen — your contract with the school remains. 

However, next year that same offer may not be on the table if there is a new coach and you were awarded a one-year scholarship. So, in the case of a coaching change, know that you may not get a scholarship in the second year.

Getting injured or redshirted are common reasons why your athletic scholarship may not be renewed. In addition, if you have disciplinary issues with the school, if you end up on academic probation or if you’re not performing as well as expected, the coach could take away your scholarship and extend it to another athlete. 

WHILE RECEIVING AN ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIP OFFER IS A GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT, IT ISN’T THE END OF THE ROAD.
The offer is not finalized until the NLI is signed so it’s important to know where you stand with a coach at all times.

Contact

Atlanta Fire United Soccer Association
P.O. Box 296 
Duluth, Georgia 30096

Phone: 678-664-4238
Email: [email protected]

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