USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the college recruiting process. Here, you’ll find practical tips and real-world advice on becoming a better recruit to maximize your opportunities and play at the college level. Jason Smith is a former NCAA DIII athlete and college coach at all three division levels. Jason is just one of many former college and professional athletes, college coaches and parents who are part of the Next College Student Athlete team. Their knowledge, experience and dedication, along with NCSA’s history of digital innovation and long-standing relationship with the college coaching community, have made NCSA the largest and most successful athletic recruiting network in the country.
Looking to play soccer at the college level? College soccer camps help you perform at your peak and get you the exposure you need to get discovered by college coaches. After all, college coaches do not have time to travel to every corner of the country to check out potential recruits, so camps are where coaches do a significant portion of their recruiting.
With summer underway, you likely have your camp schedule set. But if you don’t, it’s not time to freak out just yet. Fortunately, we’ve updated our list of 2019 college soccer camps to include those that are still available this summer. Just make sure to act now, as camps fill up and many are coming up soon. NCSA’s complete list of men’s college soccer camps you can attend this summer NCSA’s complete list of women’s college soccer camps you can attend this summer
Before you register
A great college soccer camp experience is largely a result of good preparation. First, do your research on the school and program before you register for camp. Attending a camp is a great opportunity to improve your skills and get recruiting exposure, but the decision should be based on your family’s budget and your level of experience.
If you have received a camp invite to a college on your list and your family can afford it, you should strongly consider attending. Even if you’re not a serious recruit for that program, you can get valuable camp experience. If you’re working with a tight budget, focus on your target schools or look at who else will be in attendance at the camp. If coaches from other colleges will be present, especially ones from schools you are considering, it might be worth stretching your budget to attend. It’s valuable to get seen by multiple college coaches at one camp.
However, if you can’t afford a camp, make sure to still respond to your invite. This can make a good impression on coaches, especially if you have a highlight or skills video that you can include in your response. After all, coaches may end up scouting you at a different camp or tournament in the future, so leaving a good impression can pay dividends.
What are the different types of college soccer camps?
ID camp: an elite camp that’s usually invitation-only and restricted to club members. An ID camp brings in top recruits and has them stay overnight for three to four days, providing athletes with skills development, competition and evaluation.
ID clinic: a shortened version of an ID camp, usually lasting one or two days.
College camp: the camp may have many talented players attending, but it can’t be invite-only. If it’s hosted on an NCAA college campus, it must allow anyone to attend regardless of ability level.
Showcase: a tournament usually organized for club teams. There can be a wide variation in skill levels across clubs, but this is where college coaches do most of their recruiting.
Goalkeeper camp: a position-specific camp for developing skills.
Youth camp: typically focused on beginner players looking to develop fundamental skills.
Make sure to follow up after camp
Once you’ve left camp, your effort isn’t actually over. Maintaining communication with college coaches is extremely important, so after camp, you’ll want to follow up with coaches and thank them for the opportunity. You can also ask them about which skills you need to improve. Afterward, whenever you have noteworthy updates to share, such as new video or verified stats, email them about your progress. Building relationships with college coaches is essential to staying on their radar and receiving an offer.