For those going through the college soccer recruitment process, nothing seems more intimidating than going on an overnight recruiting visit. High school seniors are allowed four official recruiting visits in which the school covers all expenses. Many recruits, however, choose to go on an unofficial overnight visit before their senior year. During an overnight recruiting trip, the player gets to experience a day in the life of a soccer players at that college or university. They stay with one of the players on the team in their dorm, attend team practices or games, go to the dining hall and even sit in on a class.
Overnight visits are a great way to get a feel for what it would be like to go to school there. You can see how you fit in with the other players on the team and experience campus life. However there can often be a big age difference between the recruit and the host player. Some recruits even go on unofficial overnight visits as early as sophomore and junior year in high school. This means that a 16 year old could be spending the night in a college dorm with their 18 or 19 year old host player. For many recruits, this can be intimidating and overwhelming. Will they like me? Will it be awkward? Will I be pressured to go to parties? To have the best overnight visit as possible, it’s best to mentally prepare yourself ahead of time.
Yes, it's going to be awkward. You have to go in with that expectation and get over the awkwardness. You are basically going to be tagging along with someone for a whole weekend. There are ways though to bridge the gap of awkwardness. Talk to your host. This sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many recruits just sit there and don’t say anything, and that’s almost more uncomfortable. Asking questions is a good way to initiate a conversation. And don’t be shy about your questions either. This trip is for YOU. Absorb as much information about the team and the school as you can so that you can make a well-informed decision on whether or not to commit.
When it comes to whether or not they like you, most hosts will typically be indifferent. They get a lot of recruits throughout the year, so the only thing that will leave a lasting impression is whether you were really good, or really bad. Just be yourself.
As for partying, you have to go in with the expectation that your host might bring you out. The weekends are often the only times that the players get to go out. Just because they have a recruit doesn’t mean they are going to stay in and watch a movie with you. Look at this as another opportunity to get a feel for whether or not that school's nightlife is right for you. Players on the team might offer you a beer or something to drink, but as a recruit it’s best to avoid drinking. First, because you are underage, and second because it may get back to the college coach. and could get both you and your host in a lot of trouble.
Overnight recruiting visits are just something you have go through if you are looking to play college soccer. And in turn, once you are at a school you will have to host new incoming recruits. Every host player was once a recruit and so they know the drill. They understand how awkward it can be, so most are very good at trying to make sure that you feel comfortable and are having a good time. It’s okay to be nervous, but don’t let that hold you back from not going. Overnight recruiting trips are the best way to take a test run before deciding on which college to commit to!
For more information on college soccer and the recruiting process, check out CoachUp’s soccer resources.
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