How young talent is recruited

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Freshman Liz Geraghty positioning her free kick against Sonoma State. Photo credit: Mary Vogel

For young teenagers in high school, being admired by, sought after and recruited by a college can seem like the beginning stages of stardom. However, this process can also be intimidating and stressful for many.

It is common for star athletes to start forming college connections during their junior year of high school. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association recruiting rules, private conversations and serious recruiting contact cannot occur until after June 15 of the athlete’s sophomore year or Sept. 1 of junior year, depending on the sport and division level.

However, Division I coaches can send athletes non-recruiting material, such as recruiting questionnaires, camp brochures and institutional publications or magazines at any time.

Prior to any contact, the athlete has already been on the organization’s radar through online research, attending games, competitions and communicating with athletes’ coaches.

Athletes will do many things to put their names out there and allow them to get on various teams’ radars. One critical way to do this is by creating an online profile containing an athlete’s highlight video, individual statistics, grades and academic information. A major and current site to scope out potential athlete prospects is Hudl.com.

Additionally, serious athletes will play on a scout ball team which will help them gain exposure from college scouts and agents who come to watch the games.

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Freshman Brooke Ono setting up for a serve at home game. Photo credit: Melissa Herrera

The next level up from a scout team is a showcase team. Showcase teams are most commonly found in the baseball world. This is a team that a player must try out for and is often grouped by region. Not to mention, while everyone still loves to win, the purpose of the team is strictly to showcase the athletes’ skills and talents.

Now, some of the best-of-the-best athletes who are serious about their goals and future will pay a load of money to compete on a team where they will have little opportunity for exposure due to the fact that there are so many players to a team. However, this exposure is to big-name colleges and even professional teams. An example of this is the world’s largest and most comprehensive scouting organization for baseball, known as Perfect Game.

Oftentimes, student athletes will have already committed to their college by the time they reach winter of their senior year. This allows athletes to not worry as much about school and focus mainly on their sport.

While each athlete’s recruitment process varies, it is a process that should not be taken lightly. Putting oneself out there and doing the most to get noticed can be challenging and nerve racking, yet it is also very admirable and shows how hardworking the athlete is.

It takes a special kind of strength, endurance, resilience and mindset to be a college athlete. The world of sports is tough and only the best will make it. Skillful and meticulous recruiting is how college sports continue to succeed and bring fresh, new talent to various teams.

Karina Cope can be reached at [email protected] or @KarinaICope on Twitter.