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What College Coaches Want to See in Athletes

  • Character: Character is defined as the way one acts when no one is looking.  For a soccer player, character is observed through a player’s work ethic, how they treat the authority figures on and off the field, through how they treat their teammates. And then, ultimately, you see it through adversity, when things don’t go their way.  College coaches are not looking to bring players with character issues onto their campus and into their program.
  • Academics: College coaches want players who work hard in the classroom and take pride in their academic performance.  A player who is disciplined in their training habits and takes pride in their achievement in the classroom are well-organized and understand perseverance.  Those traits will replicate into their soccer program.
  • Work Ethic: There is no substitute for work ethic on the field. College coaches want to see you give 100% no matter the circumstances or outcome of the game. This is a critical piece of what they are looking for in a player.
  • Technical Excellence: Technical efficiency is defined as- “How much time it takes from when a player controls the ball to the time he/she sets up the pass, shot or dribble.”  It also means using the first touch to dictate where the ball goes, rather than simply reacting to wherever the ball happens to go.  College coaches are looking for players with vision and technical expertise.  Anticipation must be mastered.
  • Tactical Understanding: Players must understand and be able to tactically adjust to different formations and playing styles. Coaches want to add players to their system(s) that have an understanding of how to play without having to teach the basics.  
  • Strength, Power, Speed: A player needs to be technically efficient, and physically sound. Players who are able to think quickly, and use body leverage to win the area around the ball win championships. Core strength is essential to success at the college level.  This includes balance, speed, quick movements and the ability to recover quickly.  Power and speed are expected at the collegiate level for programs that want to win.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability: College Coaches are looking for players who have the assets and tools that fit into their system.  Coaches look for an athlete with a strong athletic as well as technical foundation who can make good decisions. They are not always necessarily looking to recruit a player in a certain position. Using their tools to adapt, manage and adjust to a different style, faster pace or new challenges carries tremendous value to the college coach.