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RichlandsAlum

Getting some personal insight into college recruiting

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My oldest son (a high school sophomore) is starting to get some attention from college soccer recruiters.  I think it's mainly because he looks good on paper -- he's  6'3", he's relatively fast, and he makes really good grades (takes after his mother, thank God).  But communications have picked up quite a bit since his travel team played in a tournament last month that was billed as being a magnet for scouts.  The Division II and III levels are a definite option, but he's also attracted attention from some lower tier Division I schools.

Sorry to brag about my kid, but I'm posting this with the thought that I can share some of what we experience in this process (which is new to me) and I'd also be interested in the opinions and guidance of folks who have been through it themselves.

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We're still pretty early in the process (obviously, since he's a sophomore). 

Digested version thus far is like this:

1. Signed up with online recruiting service (offered free through his travel soccer team membership).  Started getting pings from random small schools all across the country.

2.  Talked with varsity soccer coach for honest assessment of the boy's future in college.  Coach says he's definitely got an opportunity to play Division II/III.  Division I is a long shot for anyone, but my son will at least get some looks because of his size and speed (which confirmed one of my previous assumptions about the process).  Also said that he would make a point to promote my son to colleges.

3.  Had honest conversation with the boy about his level of interest.  Gave him hypothetical option to consider....  If he had to choose, would he go to Virginia Tech with the knowledge that there is little to no chance that he could play soccer there?  Or would he go to on ODAC school primarily because he would have a chance to play?  He said that he'd probably choose Tech -- but he at least wants to explore the options available to him.

4.  After playing in the tournament last month, he's received some communication from scouts who referenced our team's specific results and who noted particular plays that my son made (it's obvious that they actually had eyes on him).  Three of these are from Division I schools (albeit ones in lower tier conferences).  In the mean time, the random pings are becoming more focused and a few ODAC schools in particular are really stepping up the email/mailings.  We've also gotten a couple of cold calls from coaches.

Right now we are at the point where we are evaluating which ID camp invitations to consider for the summer.  The current mix contains the 3 or 4 Division III schools that are basically within our area and a couple of Division II schools in North Carolina.  My son is also thinking about signing up for Tech's open soccer camp just to see if it leads anywhere.  While playing soccer for any ACC school obviously looks like the longest of the long shots, that's the soccer option that is most attractive and which he wants to at least explore.  But on that last note, he's also understandably intrigued by the interest of the Division I schools that have actually reached out to him.

My prediction right now is that he will enjoy playing soccer through high school, but will ultimately give up playing to go to Virginia Tech and major in physics.  But he's already a certified game official and he's helping to coach some of the youngest players in our club and our local Rec association, so I've told him that he can continue to have a future with the sport in either of those roles if he wants one.  (Although, to be somewhat ironic, his coaching and officiating experience also stand out on his recruiting profile and probably enhance his attractiveness on paper.)

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Still getting very random pings from small colleges, but now starting to hear from larger ones as well.  Just received an invite to  an ID camp from an American Athletic Conference school today.  Also received interest from a college in England through the recruiting service (which seems an unlikely outcome, but is the kind of rare thing that you just have to check out).  Boy is playing in his first "showcase" event next month -- which includes a few coaches who have already been in touch with him.   Will be interesting to see what (if any) kind of effort they make to actually contact him as part of that venue.  And we aren't tipping them off about his participation -- we want to see if they find him. I'm still thinking that most of the attention he is receiving is simply because he matches a recruiting profile (big, quick, and has good grades).  My theory is that if he doesn't get some personal attention from the coaches who have contacted him in connection with the event itself, then that's an early litmus test of how realistic his chances are of playing at the next level.

We will also probably get to test the real value of travel ball as it relates to the college recruiting process.  Things are a bit up in the air with the club and team for which he has been playing the last four years.  He was already planning to try out for another club's elite level team just to see where that might lead.  We think his chances of being invited to join are a long shot -- it's an extremely exclusive team that participates in an extremely high level league -- and there would obviously be some serious travel and expenses associated with it, so from a practical sense we're completely fine with the notion that it won't happen.  


If that doesn't pan out, his best option is probably to "play up" for the older team at his existing club next fall.  But there is also a very strong possibility that he could play for a team that competes almost exclusively in tournaments.  In our area, most of the better teams are involved in league play (Blue Ridge Soccer League or Skyline Club Soccer League).  So one thought is that playing for a "vagabond" club might actually put him at something of a disadvantage in terms of the travel ball part of the recruiting equation.

While it's exciting for him and kind of fun for us, I'm approaching this realistically  And I'm still sticking with my prediction that he hangs up his competitive cleats and winds up at Tech.  I may be off about his major.  Some days he likes chemistry better than physics.

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The roster of coaches attending the showcase next month is in a constant state of flux.  While previous listings indicated otherwise, as of today it says that the three specific coaches we were monitoring will not be present.  Still subject to change between now and January 6th.  Mainly hoping that at least one of them will show up so we can test the usefulness and value of  the communications up to this point.  My theory is that if they show up and make some direct contact with my son, then that lends some gravitas to their statements of "We're really interested and want you to join our program."  On the other hand, if they show up and we don't get that kind of response, we'll know that it's all just form letters and junk mail (at least for those specific programs).

Will provide a report back after the showcase with thoughts about that experience.  (And the nature of that report will vary widely depending on which coaches show up.)

In the meantime he's playing indoor soccer this winter.  My personal estimation is that he's not exactly setting the world on fire or really distinguishing himself in comparison to any other players in that program.  But maybe that in itself provides some commentary with regard to the value of performance versus profile.  

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New development.  Kid just received his PSAT scores.  94th percentile.  Soccer just dropped several notches as a factor in his plans for college.

Now will be interesting to see how much this factor affects the recruiting angle.  I'm assuming that it can only be positive.

Once again I thank God for his mother's (apparently) dominant genes.

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I just took the time to read your thread, @RichlandsAlum

It's so refreshing to have a parent who has a realistic view of their kid's athletic potential at the college level.  

Kudos to you for helping him make HIS decision.

The future is bright for your son.  Nice job, Dad!

 

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On 12/16/2017 at 2:18 PM, Liam McPoyle said:

I just took the time to read your thread, @RichlandsAlum

It's so refreshing to have a parent who has a realistic view of their kid's athletic potential at the college level.  

Kudos to you for helping him make HIS decision.

The future is bright for your son.  Nice job, Dad!

 

Thanks for the kind words.  The brutal truth is that I have very little idea about what I'm doing as a dad.  But I pray a lot, I have good kids, and my own parents and in-laws (who were/are absolutely brilliant) are available to help us out when we need advice or actual physical assistance.

The other thing that I have alluded to but haven't really mentioned outright is that his interest in playing college soccer waxes and wanes.  When he first started hearing from colleges, he was understandably excited.  When I explained to him that it was primarily because of his size and speed, he was actually offended.  I then had to explain to him that those factors at least opened doors for him in a way that most players (including those who may actually be a lot more talented) will never experience.  It's all a lot to digest for a 15 year old.  

We do have a level of comfort based on other factors that we can always draw from in this process.  We will have the ability to send him to just about any college he'd like to attend -- will require some sacrifice in certain cases, but we can probably handle it -- and he apparently will be able to choose from some attractive options.  And from a spiritual perspective, Jesus is his savior -- so we know that the longest term issues are already well in hand.  Ultimately we do give God the glory and credit -- and I must confess my shortcoming for not acknowledging that foremost in this thread from the very beginning.

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On ‎12‎/‎18‎/‎2017 at 2:36 PM, RichlandsAlum said:

Thanks for the kind words.  The brutal truth is that I have very little idea about what I'm doing as a dad.  But I pray a lot,

  And from a spiritual perspective, Jesus is his savior -- so we know that the longest term issues are already well in hand.  Ultimately we do give God the glory and credit -- and I must confess my shortcoming for not acknowledging that foremost in this thread from the very beginning.

RA knowing you and the family are giving him an upbringing to succeed in life and make good choices, you know what you are doing as a Dad.  I am so blessed to see you acknowledge the ultimate choice he has made with his life, a commitment to Christ.  Matthew 6:33 is a wonderful foundation for any life to follow, live and grow by. 

 

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Latest installment in our experience... a report from the "college showcase" event which was held this past weekend.

Starting with my son's performance (based on my opinion, but trying to be objective).  He didn't stand out or really do anything to distinguish himself, but he also didn't make any mistakes.  Played pretty solidly and consistently.  Made some good plays -- but nothing at "wow factor" level.  He was the only sophomore playing a field position for his team.  Another kid in his class plays goal keeper -- and he is also a solid prospect based primarily on his build and his speed -- so he also participated in the event for our team.  I noticed one of his club teammates on another team during the weekend.  But this was otherwise geared exclusively toward upperclassmen (and particularly seniors).  So although he didn't attract any personal contact from any college coaches who might have been there (and more about that in just a moment), it was a good experience for him and it did confirm that he can hang with the older guys and at a higher level of competition.  

I'm not really sure how valuable this event was relative to the manner in which it was billed and promoted.  The weather was brutal (high in the low 20s both days with considerable wind chill).  Based on the forecast, a lot of registered teams bailed out and I can only assume that some of the coaches and scouts who had planned to attend may have changed their plans as well.  And even that last point was compromised a bit, as the final list of programs scheduled to be there were all Division III schools with the exception of Liberty University and a community college in North Carolina.  LU's presence was a bit of a one-off -- if they had staff there, it was probably only because the event itself was in Lynchburg.  Overall, I don't think the event did much to advance the interests of kids who are serious about playing college soccer (and this event provided effectively no access to play for scholarship programs).  But since I don't have anything else to compare it to, I don't want to judge it too harshly.  And I'm positive that the weather turned some colleges away that might have turned up otherwise (and who may have been there previously).

Team-wise, I thought it was really beneficial for our high school program.  Our high school team approached it as a tournament against serious and dedicated players, and they performed really well.  We lost a match against a very talented travel team from Northern Virginia and came away with two wins in our other matches (against a local travel team and a pretty good prep school team).  The guys played really well together and seem to have some good chemistry heading into the spring VHSL season.  Coach remarked that we may take our licks this year during the regular season (the level of competition for soccer in the Seminole District is very similar to that in football), but we could be poised to do very well in the postseason at the 3A level.  And the future is looking very bright overall.

Back to our personal-level perception and experience, it was a confidence booster for my son.  The fact that he stepped in and played well without any obvious jitters or breakdowns as a sophomore leads our varsity coach to think that he'll only get better in this type of setting.  And in terms of the nitty-gritty of the process, schools basically indicate interest by inviting players to their individual program camps.  Boy already has invitations in hand from programs beyond the level of those who were present this past weekend -- but we confirmed for certain that it's because of his physical and academic profile.  Coach says there's nothing wrong with that -- in fact, it's rare for a kid at my son's age and level to get that kind of attention.  So it's a gift -- up to him to decide how he wants to use it.

I'm also noticing the dynamics of a couple of other kids in our program.  Without saying too much (because I don't think it would be appropriate), I believe that they're both more talented and athletic than my son.  But I don't think they are getting the same level of attention simply because of the size and academic angles involved.  So I'm gravitating toward an opinion that how hard you work and how talented you are may not be as important as how you're physically constructed when it comes to athletic recruiting.  And although my own family stands to benefit from this personally, it bothers me more than a little bit.

Only slight shift in my son's plans is that he'd entertain a scholarship offer to play soccer in college if it comes from a school that interests him academically.  But he's still planning to make his college choice based almost exclusively on academics.  (Which is somewhat ironic given my observation from the previous paragraph.)

Probably won't be much more to report until VHSL soccer season rolls around.  But I think this past weekend probably gave us a glimpse of what to expect on the pitch this spring.

 

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15 minutes ago, RichlandsAlum said:

I swiped this link from another message board:  https://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/2017RES_RecruitMaps-Final-20170613.pdf

Doesn't really play directly into my personal situation (beyond the fact that Virginia is one of the more active states for producing Division I talent in soccer), but I thought it was kind of interesting.  

Kind of a skewed statistic but very interesting.  California had more kids participate in high school baseball than Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina combined, yet all three states have a higher percentage than California being actively recruited. 

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1 hour ago, sixcat said:

Kind of a skewed statistic but very interesting.  California had more kids participate in high school baseball than Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina combined, yet all three states have a higher percentage than California being actively recruited. 

Interesting anecdote:

 

A groomsman in my wedding was a 3-year varsity starter at a 3-time sectional runner-up SoCal high school.  He hit just south of .400, was an exceptional fielder, and was a serviceable relief pitcher...and he never drew a whiff of collegiate interest.  Whereas, his younger brother, with virtually identical statistics, but slightly higher velocity on his pitches, went to Yale, and started in the outfield for 3 seasons.  He ended up being drafted in the 44th round of the MLB draft and turned it down because he had a much more lucrative offer waiting elsewhere.

 

I wonder if the sheer number of prospects in CA lends itself to overlooking players there who would be comparable as D1 talent here?

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1 hour ago, sixcat said:

Kind of a skewed statistic but very interesting.  California had more kids participate in high school baseball than Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina combined, yet all three states have a higher percentage than California being actively recruited. 

Just stumbled upon it this morning, so I haven't really given much thought to the methodology behind it.  I'd be curious to know how they define "actively recruited."  I'm assuming that it relates to the states of origin for actual Division I athletes which is then processed against the total number of high school participants in each state -- but that's not obvious.

As things stand now, my son has legitimate invitations from over two dozen Division I soccer programs (and that list is growing).  Frankly, I'm not smart (or experienced) enough to know if that means he is being "actively recruited."

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Latest update in our experience.... 

Boy made the varsity team (kind of a big deal -- only one other sophomore was invited to join the roster as a field player).  Coach actually gave him a choice of playing another year of JV (getting as much playing time as he could possibly want and serving as team captain) or accepting a spot on the varsity team (with the assumption that he probably would not see a lot of game time this season).  Son chose the varsity option mainly because he thinks he can benefit from the more intense training requirements compared to JV.

While I still don't harbor any illusions of stardom -- and I'm personally skeptical about his status as a recruiting prospect -- we do realize that several doors of opportunity still remain open to him.  If he manages to break into the lineup this year, I guess we will have to get extremely serious about this whole business.  And I was in the process of typing that I don't think we're near that point when yet another "personal invitation" to attend a low level Division I "elite level" camp found its way into my email Inbox.

With regard to the camp invitation angle....   He has some pretty extensive plans for this summer (a church mission trip and a trip abroad through school) which will basically prevent him from following up on any of the camp invitations.  So our game plan is to contact the programs that might interest him and advise them that although he's not available this summer (for spiritual and academic reasons), he'd still like to be considered.  If they continue to communicate with us past that point then he'll whittle it down to a few camps that he might actually attend during the summer of 2019.

If it seems like we're adding obstacles of our own to the process --  admittedly we are.  Some of that is an effort to manage expectations (and minimize potential disappointment down the road).  Some of it is testing the guidance and role of the Lord in this whole process (the "if it's meant to be" angle).  And some of it is due to the fact that he's like most 15 year old kids in that he doesn't really know what he wants to do next week, let alone the next 4-6 years of his life.  And ultimately it is his decision.

If all of this is extremely tedious or not very informative, I apologize.  Also don't want to come across as bragging about my kid (although I am certainly proud of him and his two younger brothers).  But I'm getting a firsthand look at a process that is allowing me to test some of my own theories about athletic recruiting.  I still think that recruiters are more influenced by things like physical size than they are by actual "on the field" performance.

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MY SON’S STATUS AS A SOCCER RECRUIT

Son’s team is about a third of the way through the season.  He has played in every match so far, averaging about 20 minutes in each.  We really enjoy watching him play, and his confidence and performance seem to be improving.  But I honestly still don’t have any clue about his stock as a recruiting prospect. 

 

Team-wise, LHS is 3-3 right now (3-0 against 3A teams and 0-3 against 4A teams).  The three losses occurred in a streak that was broken in the last match, so the boys were all getting a little frustrated. 

 

As of last week my son was saying that he probably won’t play past high school because he wants to focus on his studies when he goes to college.  But that was before he scored his first goal of the season in Friday’s win.  And he’s a teenager.  And he has plenty of time and opportunities to change his mind.  Meanwhile invitations to ID camps keep coming in from college programs at all levels on a regular basis.

 

MY SON’S STATUS AS AN ACADEMIC TARGET

As a bit of an aside, he’s also getting attention from a lot of colleges from the academic perspective based on his PSAT scores.  Some of them are really selective.  What I find interesting is the marketing process there.  Vanderbilt in particular is sending us a lot of mail.  The last letter they sent made us chuckle and groan at the same time – it was along the lines of “don’t disregard us just because we’re expensive – a lot of students receive over $40,000 of direct assistance toward tuition.”  (Current cost to attend Vanderbilt is over $67,000.  A year.)  The fact that he says he has no interest in going there has us somewhat relieved -- at least until he changes his mind, of course.  But it raises another set of questions in my mind about the way colleges recruit and plan for incoming classes.

 

Whenever we talk about his plans, he still says that Virginia Tech is his first choice.  His intended major is starting to shift and wander in several directions.  But Blacksburg is the only absolute constant in any of his college plans to date.  Which is fine for a number of reasons – and I’m still willing to bet money that this is where he will end up. 

 

But here’s something that I find interesting.  He hasn’t heard a peep from Tech.  He’s getting all kinds of junk mail from other colleges that frankly outrank Tech in several objective measures of performance (including a couple of Ivy League schools).  He’s also getting a lot of love from the less selective schools (which candidly he isn’t likely to consider under any circumstances).  But nothing at all from Blacksburg or some of the other public schools in Virginia that would seem to be a very easy fit.  

 

I guess my point is that I don’t understand why a school like Vanderbilt would go to any trouble at all to recruit him when his admission there is subject to chance – whereas a school like Virginia Tech apparently makes no effort at all.  And I also know that none of this is personal, but I’m having a hard time figuring out the metrics on the academic side.  Anyone know what the equivalent of “big, fast, and smart” is in terms of college admissions decisions?

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16 hours ago, RichlandsAlum said:

MY SON’S STATUS AS AN ACADEMIC TARGET

As a bit of an aside, he’s also getting attention from a lot of colleges from the academic perspective based on his PSAT scores.  Some of them are really selective.  What I find interesting is the marketing process there.  Vanderbilt in particular is sending us a lot of mail.  The last letter they sent made us chuckle and groan at the same time – it was along the lines of “don’t disregard us just because we’re expensive – a lot of students receive over $40,000 of direct assistance toward tuition.”  (Current cost to attend Vanderbilt is over $67,000.  A year.)  The fact that he says he has no interest in going there has us somewhat relieved -- at least until he changes his mind, of course.  But it raises another set of questions in my mind about the way colleges recruit and plan for incoming classes.

 

Whenever we talk about his plans, he still says that Virginia Tech is his first choice.  His intended major is starting to shift and wander in several directions.  But Blacksburg is the only absolute constant in any of his college plans to date.  Which is fine for a number of reasons – and I’m still willing to bet money that this is where he will end up. 

 

But here’s something that I find interesting.  He hasn’t heard a peep from Tech.  He’s getting all kinds of junk mail from other colleges that frankly outrank Tech in several objective measures of performance (including a couple of Ivy League schools).  He’s also getting a lot of love from the less selective schools (which candidly he isn’t likely to consider under any circumstances).  But nothing at all from Blacksburg or some of the other public schools in Virginia that would seem to be a very easy fit.  

 

I guess my point is that I don’t understand why a school like Vanderbilt would go to any trouble at all to recruit him when his admission there is subject to chance – whereas a school like Virginia Tech apparently makes no effort at all.  And I also know that none of this is personal, but I’m having a hard time figuring out the metrics on the academic side.  Anyone know what the equivalent of “big, fast, and smart” is in terms of college admissions decisions?

Virginia Tech struggles at times to meet state mandated standards for affirmative action.  Quotas are not a popular topic for discussion and the powers that be have done everything within their power to change the "buzz words" but it does exist.  Some interesting reading you may find helpful.  https://ballotpedia.org/Affirmative_action_in_Virginia

On an interesting note, 2006-2007 VHSL State Baseball Player of the Year, Wes Self from the state championship team at Grayson County is the Head of Infectious Diseases and Critical Illness at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

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2 hours ago, sixcat said:

Virginia Tech struggles at times to meet state mandated standards for affirmative action.  Quotas are not a popular topic for discussion and the powers that be have done everything within their power to change the "buzz words" but it does exist.  Some interesting reading you may find helpful.  https://ballotpedia.org/Affirmative_action_in_Virginia

On an interesting note, 2006-2007 VHSL State Baseball Player of the Year, Wes Self from the state championship team at Grayson County is the Head of Infectious Diseases and Critical Illness at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

This is extremely interesting information.  A lot of fodder for some very serious discussion.  Thanks a bunch, sixcat!

Not sure that I have standing to comment on this potentially volatile issue, but I think Virginia Tech does face a very persistent race issue.  Although there was a noticeable minority presence in the community during my time there (well... at the very least it was certainly more diverse than Richlands) my perception is that it was not statistically representative of either the national or state population.  And I doubt that things have changed much.  I don't wish to make this too political, because my own political views are very complicated.  (For example, I am probably very liberal in terms of my views on race, but I am generally opposed to the concept of affirmative action.)  That said, I would actually be very happy to learn that my alma mater isn't reaching out to students like my son because it is targeting its efforts toward attracting a more diverse student, faculty, and staff population.  My cynical suspicion is that Tech isn't really doing anything at all.

On a much broader level, the apparent direct relationship between a college's selectivity and its consideration of race is very interesting indeed.

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21 minutes ago, RichlandsAlum said:

This is extremely interesting information.  A lot of fodder for some very serious discussion.  Thanks a bunch, sixcat!

Not sure that I have standing to comment on this potentially volatile issue, but I think Virginia Tech does face a very persistent race issue.  Although there was a noticeable minority presence in the community during my time there (well... at the very least it was certainly more diverse than Richlands) my perception is that it was not statistically representative of either the national or state population.  And I doubt that things have changed much.  I don't wish to make this too political, because my own political views are very complicated.  (For example, I am probably very liberal in terms of my views on race, but I am generally opposed to the concept of affirmative action.)  That said, I would actually be very happy to learn that my alma mater isn't reaching out to students like my son because it is targeting its efforts toward attracting a more diverse student, faculty, and staff population.  My cynical suspicion is that Tech isn't really doing anything at all.

On a much broader level, the apparent direct relationship between a college's selectivity and its consideration of race is very interesting indeed.

I didn't dive too deeply into the political aspects for similar reasons.  It would appear, you and I have like-minded ideas of race and affirmative action. 

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Back to our personal experience on the athletic recruiting front, I have an immediate update from yesterday.

Our bubble was effectively popped last night.

I say that because my son did not play a single minute in a match that his team ultimately lost in overtime.  The only obvious explanation is that he was not good enough to contribute to the effort.  There were only two other field players who did not play, and they have already had the experience of sitting for the entire match for most of the season. So my conclusion is that it's unlikely for him to obtain a spot on a college team (which are relatively few in number and coveted by several outstanding players) if he can't secure a spot higher than the bottom of the depth chart for his high school team.  If my son does follow up on any of the camp invitations, I think it's clear that he would find his role in the recruiting process similar to that of the "x number of other applicants" that are reported when an announcement is made about any new hire. 

If this comes across as bitter or harsh toward my son, that is not my intent.  My purpose in this thread all along has been to provide some objective insight into the way the college recruiting process works -- at least for soccer.

Without commenting too much on the children of other people (which I find awkward and distasteful), I am aware of several talented players my son's age who are performing at a very high level locally.  But in at least one of those cases I know that they have not been contacted by any college programs -- despite the fact that this particular player is making headlines as a sophomore starter.  He has a serious interest in playing at the next level, but he's still waiting for them to find him.  I would assume that it's simply because he's a sophomore -- but that doesn't jibe at all with my son's experience and they have the exact same level of access to the process.

Time will still tell.  I think my son's fate is pretty well sorted out -- and reason applies perfectly to his scenario.  But it will be interesting to see what happens with this other kid.

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6 minutes ago, sixcat said:

I didn't dive too deeply into the political aspects for similar reasons.  It would appear, you and I have like-minded ideas of race and affirmative action. 

Another one of my weird foibles is that I really don't like capital punishment, but I tend to embrace the Native American concept of Blood Law.

I feel completely abandoned by the "two party" system.  But I'd probably be willing to vote for you if you ran for something.  :-)

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12 hours ago, sixcat said:

Virginia Tech struggles at times to meet state mandated standards for affirmative action.  Quotas are not a popular topic for discussion and the powers that be have done everything within their power to change the "buzz words" but it does exist.  Some interesting reading you may find helpful.  https://ballotpedia.org/Affirmative_action_in_Virginia

On an interesting note, 2006-2007 VHSL State Baseball Player of the Year, Wes Self from the state championship team at Grayson County is the Head of Infectious Diseases and Critical Illness at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

This I can affirm.  In my graduating class (2007), despite almost twice the enrollment, VT had 18 more African-American students than UVA did.  That’s total, not pro rata.

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Apologies for the fact that this is not soccer related -- and it also has nothing to do with our personal situation -- but I thought the following story from the Roanoke Times was worth sharing.

http://www.roanoke.com/sports/high_schools/early-softball-recruiting-to-end-under-ncaa-rule-changes/article_cde826fc-dcc3-56b3-8086-37d16401b4ab.html

Millie Thompson (who is quoted and referenced in the article) is a classmate of my son.  She's a good kid who comes from a great family.  But the process they are going through is pretty surreal.  Three thoughts of my own from the article:  1.  I don't like the use of the word "de-commit."  It's very reasonable for young kids to change their minds, but the truth is that there is never really any commitment until somebody signs a document;  2.  With notable exceptions, I can't imagine that there are many HS sophomores who are truly settled on a specific college major -- and in any case, I don't think they should be;  and 3.  I'll be surprised if she actually enrolls at Clemson.

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As for our personal situation, the dose of reality that we have accepted has been an overwhelmingly positive thing for our family.

My wife and I have never discussed our personal thoughts about college soccer directly with our son -- which is admittedly odd given the fact that I've posted a lot of very personal information about it here.  While we've always said that it was up to him, the attention that he was getting did inflate our own egos quite a bit and had begun to affect our view of the game.  Having confessed my own sin of pride, I have to say that there is actually a tremendous sense of relief and enhanced enjoyment of watching him play now.

Without saying so, I think our son's interest in playing soccer in college has been largely theoretical.  He's now saying on his own that it doesn't really figure into his plans.  He just wants to enjoy his experience playing high school soccer without any outside considerations affecting that.  Don't get me wrong -- he still takes it seriously and strives to do his best.  It's just not viewed as any kind of a means to an end -- it's now its own thing that we can all just appreciate.

Of course things could change between now and the time he actually graduates.  But now I'm trying to help him with his consideration of colleges, and I find myself in the odd position of encouraging him to at least explore other options besides Virginia Tech.  :-)

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