What do College Coaches Look for?

What do college coaches look for at a Showcase?

Ben John is the Technical Director for Wisconsin Rush and the Assistant Women's Soccer Coach at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

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Rush Soccer has many opportunities to play with different players across the United States. With 65 Domestic clubs there are a lot of opportunities: Through Rush Select, the Guest Playing Program and the Regional Showcase Teams.
Ben John took the time to tell us what College Coaches Look for at a Showcase and the pro's and cons of putting yourself in a different playing environment.
Advantages of Playing with Your Team
  • Playing on your own team can certainly mitigate stress, nervousness and at times enhance performance
  • Team chemistry and familiarity allows you to think less about certain details and focus on execution
Advantage of Playing in an ID Format
  • A new environment and playing with different players exacts a higher level of concentration, focus and discipline that mitigates callousness
  • Eliminating the safety net of “team” allows coaches to assess a player's ability to solve problems based on the principles of the game as it applies to any given situation confronted by the player and the pool of players stitched together.
  • There are also times when the chemistry and tactics of “team” supersedes our ability to evaluate the individual quality of a player. The environment of an ID camp that pools players of different abilities together, usually from different places forces players to adjust to the discomfort of a different situation and find solutions to solve problems
There are certainly benefits to both approaches, but most coaches who see players in a more traditional “team” type setting will almost always want to see them in an ID type format where they can assess players, in the absence of their “team environment”. It is important to note that good coaches can measure a talented player who is playing on a bad team.
What College Coaches Want in a Player
How Coaches Evaluate Players?
How Coaches Evaluate Players?
3 Things College Coaches Look for That You Can Improve Today!
Positional Evaluations
An additional layer of evaluations conducted by coaches will be positional specific and based on the principles of their program. For example, in college programs that like to play a very open attacking style of soccer, outside backs will be expected to consistently join the offensive attack with overlapping runs into the middle and offensive 1/3rd of the field.
Another example that could impact a coach evaluation. A college program that likes to attack with a specific set of players might be looking at both the #8 and #6 (offensive and defensive Midfielders) as box to box players (18 yard of your own box to the 18 yard of the opponent's box). Dynamic, consistent movement and endurance become highly valued qualities.
There are too many issues, specific to a college program or conference to be able to articulate here but it further emphasizes the importance of reaching out to different college programs and getting a better sense as to what they are looking for, based on their style of play and principles.
General Qualities of a Player
Physical Attributes (General Attributes)
  • Speed
  • Strength - shielding, tackling, aggressiveness
  • Explosion - 5-10 yard and explosion in the air (heading)
  • Side to side mobility
  • Agility
  • Balance
  • Power - shot, heading balls in the air
Technical
  • 1st Touch - passing, out of the air, different surfaces
  • Passing Accuracy - Short, mid range, long
  • Passing Proficiency - Driven balls, in-swingers, our-swingers, back spin. In step, laces, outside of the foot
  • Shooting
  • Dribbling 1vs1
  • Dribbling out of pressure
  • Defensive pressure - cover - balance
  • Offensive Heading
  • Defensive Heading
  • Clearing balls
  • Shooting accuracy - close and from distance
  • Crossing accuracy
Tactical
  • Positional awareness - offense
  • Positional awareness - defense
  • Positional awareness - in transition offense to defense, defense to offense
  • Movement with a ball - Defensive 1/3rd, middle 1/3rd, offensive 1/3rd
  • Movement off the ball - based on ball being in defensive 1/3rd, middle 1/3rd, offensive 1/3rd
  • Decision making on the ball -same as above
  • Decision making off the ball - same as above
  • Speed of play
  • Technical efficiency to execute tactical decisions
Mental
  • Consistency in performance
  • Effort
  • Coach ability
  • Positivity
  • Communication
  • Level of awareness - consistently seeking information
  • Winning transitions
  • Temperament
  • Leadership Qualities