I am Only a Sophomore - is There Anything I can Do?
Your sophomore year is the perfect time to start. It sounds like it's way too early to begin and your player is likely not even thinking about college yet. There's just too many other distractions. However, this is the perfect time to get them going on the process, even though it may take a little pushing. It's also a perfect time for you to start thinking about it. It is important, it is a complex process and can be very expensive. Very expensive... So even if it's only for the purpose of figuring out how you can save some money, it's worth starting early.
Here are a few things to think about for your young sophomore:
1. Start with a personal profile. It's easy to fill out and maybe a little fun. Have them fill one out and you fill one out too. See if they match. Make sure it's on paper so that you can go back and look at it every six months.
2. College profile - it's probably a little early for this. The parents can start thinking about things like how much you can afford and your thoughts on how far from home you want to let them wander.
3. Showcase camps - start now. If you do camps in the summer, begin to look at showcase camps or other camps that will have college coaches doing the training. Meet the coaches and get a recommendation. Start a relationship. Build a profile.
4. NEU Profile - create you profile. Update every time you get something new.
5. Start to build a bio - keep track of everything and anything you can add to it.
6. Make an unofficial college visit - if you are near a college or get the opportunity to visit a sibling or friend at a college, take them along. Walk the campus and get the feel. If you're on vacation and near a college - just drive through.
Every player is different, but for most it's likely not a good idea to push them too hard at this point. Just find some ways for them to get introduced to the idea and talk to them about it. Some players know right away that they want to play in college and others are undecided. The undecided ones will have other priorities. If you push them towards it too hard, you will simply be pushing them away.
One key point to always remember: continue to focus them on academics. At the end of the day, whether they want to play soccer in college or not - academics is still the most important thing!