Three Things You Can Do This Summer...
Ok, I lied - four things you can do. Summer is a time to relax and recover from a long year of school and soccer. So first of all, make sure that you get some R&R. Regain that drive to be the best.
Summer can also be a great time to work on your college selection process and enhance your chance of being noticed by college coaches while having some fun playing soccer in a less stressful environment.
Now, here's three 'OTHER' things that you can do this summer that will help:
1. Of course, keep your skills up. Find some time to juggle. You should average 10-15 minutes a day, just juggling and/or playing with a ball in your back yard. This is one of the best ways to improve your first touch. Make it a game - see how many you can do in a row. How many with right foot or left foot or how many times you can use a thigh or head. Practice some new moves or find a wall or kick-back that you can shoot against.
2. Spend some time on your computer looking at websites of colleges and universities or other sites that will help you research colleges that you might want to attend. Set aside a specific time every week to do it - like every Monday evening from 7-8 PM. If you don't force yourself into a schedule - you won't do it. Then find the time to visit some colleges on your lists. It doesn't have to be a formal list. Just go with family or friends and walk around campus. Visit different types of colleges - by size, location, metro or rural ones. Get a feel for where you are the most comfortable. Trust me; you will know when it feels right.
3. Attend a College Showcase Camp. Identify one that fits your plan. Find out what college coaches are going to be there. Try and find a camp with a college on your list if you already have one created. Send an e-mail before you go to camp to introduce yourself. Of course, once there get to know the coaches, make friends, play hard and have fun. Make sure that you engage with the coaches that train you. Get to know them. Ask them if they would be willing to write you a recommendation. You want to be able to e-mail them later on in your search process and also to use that recommendation. After camp is over e-mail them and thank them for training with you.
If you are serious about playing in college, then showcase camps are one of the best things you can do. Between your sophomore and junior year and your junior and senior year they are incredibly valuable. You can get noticed, become a better player, learn what training in college is like and get some recommendations. Even though you ultimately may not go to one of those colleges, the connections with those coaches will be valuable. They can recommend colleges where they think you can play, be a source of information or they may recommend you to other coaches. I've seen it happen over and over.
The last point is that showcase camps can be tough, but if you love soccer they can be a lot of fun. Enjoy your summer, but don't let it slip away without taking some positive steps toward finding a college program that is right for you...