Ok, you finished your tour of the campus and now it’s time to sit down with the coach. You contacted him ahead of time and you’re all set to spend a very short 30 minutes with him. Let's make the most of it. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So what are some of the things to do to make sure you make a good first impression? Here are a few tips:
Be a good Boy/Girl Scout – Be Prepared! Turn to your best friend – Mr. Google. Then dig in and visit their website to find out a few things:
What was their record over the last few years?
What conference are they in - who else plays in it? How far do they travel?
How many players are graduating – how many open slots?
Read the coaches profile – who is he, background, how long has he been there?
Make sure you’re up to speed on the academic side of the college.
Prepare your list of questions and the points you want to make about yourself.
Dress appropriately! You can wear your colors (NEU Warm-up) or something soccer. If not, dress like you care what you look like.
Bring a notepad and pen – take notes – have your list of questions for him written out so that you don’t forget to ask.
Shake hands with a nice firm grip and introduce yourself. If he/she enters the office after you’re already in and waiting – stand up to shake his/her hand.
Listening is very important. Listen to what they say and look for cues to ask more questions. Coaches love to talk about their program.
Don’t ramble – give very short and succinct answers. Ask your list of questions. Take notes. Make sure you get across key points about yourself - why do you bring value.
Allow Mom or Dad to ask questions, but remember you control the interview and the conversation – the coach is recruiting you, not Mom or Dad.
Have your Mom and Dad focus on what they think of the coach’s impression of you based on the interview. They are probably a better judge of that and you can focus on the interview. Afterwards you may have very different views of how it went.
Who’s interviewing who? Remember that this is as much about you interviewing the coach as the coach interviewing you. Believe it or not, they will respect that approach. They want good soccer players and good leaders. Don’t be scared to ask how many open slots he has next year, what type of players he is looking for and what he expects of his players. If he’s seen you play (live or on video), ask him what he thinks or how he thinks you could fit in. You may not like the answer, but isn’t it better to know?
You probably will be nervous, but the better prepared you are the less nervous you will be. The coaches interview players all the time, so they won’t be surprised if you seem a bit nervous. Follow these 8 tips, practice and prepare, be confident and you’ll get better as you go. It’s just like scoring goals…