Every act of aloha counts. Click here to DONATE to the MAUI RELIEF Fund.            

HPU Coach Fisher: The ABCs Of College Soccer Recruiting

HPU men's soccer coach Chris Fisher

HPU men’s soccer coach Chris Fisher

As men’s soccer head coach at Hawaii Pacific University, recruiting is one subject Chris Fisher is very familiar with, and he recently visited with MidWeek‘s Windward Islander to share his insights into the process for prospective college student-athletes.

What determines the geographic regions you recruit the hardest? HPU is a very international school, so the whole world is literally available to recruit. Hawaii is the first place we look and try to identify the best players in the state. Many local kids want to go to the Mainland, which is understandable, but we want to let them know we are an excellent option.

If you were to advise a young soccer player hoping to continue in the sport, what would you say? If you love the game and want to continue playing, there is a place for you. There are literally thousands of options in college soccer, from junior college to NAIA to NCAA Division I, II, and III. Even intramural soccer is very competitive at some schools. The key is finding the right fit for you and being realistic in your pursuit. Find a place that makes you happy, even if you cannot play soccer.

How important is a prospective recruit’s character and high school academic standing when you are in the evaluation stage? Coaches want to bring in student-athletes who not only will help them win, but will represent the program and school positively during and after college. One of the first questions a college coach asks a high school or club coach is about the player’s character and how they interact and lead their teammates. We also will immediately look at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for red flags, so potential student-athletes need to be cognizant of what information is being posted on these sites.

High academics is invaluable, as it will give a student-athlete a wider range of colleges to choose from and an academic scholarship to be able to afford it. This academic money can be added to an athletic scholarship, making the prospective student-athlete even more appealing to a coach.

Do you rely more on a potential HPU prospect’s play on his high school team, or his club team, when evaluating talent? For Hawaii, both. With high school, we can see how prospects compete and represent their school. In club, they are typically playing with and against more talented players as a whole, but not necessarily doing whatever it takes to win. Often in clubs, they are playing to get noticed by a college or pro scout and will play more as individuals. With that said, Hawaii’s club soccer scene is exploding in numbers, talent and educated coaches every year, so the level of play and competition among them is increasing as well.

As HPU is situated in the Pacific, how do you go about recruiting in general? Is the majority of it done by phone? In this day and age, the Internet makes recruiting from the middle of the Pacific Ocean convenient. We receive hundreds of emails with players’ videos and information from all over the world. The first place we look is Hawaii and identify who we think are the top players in the state. From there, we have a network on the Mainland, Europe, Australia, Oceania and Asia. HPU is a very diverse university, so our team tends to reflect that.

How can a Hawaii-based college prospect best get noticed by a college coach? Hawaii players are getting better every year, and therefore more coaches are taking notice. There are more coaches visiting the Islands to watch games and attend the various and increasingly frequent individual development camps. In addition, most college programs will have an ID camp on their own campus. This is the best way, in my opinion, that a potential student-athlete can spend time on a campus they are interested in and be coached by the staff to see if they are a good fit. There are also yearly club showcase tournaments that attract coaches from all over the nation. I think college prospects need to take control of their own recruiting process and know how to market themselves. Do not wait for a coach to find you. jackster.1969@yahoo.com