Congrats on the website! My first impression is very positive. I am the father of 2 soccer playing girls (JR/FRESH). I found the info about D3 schools very interesting, I was concerned about no athletic money, but feel much better after visiting your website.
I have a question about the value researching teams’ current rosters? We have been looking at how many JR/SR are on the teams, thinking it could indicate how many players the coach could be looking for in my daughter’s graduating class. And, maybe a small indicator to if they might have athletic scholarship money available.
This post comes from a question. I started to respond as a comment, but as I did I realized this would be helpful for all of my readers. I have addressed the answer, toward Mike and his daughters who are soccer players, but the issue of looking at rosters transcends into every other sport as well. Thanks Mike for a great question.
The Roster Cycle
As you mention, each year is different in the recruiting cycle of a coach. If there are a lot of upperclassmen graduating, the coach will have more discretion when it comes to awarding scholarships. Don’t rule out a school, however, if they are not graduating a lot of seniors.
One thing a glance at a roster cannot tell you is how much scholarship money will be available. There is a lot going on behind the scenes in an athletic program. It is impossible to tell how much money each of the seniors has in athletic scholarship money. Scholarship money is never divided equally among all the players. Also, each year many underclassmen will not return. An incoming class of 10 freshmen will not graduate in four years with 10. It is more likely there will be 4-6 players left in that recruiting class when they graduate. They may leave behind scholarship money. But being awarded a scholarship is based both on what is available and how much that coach would like your daughter on the team. Bottom line: there is no way to know how much scholarship money your daughter will be offered until the offer is on the table.
Research by Position
However, looking at rosters can give you an indication of what kind of players a coach is looking for. A coach may be looking for specific positions, although this varies by sport. If your daughter is a goal keeper and the goal keeper is about to graduate, that’s a good sign, at least to come on as a backup. At lower levels of competition teams will be looking for the best players they can find, regardless of position. The higher the level of play, the more position-specific coaches will be recruiting.
An Eye for the Level of Talent
A look at the roster may also indicate the talent level of the team, which could help you determine if your daughter fits that program. When you look at a roster, are the players all from the region around the college, are they from around the United States, or are there a number of international players? Teams that are nationally recruited will generally have a higher level of talent than those that are regionally recruited.
Next, look at the types of clubs and high schools they are from. Are there other players from your area? What teams did they play on? Are they having success on the college team (look at the stats)? This will give your daughters an indication if they are looking at the appropriate level of play.
If you look at the roster and find current college players from your area, your daughters could reach out on social media. They can gather information about the program in a more personal way. Even if the girl was from a rival high school, the college players are usually very helpful. If they are rude, your daughter may not want to go there anyway.
Should You Dismiss NCAA Division 3? They Don’t Offer Scholarships!
I am glad you took note of the information about Division 3 scholarships. Many athletes miss out on great opportunities because they shut the door on all Division 3 schools when they realize there are no athletic scholarships. Division 3 schools are not giving out less money than other schools. If they were, they would not survive. They are allocating the money in academic, achievement, leadership and several other ways. Depending on your situation, the grades and test scores of your daughters, and the fit of a particular school, Division 3 schools will as often as not be a good financial option.
Next, take a look at Being Recruited: Prospects Vs. Recruits.