Navigating the complex world of college soccer recruiting can be a daunting task for any high school athlete. With so many factors to consider, from communication with coaches to academic achievements, the process can seem overwhelming.
Sierra Crawford, a retired collegiate D1 soccer player, offered The Wire a personal insight into her recruiting journey, shedding light on the path she took to achieve her dream of playing at the Air Force Academy. Learning about an individual’s path taken to collegiate soccer can help up-and-coming recruits to understand what is expected of them.
Growing up in Southern California, Sierra Crawford’s college soccer recruiting journey began later than most. She stepped onto the field at the age of 13, beginning her club and high school soccer career. However, her late start didn’t deter her from aiming high and aspiring to play at the collegiate level.
Crawford’s experience underscores the importance of early initiation and proactivity in the recruitment process.
“Women’s soccer recruiting starts very young,” Crawford mentioned. “The coaches can’t contact you until a certain point sophomore year, but most schools have a pool of girls that they are already interested in.”
Coaches may not be able to contact players until their sophomore year, but Crawford recommends initiating contact as early as freshman year. This proactive approach allows athletes to inform coaches about their upcoming tournaments and coordinate campus visits.
Crawford recalls following her own advice by initiating contact with coaches as a freshman. She had already received her first verbal offer by April of that year. Her persistence in sending emails to coaches on a weekly basis paid off. This initial interaction set the foundation for her successful recruitment journey.
For Crawford, excelling on the soccer field was just one piece of the puzzle. She emphasizes the importance of academic achievements, as they play a crucial role in the recruitment process.
“Academically, I really needed to focus on my test scores,” explained Crawford. “That was the make or break for me getting into the Air Force Academy.”
She worked diligently to improve her test scores, with the help of a private tutor, and took the SAT seven times to achieve her desired results.
Moreover, Crawford’s commitment extended beyond academics and athletics. She believes in the significance of a well-rounded application that showcases achievements in academics, volunteering, leadership, and extracurricular activities. This comprehensive approach demonstrates an athlete’s dedication and potential contribution to a college community.
One of Crawford’s key pieces of advice revolves around prioritizing club soccer throughout the recruiting process. While it may come with a financial commitment, club soccer provides a platform for coaches to identify potential recruits. It’s where athletes can truly shine and stand out among their peers. Furthermore, Crawford stresses the importance of campus visits, which offer invaluable insights into a program’s staff, culture, and facilities.
“Campus visits give you great insight into the staff and program, which is extremely beneficial to the athlete and coaches,” says Crawford. These visits allow athletes to envision themselves as part of the team and the college community. They also provide an opportunity to connect with coaches on a more personal level and gain a deeper understanding of the program’s expectations.
Crawford’s journey wasn’t without challenges. She advises high school athletes who feel they aren’t getting recruiting attention to take the initiative.
“Do your research on schools that interest you and have what you want to study,” she suggests. “Contact coaches repeatedly, even if it means reaching out more than once.”
Reflecting on her recruitment experience, Crawford emphasizes the importance of communication, research, and proactive efforts. Her story serves as an inspiration to aspiring collegiate athletes, reminding them that achieving their goals requires dedication and resilience.
In her case, the combination of early initiation, academic excellence, commitment to club soccer, and campus visits paved the way for a successful recruiting journey. Crawford’s story provides a roadmap for other high school soccer players who are navigating the intricate landscape of college soccer recruitment.
Sierra Crawford’s journey didn’t end with her college soccer recruitment. Despite an ACL injury that forced her to retire from the field after two years at the Air Force Academy, she found growth and purpose beyond the pitch. This setback led her to learn to live without soccer, and she emerged as a stronger and more resilient individual.
As she looked back on her soccer journey, Crawford’s insights offered a glimpse into the dedication required to achieve collegiate athletic success. Her advice resonates with high school athletes seeking guidance in the recruiting process. From initiating contact early to balancing academics and athletics, her story exemplifies the rewards of hard work and determination.
In the ever-evolving landscape of college soccer recruiting, Sierra Crawford’s experience serves as a beacon of inspiration. As high school athletes embark on their own recruiting journeys, they can draw valuable insights from her story, shaping their paths toward success both on and off the field.