Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, student athletes have found it harder than ever before to be a part of the recruiting process.
Soccer scouting has decreased
Naples High School sophomore midfielder and club soccer player, Lucy Froitzheim, hopes to play soccer at a reputable college after graduation. However, due to COVID-19, exposure to coaches has been drastically reduced.
“Since corona happened, the D1 dead period has been extended until April 30 which puts athletes in a really tough situation,” Froitzheim said.
The dead period is the annual time where college coaches cannot attend sporting events to recruit young student athletes. It is normally one or two months, but due to COVID-19 precautions, the dead period has been in effect for over six months.
Limits on swim
Freshman Isabella Schaab has also been experiencing the effects of COVID-19 on her swim team. Due to the dangers of the virus, swim meets and practices are much different than last year.
“COVID-19 has severely limited a lot of things in my sport,” Schaab said. “We need to space out lanes, separate in groups and most times, no spectators are allowed to come to meets.”
No spectators puts a serious damper on scouting, because college coaches often come to watch swim meets and contact young athletes from there.
A different perspective
Ria Vlachos, junior varsity and club soccer player, hopes to play at a Division One college in two years. She doesn’t think the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the scouting process as much as other student athletes do.
“Scouts are really only looking at players based off of their film anyway, but luckily my team films our games, so I have been able to send out videos,” Vlachos said.
Vlachos claims that although COVID-19 has altered many aspects of her life, the scouting process feels the same as it did before the outbreak occurred.
Then vs. Now
Melissa Miller, a former soccer player at FGCU, had a much different experience of recruiting than student athletes have now.
Miller claims that she had it much easier and with the COVID-19 pandemic in effect, many aspects of the process have changed.
“COVID-19 has not only cancelled a lot of the showcase tournaments but has also eliminated the opportunity for student athletes to attend ID clinics and weekend showcases to show off their talent,” Miller said.
Before COVID-19, ID camps and tournaments were the main way that college coaches could see and reach out to prospective student athletes. However, times have changed. Therefore, the scouting process must change with them.
Advice for the athletes to come
There are many pieces of advice that student athletes should know when going into college.
“Find a school that works for you as a student, athlete and person,” Miller said. “You may not be an athlete forever, so make sure that you attend a college that if sports was taken away, you could still see yourself thriving and enjoying your time there.”