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What I Learned: Recruiting Tips, Sept. 25

Connor Klekota indicated visiting campuses is important to the recruiting process Columbus Crew

According to the NCAA, fewer than six percent of high school senior soccer players will play NCAA Division I, II or III soccer. The recruiting process can be daunting, frustrating and downright confusing for a majority of the athletes seeking one of the highly coveted, yet limited, soccer scholarships.

ESPNHS is turning to the athletes for helpful advice in dealing with the recruiting process. Each week, learn from high school seniors who have verbally committed to NCAA Division I programs.

QUESTION: “What did you learn or what surprised you about the recruiting process?”

CONNOR KLEKOTA, Amherst, Ohio

High School: Steele (Amherst, Ohio)

Club: Columbus Crew

College Commitment: Notre Dame

"I would tell everyone to be as organized as possible. E-mails flood in over the months and it's really key to make sure you know exactly what coach said what and so on. Also, I was blessed to be able to visit all of the schools I was interested in. I learned that really makes a difference in a decision so always make the attempt to visit where you maybe would like to play because after a visit, your opinion on a school can totally change.”

JACK GOLDBERG, Auburn, Ala.

High School: Auburn (Auburn, Ala.)

Club: Concorde Fire

College Commitment: Memphis

"The most surprising thing about the recruiting process was the difference in football recruiting and soccer recruiting. A number of my classmates at Auburn High School have been or are currently getting recruited by big-time football programs. You never know when Gene Chizik, Lane Kiffin or Nick Saban might show up at school and come by the weight room. You just don't see that with soccer. Plus, living in a SEC college town, it's football and football recruiting all the time, soccer gets so little attention. But our high school team has done well the four years I've played on it so far (I was able to play as an eighth-grader), with two final four appearances and next year we're looking to be one of the top teams in Alabama with eight returning starters, with a few more D1 players.

SAM McBRIDE, High Point, N.C.

High School: Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.)

Club: North Carolina Fusion

College Commitment: Elon

"What surprised me the most about the recruiting process was how early it started and how important it is to reach out to coaches and not wait for them to contact you."

QUINCY THOMAS, Shillington, Pa.

High School: Gov. Mifflin (Shillington, Pa.)

Club: PA Classics

College Commitment: Memphis

“I had seen a lot of the process when my brother went through it, so nothing really surprised me. Some of the rules they have for making contact with players kind of slows things down and is a little frustrating. I understand why the rules are there. But, you go through periods where it feels like a coach has run hot or cold on you. My coach and dad told me early on not to worry about who was talking to whom, just play, keep getting better and everything would sort itself out. They were right."

JAVAN TORRE, Santa Monica, Calif.

High School: Crossroads (Santa Monica, Calif.)

Club: South Bay Force

College Commitment: UCLA

"Contacting coaches and building relationships. Even though you might not be going to them (for college) for the next four years, you build relationships that could help in the future."