Many players come to the GPS Memorial Day Tournament with hopes of one day taking their talents to the college level. Any attendees of this weekend’s events will notice more than 200 college coaches from all levels rummaging through roster sheets and jotting down notes as they watch the games from the sidelines. Whether you’re a player, parent, or coach, we wanted to give you a better idea of what these coaches are all about, so we picked their brains on the recruiting process and how they scout showcase events.

The first and foremost question people often ask is, what are those coaches looking for in a high school player and what are they writing about in those notebooks?

“I want somebody who’s going to be a good teammate. So watching some of the non-skill stuff is just as important, those intangible pieces,” UMaine Farmington Head Coach Molly Wilkie said. Assistant coach Beth Lebel added, “I like to look at how they react if a play doesn’t go how they might have wanted it to. Are they gonna work back and continue to work for their teammates or are they just going to give up and be frustrated?”

Another women’s head coach spoke about the skills she looks for on the field. “I look for athleticism, technique with the ball, and then something specific about them as a player they might have–ability to attack, are they a ball winner, those types of things.”

Wendy Elles, the Head Women’s Soccer Coach at St. Michael’s College in Vermont said she looks for athleticism, raw soccer talent, technical ability, and position–but also the way players respond in different situations. “If a coach gives them feedback, how do they respond? If a teammate scores a goal, do they go and high-five their teammate? If they make a really bad mistake, how do they respond?”

Elles also talked a little bit about what players should do off-the-field as they navigate the recruiting process. “Just be persistent with contacting the coaches. Coaches receive so many emails or phone calls so if you don’t hear back from a coach don’t think they’re not interested,” she said. “Do your homework as far as getting on the campus, showing the interest, going to a game. As far as deciding which school you’re going to I think the number one thing is to spend time on campus with the players just to get a feel for the campus and the players.”

While college coaches have come to watch certain players, they also emphasized that they’re looking for players that haven’t entered their recruiting lists as well. Just because you haven’t heard from any college coaches yet doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity to get on someone’s radar. “We have a list of players that we’re specifically watching and then also trying to build up our database of kids we haven’t seen play before that we’ll contact after the showcase as well,” Wilkie said.  

Every coach has their own recruiting strategy and their own list of skills they look for, but the one constant with every coach was an emphasis on work ethic.

One coach told us, “We look for the work horse, absolutely. Passion–and it’s evident in everyone’s movements on the field. You look for the player that has that tenacity and that drive.”

Interested in what makes the GPS Memorial Day Tournament such a popular event for college coaches? Find event details, including a list of college coaches HERE!