A Parent's Perspective: Ghosts Do Exist in College Lacrosse Recruiting


Editor’s Note: The recruiting period for current high school juniors (class of 2025) started Sept. 1. This letter is being published under the condition of anonymity to protect the prospect’s recruiting interests.

I didn’t know ghosts existed until my 2025 daughter started the recruiting process.

As a parent in this path toward college lacrosse for the first time, I was clueless. Everyone around us discussed Sept. 1 either with the anxiety of a bungee jumper headed to the ledge or the excitement of a kid at Christmas time. We sat on a club team call and heard someone say to us, “Remember, this is not a day but the beginning of a journey.”

It made sense to my daughter and me. After all, it’s the beginning of her junior year. She’s barely 16. To define her future by one singular circle on the calendar seemed strange.

My daughter has played lacrosse since before kindergarten. She quickly took a love to the sport, seeing the value between teamwork and individual reliance, getting a thrill from a win and an important lesson of resilience from a defeat. She has always expressed a desire to play after high school. Each year when it was time for us to invest in club lacrosse both financially and with our family time, we asked her, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

The answer was always a resounding yes.

We did the camps and showcases over the last few years — on top of all the tournaments since fifth grade — in preparation for junior year. So when Sept. 1 came along and she woke to a few emails of interest, we were thrilled for her. Here, we thought, was the beginning of an exciting time.


For some, it may be. But as I read Facebook groups and talk with others, I see that for many recruits, this is far from exciting. It’s a waiting game. It’s getting excited about a view of your player’s profile and the daylong wonder of what it revealed. It’s going to a camp and getting no feedback from coaches or callbacks from our club reps.

It’s as if the ghosts of the dating world have grabbed their sticks and mouth guards and taken the field.

I understand college coaches are under pressure with so many players out there vying for precious few spots. But with so much talk of mental health in our sport — in fact, just recently being a December 2022 cover story with this very publication — I sit in wonderment of how overlooked the effect of no feedback is.

In today’s social media world, girls ages 16 and 17 can’t help but feel affected when they see peers posting graphics of their college commitments while they don’t even know if they are being considered.

Some girls take it in stride, with the belief that their time will come. But others? Well, others cry. They question themselves, their talents, their capabilities. They wonder what they need to do better or different. They live on Limbo Island.

In corporate recruiting, we talk a lot about the candidate experience. We think it’s important to give a candidate a yes or no answer so they can move on to focus on another job or company with opportunity. Candidate experience is critical to our company brand because if we don’t treat our candidates well, our company will be known as one that does not value people.

I’m sure there are college coaches out there who approach recruiting with the same value emphasis. But sadly, not all do.

At the end of the day, I want coaches to know that, yes, players and their families will temporarily be upset when you say, “Thank you, but no.” But we will move on, much like we do after a loss. Sometimes the outcome isn’t what you hoped.

It’s the complete silence that drives anxiety and creates a panic as to how to move ahead. As a parent, I need to drive that forward motion. But I need help.

I write this anonymously because I am still waiting for my daughter to achieve her dream and certainly don’t want my plea for decency to affect that. I congratulate those players who have reached that mark and want to say to all the others out there this:

Hang in there. You are not alone. Have faith in the ultimate plan that is set out for you. Know you have done enough.

And above all else, never judge yourself based on the experience of others. If it looks different, that doesn’t mean it is wrong. It means it’s yours and you were made to stand out.

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