Five Tips for High School Juniors as Sept. 1 Lacrosse Recruiting Date Nears

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Josie Pell graduated from Glenelg Country School this year. The freshman at James Madison shares her recruiting story and offers advice for young players.


As I grew up playing lacrosse there was one day that always scared me, September 1 of my junior year of high school — the day when I could start getting recruited. When I was younger, I had always looked up to the lacrosse players in college and hoped one day I could be like them.

I’ve been playing lacrosse as long as I can remember. I started when I was 6 years old and have been learning and growing ever since. I began playing on a rec team in Catonsville, Maryland, and joined club teams as I got older. When I was in fifth grade, I joined Hero’s Tournament Lacrosse Club and played there until I was a junior in high school. Then, as I went into high school, I also became a part of the Glenelg Country School varsity lacrosse team. During fall, spring, and summer I played with Hero’s and Glenelg Country School, and began my recruiting process.

I remember putting my phone down and going to sleep on August 31 at the start of my junior year of high school. Even though all my friends were staying up, I didn’t want to deal with anything until the morning. I had done so much to get ready for this day, yet I did not want the chaos to start.

When I woke up, there was so much to do, including sending emails, answering texts, calling coaches back, and trying to stay organized through it all. At first, I was super frustrated and overwhelmed because it was hard to get everything done without forgetting anything. However, my mom was helpful because together we created a schedule with everything I had to do. This helped me see everything I had coming up and made managing my time a lot easier.

As a player, it was important to be realistic with myself, and although it was upsetting not to get a call from a few schools I was hoping for, I still had amazing options to explore. Which is why, on the first day, I wanted to keep all my options open, so I talked to a lot of schools that were all very different. I tried not to decline any schools unless I was absolutely positive that I did not want to go there. For me, the first day was the hardest, but it allowed me to get my nerves out and start to decide what I was looking for.

However, many of my friends had a very different experience being recruited. I had some friends whose process did not start until a few days or weeks later, and there were girls on my team who committed within a week of September 1. I found it was much easier to just focus on my experience and try to do what was best for me.

Since my recruiting process was right in the middle of the Corona outbreak, I didn’t get to go on any visits. Instead, I had Zooms. I dreaded Zoom calls because they were often hard to pay attention to and didn’t really allow the coaches to get to know me because many included a group of recruits. In that environment it was really hard for me to ask questions or express myself because there were so many other people doing the same thing.

This also meant that I did not get to see many college campuses. I was able to drive to a few colleges and I was fortunate enough to go on some visits with my sister, Celia, the previous year, but my first time seeing many of the schools I was talking to was through virtual tours. This made my decision slightly more difficult because I couldn’t base it off my experience at the school.

Phone calls were really important because they allowed me to ask questions and understand where I would fit in with different teams. It was clear that some schools wanted me to go there, but they didn’t really know who I was as a player. After about two weeks, I was able to narrow down my options to three schools. However, when I talked to one school it was clear they knew who I was, how I played, and what they wanted me to be on their team. That school for me was James Madison University. I committed to play there and I am so excited to work with my coaches and the team. I could not ask for a better match.







Five things to know:

  1. Believe that everything happens for a reason. This is important to remember because there will be a lot of ups and downs during the recruiting process that might be upsetting. If something doesn’t work out, that just means it wasn’t meant to be.

  2. Create a schedule and stay organized. This includes saving contacts in your phone and planning times to call or email coaches, but also leaving enough time to relax and not think about college or lacrosse for a bit. Recruiting can be overwhelming, so it is good to take a break sometimes.

  3. Keep your options open. It is ok to have a dream school, but that shouldn’t be the only college you are focusing on. It is possible that you might think you want to go somewhere but end up not loving it like you thought you would. That is why it is key to explore a lot of different types of schools, even if you already have one in mind.

  4. Create a list of questions. Keep that list with you while you are on the phone. Also, have someone like a coach, parent, or friend ask you some questions that might come up during your calls. This is helpful because it allows you to prepare some responses and practice answering questions that might stump you on the phone. Having some questions and responses ready makes talking on the phone so much easier and allows you to be comfortable with yourself and your answers when the process starts.

  5. Take your time. There is no need to rush the process. If you are feeling pressure from anyone it is ok to say that you're not ready to decide yet. Everyone’s experience is different, so it is also all right if coaches do not begin to contact you right on September 1. In the end, it is a really big decision, and you are the one who must be sure you will be happy at the college you choose.

Josie Pell is a freshman midfielder and draw specialist at James Madison University. She interned at USA Lacrosse this spring as part of a program through Glenelg Country School.

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Five Tips for High School Juniors as Sept. 1 Lacrosse Recruiting Date Nears

Josie Pell, a freshman at James Madison, shares her story on the recruiting process







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