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September 7, 2021

Recruiting Advice from DII Women’s Soccer Coach, Chris Hennessey

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Chris Hennessey was born and raised in Manchester, England, where he played in the city’s youth-level football club, one of England’s premier clubs. He later attended Lee University, where he played for his four collegiate years and was a standout defender.

Hennessey now coaches the women’s soccer team at Lee University. He is entering his sixth season as the women’s head coach. He has led the Lady Flames to improve every year and produce numerous all-American selections and all-academic selections. In his time as coach, he has also led the Lady Flames to an outstanding 75-25-9 record and has reached the DII national tournament five years straight. The team made it as far as the final four in 2018.  

Related Coach Rating: Chris Hennessey

Hennessey was convinced by his longtime friend, Chris Walker, to give U.S. soccer a chance, so he became a U.S. citizen, determined to improve the game here. As a coach in the U.S. he has been able to compete against Coach Walker, who coaches at the University of Northern Alabama. 

Related coach rating: Chris Walker

LRT Sports interviewed Coach Hennessey about his perspective and ideals during the recruiting process, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed recruiting.

Are you currently recruiting players from states whose seasons have been canceled and/or haven’t been able to compete for the past ten months?
Yes – every state has been different, but we will never turn away a player who is a good fit for the program.

How has your recruiting process changed due to the pandemic?
It has limited the amount we have been able to see players play in person – which is very important for me.

Related: Are Disparities of Recruiting Affecting Athletes During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

When and how should a high school athlete reach out to you? What method would you prefer?
The best way would be to email me.

What GPA and ACT/SAT scores should a high school athlete shoot for if they want to compete for you?
Academics is very important for my program; however, I understand that there are student-athletes who struggle early on but thrive in college. I was one of them. So, the main characteristic in that department is are you willing to work at your studies. If yes, no problem with me.

Related: Athletes’ Tips on Balancing Your GPA and College Football

What 3 characteristics do you look for in a potential recruit?
Work ethic, attitude, and being grateful.

Do you look at potential recruit’s social media, and if so, what do you look for? How can a potential recruit use social media to their advantage?
I don’t really pay too much attention to social media, to be honest.

What can make you stop recruiting a player?
Character on and off the field

What 2 qualities make a great teammate?
Positivity and attitude.

Should recruits mentally prepare to play other positions? Temporarily or permanently?
Always. Every game is different so being versatile is important.

Do you take on walk-ons, and if so, how can an athlete start that process?
Yes – best way to send me an email.

If there was one consistent thing that a high school recruit can do on the field to better their chances of playing at the college level, what would that be?
Continue to strive to get better when nobody is watching.