Megan Jessee is the head coach for the University of Rhode Island women’s soccer team. This is her first head coaching job, and she’s held the position for about three years. Before URI, she spent nine seasons as the goalie coach at Wake Forest. Coach Megan helped guide Wake Forest to the 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference team title and six NCAA Championship appearances.
She also worked with the Demon Deacon goalkeepers, totaling 86 shutouts during her tenure—including 15 shutouts in 2009 and 14 in 2011, which were the two highest totals in school history. Besides coaching at the collegiate level, she also coached for the Connecticut Olympic Development Program, the FSA Soccer Plus Football Club, Soccer Plus Camps, and the Region 1 ODP Girls Soccer Camp.
LRT Sports: What are the three key characteristics that you look for in potential recruits?
LRT Sports: What are the best ways for a recruit to get on your radar, how should a potential recruit reach out to you, and when should it take place?
I believe that as soon as a potential recruit has an interest in a school, they should start reaching out through email. Understand now that with the new rule change, we cannot directly contact a recruit until June 15 after their Sophomore year. However, most of us will respond with camp information and our questionnaire. Within the email, it never hurts to attach a video. These videos act as a good introduction to a player. If there are a few schools you are interested in, it never hurts to attend an ID camp either at that particular University or one that the coaches of a particular university are attending. The key is being proactive and contacting coaches yourself directly. The other resource to use is your club coach and/or director of coaching for the club. These coaches can reach out directly to college coaches and get a feel for what they are looking for in a particular class.
LRT Sports: With all the different showcases, ID clinics and camps that are offered, one can quickly end up on a wild-goose chase trying to get the right looks. Which events would you recommend that a potential recruit attend if they want to get noticed by you?
Here at the University of Rhode Island, we spend a lot of time at DA & ECNL events. However, that is not the only event we attend. If you are in the Northeast, we do get out to a number of events to see clubs that are non-DA/ ECNL. The truth is that it changes every year based on whom we are recruiting. In terms of ID camps, I believe they are a good idea if you have a lot of interest in a particular school. The best thing to do once you are allowed to communicate with a college coach directly is to ask them what events they will be attending.
LRT Sports: Which regions or states do you tend to recruit the heaviest?
The majority of our players come from the northeast. However, we do have players from all around the country and international players as well. The issue we run into for players that are outside the northeast is the resources it takes to be able to evaluate players. We are a mid-major with a limited recruiting budget. We try to maximize what we have, but that does not allow us to travel all over the country to evaluate every player that is interested in our school.
LRT Sports: A lot of kids ask us about coaching styles, how would you describe your coaching style?
I have very high standards for my team and individual players that make up my team. I am very honest with my players. With that being said, I love to work with players and teach the game. I preach consistent work and improvement. My goal is to teach the game so that the players develop into the best possible players they can be. I believe in preparing for practice and games so that once games start, players have all the tools to be successful.
LRT Sports: So many high school athletes tell us they do not know what GPA/SAT/ACT scores they should be shooting for. What scores do you recommend that high school athletes shoot for if they want to play for URI?
The average freshmen admitted in 2018 was a GPA of 3.53 unweighted, an SAT score of 1182 & an ACT score of 25.
Photo by New England Soccer Journal
LRT Sports: What are some things a player can do to prepare themselves to succeed in college athletics both physically and/or mentally?
LRT Sports: What are the most common struggles and adjustment issues that student-athletes deal with when they arrive on campus for the first time? How does the school help?
The first time my players arrive on campus is for pre-season. For some players, it’s the first time away from home. You are stepping into an intense environment, physically and mentally. However, they are not alone as they have their fellow freshmen to experience this with and lean on for help. It is also an exciting time because players will be experiencing a whole new soccer level and many other firsts. The truth is that every player transitions differently. Players should understand that their transition is unique to them and not worry about how quickly other players transition to the level.
We are in pre-season for about four weeks before school starts. This helps our players get comfortable on campus before academics are added. Once classes start, it puts us on a more regular schedule. It usually takes our freshmen a couple of weeks to figure out everything. Our academic advisor helps the freshmen with the transition. We also have the freshmen in six hours of study hall a week. This helps them transition to college academics.
LRT Sports: Academic troubles, unfortunately, happen. If one of your players is having difficulty, what type of academic support system does your school have?
Academics are a major priority on our team. Although a lot of our student-athletes find a lot of success in the classroom. There are always a couple that struggle. We offer a number of resources for them to get back on track and ultimately be able to be successful in the classroom.
LRT Sports: Do you take on walk-ons, and if so, how should a high school athlete start this process?
We do take walk-ons. However, we spend a lot of time recruiting, so most of our players are recruited to the university. For players who attend URI, we do offer a walk-on try out every spring for interested URI students.
LRT Sports: What advice do you give to the college athletes who think they should be playing, but you know they are just not quite there?
Players need to remember that the college level is extremely competitive. Every player is coming from an environment where they were the best or one of the best players. At the end of the day, only 11 players can play at a time on the field. So, there are a couple of pieces of advice I would give.
LRT Sports: Do you and your coaching staff look at a potential high school recruit’s social media? If so, what are you looking for?
We do occasionally look at potential recruits’ social media. It is another tool that helps us get to know our potential players more. You can tell a lot about a player good and bad from their social media. It is a pretty good indication of what they will be like in our environment.
LRT Sports: For college athletes who can’t seem to get off of the bench, what advice can you give them?
I would have an honest conversation with your coach. Things you should talk about:
Once you have these conversations, then it is up to the player to determine what they would like to do. Continue playing on the team in your current role, walk away from the team, and be a regular student at the university or transfer somewhere else.
LRT Sports: What key ingredients make a coachable athlete?
Willingness to learn and improve, work ethic, open mind, and passion for the sport.
LRT Sports: What is the funniest way that an athlete marketed themselves to you?
We get a number of interesting videos. I have also had a player send me a puzzle claiming she was the missing piece to our team success.
When doing research in the recruiting process for my daughter I came across the LRT Sports website. I was immediately intrigued as this was another dimension of the recruiting process that many people don't even consider. My daughter and I could "short list" schools based on the education she was looking for, as well as the opportunity to play her sport. LRT Sports not only gave us pertinent information into the recruiting process with different interviews of coaches and players, it also gave us insight into current and/or former players' opinions on the coach of that school in her sport. We could use this information to re-prioritize my daughters list of schools based on this feedback. I have many friends that are, or will be, going through this process shortly and I highly recommend using LRT Sports as part of anyone's recruiting process.
The college process presents a myriad of challenges. Factor in athletics and it becomes even more daunting. Now, add the fact that you have zero experience with sports. What is a the mother of a college bound student-athlete to do? LRT Sports has truly lived up to its promise. It has kept "the college recruiting process honest and easy by providing first hand information about coaches, schools and the recruiting process." Their interviews with current students, coaches, and professional athletes have provided realistic guidance. I am much more informed because of LRT Sports! The coach ratings are the most helpful. LRT Sports interviews allow us to hear from students as to how the adults are impacting not only their athletic experience but also how they are helping to shape their adult self.
The C.A.L.C. was thrilled to have Keirsten Sires come and speak to us on multiple topics relevant to high school athletics today, including recruiting. Keirsten reached all of our students and left them with great strategies that will not only help on the fields, courts, and mats, but also in the game of recruiting. She was a true professional and delivered a wonderful message.
Now that the recruiting process and the related stress is over, I wanted to thank you for your guidance. You did so much more than we had expected. Once you started the process by matching the best academic schools first, not the best sport programs, I knew you were the one. The way you laid out a timeline of contacting coaches, visits, and camps completely took any guesswork out of the plan for us. All of the student athletes that you put us in touch with gave us a look from the inside, and made us more comfortable knowing what was coming. Finally, using your website as a resource for knowing what to expect from different coaches based on former recruit reviews gave my son confidence before our meetings. There is no way we could have figured this out on our own, you really put us in a great position when decision time came.
I think hearing from other athletes is very beneficial. To be able to learn from people’s mistakes, and to be able to have access to those voices is really helpful; especially voices that have been there and done that. It’s very important for people to have access to information that could benefit them, and in this case there are many voices that can help the next wave of athletes.
If you have something that’s going to spell [the recruiting process] out for you… it’s so valuable. I think what everyone at LRT Sports is doing to spread the word and help advocate and educate athletes on the recruitment process is incredible.
Without question would have used LRT Sports. It would have probably been one of the most valuable tools that I could have had. If you want to know what these coaches are really like then I think this is the best tool out there. I’m really glad you are allowing recruits to have a resource like this moving forward.