So you want to play soccer in college?
If you are a player that dreams of playing soccer in college, your dream can come true if you are realistic about yourself and the college you want to attend. When you start looking at colleges you’ll discover that there are hundreds of colleges with soccer teams and lots of kids playing college soccer that were good, solid soccer players, not necessarily super stars. You just have to realize that you may end up playing at a small school with a small scholarship or maybe no scholarship at all. The most important thing you must do is to choose the right college for you, one that will provide the college experience that you want. If you’re offered a chance to play soccer at a college that you won’t be happy at, or that doesn’t have the course of study that you want; you probably won’t stay. However, with so many colleges, there’s a good chance you can find one that will be a good fit, both for academics and soccer. Your ability as a soccer player can make a difference for getting into a college, if you combine it with good grades.
What you need to do to prepare for playing soccer in college
Get your grades up and maintain a good GPA, a minimum of 3.0 is what you should be striving for but the higher the better.
Talk to your school counselor about what classes you should be taking to prepare for college. Try to take as many honors classes as you can.
Start a resume of your community service activities, achievements, awards.
Play on your high school team; try to make the varsity if possible.
Check out the NCAA website (www.ncaaclearinghouse.net) to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations for college-bound athletes and to learn what courses you need to take in order to be eligible to play at different College Divisions
Get your grades up, and maintain a good GPA, strive for a minimum of 3.0 but the higher, the better.
Meet with your counselor to make sure that you are still on track with the right classes for college and to meet NCAA requirements for Division I and II schools.
Keep your resume of activities and achievements updated.
Have your parents or a friend start to film some of your games if possible.
Junior Year – the most important year!
Maintain your GPA and make sure that you are taking the right college prep classes for meeting NCAA requirements.
Take the PSAT and a practice SAT early in the year and then take the SAT later in the school year.
Meet with your school counselor to make sure you’re still on track with the college prep classes that you need and the classes that will meet the NCAA requirements.
Make a list of colleges that you are interested in. Go to their websites and check what the academic requirements are to be accepted. Be realistic about matching your academic ability to the colleges. Also, be realistic about your soccer ability and the chance you have to be recruited at each college. Again, check out the college’s website and look at the biographies for their current players or the ones they just recruited.
Narrow your list to 10-15 schools that you’d like to attend. Try to visit any colleges that you can during spring break or the summer.
Put together a soccer resume and cover letter (samples coming soon) for the coaches at the colleges you’re interested in. E-mail or call the coach to make contact and see if they might be able to talk to you when you visit. Don’t give up if you don’t get a response right away, keep trying. Be persistent but not annoying.
Keep playing both Club and high school and try to get to as many higher level tournaments, especially college showcases, as possible.
In the fall, meet with your counselor to make sure that you meet all the NCAA requirements and apply for Student-athlete status on the NCAA website.
Keep in touch with any college coach that has expressed interest in you.
After your Senior year begins, you may make five (5) official visits to Division I schools. These are visits where you are invited by the coach and the college pays for the visit. You may make as many unofficial visits to a college as you would like.
Retake the SAT’s if you need to improve your score.
Pick 5-7 schools and send in your applications, pay attention to the application deadlines!
Keep your grades up, beware of “senioritis”! Some colleges will withdraw their admission and/or scholarship if a student’s grades decline during their senior year.
Some additional information….
The statistics are why you need to be realistic. Out of the millions of kids that play Club and high school soccer, only 3% will participate on a college varsity sports team and only 1% will receive a college athletic scholarship.
Consider Your Education
Don’t choose the college you will attend based on soccer alone. When you graduate, you need to have a good education because the chances of earning a living playing soccer are even less than the chances of getting a soccer scholarship!
Don’t Overlook Smaller Schools
Many smaller schools (Division III, NAIA) will make very generous offers to strong players. Division III schools can’t give scholarships but may offer generous academic scholarships for athletes that they want to have for their teams.
Be Polite and Follow-up with Coaches
If you contact a Coach and he/she returns your e-mail or phone call, let them know how much you appreciate them contacting you. If a Coach comes to see you play, be polite and thankful and follow up with a Thank you letter.
Consider a College Soccer Camp
Camps offered by colleges are another opportunity for a player to get time in front of a college coach. Coaches have limited recruiting budgets and generally only attend the major tournaments so this is a good chance to get some time in front of a Coach.