To play college ball [sports] you need to have some natural ability. However, college athletics goes far beyond athleticism alone. College soccer recruiting looks involves more than on-field performance. Academics and work ethic come before the skill. Especially today, universities and colleges are looking for character traits in their players that will sustain their investment in an individual through 4 years of work. In doing this you will create good habits for life. Note: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Real talk on college sports
To be ready for collegiate competition, players need to have their skills set. They need to choose a wise & humble attitude & what they want life to be like. Because colleges must spend so much money scouting and recruiting players they really do not have the time and resources to babysit them.
There is an expectation that you arrive completely prepared to treat collegiate sports as your career. And that is what it really becomes for the next four years. To play college ball you have to have a mix of all the right things.
College sports can be a wonderful platform for the future that you decide to create. However, there are key components you need to understand before embarking on your journey. You must decide how you will make decisions for the future before you are ever in those situations.
Character matters in sports
You may think it odd that a college discussion would begin with talking about character. Greater weight rest on the shoulders of the youth today to choose, pursue and model character. Especially for athletes! Because whatever you do in secret and whatever you carry in your heart, whatever motivates you to pursue sports, especially once you reach collegiate level, the spotlight is on you – even when you can’t see it.
Are athletes held to a higher standard?
It depends on from who and where you are. Some people and programs will hold you to the higher standard, and some will not. Athletes are revered and, in some respects, held to a higher standard because people judge themselves based on what they see of themselves in athletes. We are memorialized in media as only a few specific personality types. However, we know that each athlete is as individually unique as any other person.
Although you are a part of a team the reality is those teammates do not go home with you at night or live with you through some of the biggest milestones in your life. Therefore, the decisions that you make need to be very self-focused. You need to focus on what is best for you and your future.
Set your skills to play college ball
Two or three years of repetition and consistent training through proper, individualized skills should have a young player fundamentally sound. But don’t think it’s time to stop. That will get you fundamentally sound, not sound on the advanced skills. You always want to continue to improve in both basics and advanced skills. So again, just because you can do a certain drill and think you are great.
Set your attitude right
There are certain skills that nobody ever masters. Executing with consistency. If you think that’s easy, then you should be on the national team or playing pro. We must all learn to be humble. Even a pro player will admit there are skills they are not perfect. It’s more the attitude you have towards development than being good at it.
It’s worth paying the extra $400 – $1500 per year on extra training or spending the extra hundred hours on your own. When you get 50% of your college paid for, it more than pays for itself. Plus you’re better at something you love, which probably makes you happier.
Learning to put in the extra work gets us better results. Just like when you study for your test… If you put in the extra time to study you will get better grades, and it’s the same with sports.
10 reasons why recruited h.s. players never play college
- The desire to continue at a higher level while trying to study and focus on a future career – If you played soccer for 10 years, you know what pain feels like and how much dedication it takes.
- Wanted to attend a school that didn’t want them for soccer [Academics or Prestige over Soccer]
- Mentally drained from certain coaches, Anxiety of competing at the “higher level” (Believe it or not, stress comes with the game from wanting to impress coaches/parents) plus as a competitor you want to do well but it can be mentally draining to certain personalities.
- Social life becomes some people’s passions over soccer
- Grades not good enough for certain schools and sometimes any schools
- Injury at the wrong time (recruiting time)
- Helping Family sometimes keeps people from leaving home
- Drug addiction
- Premarital intercorse = baby
- Trouble with law can keep people from having the freedom to travel out of their county
When to invest in your college path
If you see the passion and athletic ability at a young age (e.g., ages 7-11), you should invest your time and money in private skills training. At age 15 you could already have interest from college coaches. Back in 2018 I had HS Freshman committed to big D1 schools. Then the rule was changed where they couldn’t commit that young. There are over 1500 boys and 1500 girls college soccer programs (D1, D2, D3, NAIA, Junior College). Learn how to promote your talent & earn scholarship.
Certain areas in America are soccer hotbeds. In Texas, for example, they hold the #1 Tournament [Dallas Cup], D1 and top ranked D2 and Junior Colleges, 2 MLS Teams. The chances of playing college soccer are high when you break down the number of college programs in America who all have a hard time recruiting compared to football & basketball.
College soccer recruiting
To play college soccer, the main thing you need is DESIRE! If you want it, you have to believe in it and work hard every day b/c the days add up and once your opportunity comes you will be prepared. You don’t have to play in the best league from age 8-16 to end up playing college soccer! Many of the best players at age 9-14 will not be playing soccer when they are 16 – 22 years old because there are so many bumps in the road. Others lose opportunity because they didn’t know the difference from recruitment vs tryouts.
Search more what you want in our search box of the blog. There is so much to learn about youth soccer and the more you are prepared, the better the outcome for all of your family. A good coach or trainer will help you determine what is best for your child, but remember I am always here to help too.
Put in offseason work to play college ball
Those who put in the work when nobody is watching are the one who become great. If you want to be a starter or an all-american, you have to put in the work during the off-season. Not only will you play better, but you’ll feel better mentally knowing you have prepared.