College sports has so many special moments for the athlete, especially when it comes to college recruitment… I can still remember National signing day for me and my friends. It’s a special time to see all of your peers from different sports, boys and girls, all committing to their future schools. To me, the time of the year with all the College Sports Buzz is February & March because you have National Signing Day, which is usually the first Wednesday of February. Then you have March Madness basketball and several big youth soccer tournaments.
These days are filled with joy & the feeling of accomplishment and relief. But then there are the students who didn’t sign for whatever reasons. Some were recruited and offered spots but then get injured and lose the opportunity. These players have to be mentally tough and believe in themselves through this tough time. They have to know things will work out as long as they prepare by working hard on and off the field. New opportunity will come but you have to get your name out there and promote yourself. The players and their families have to work together to get their name out in front of university coaches.
2 ways to get your name out for soccer college recruitment
E-mail is a great way to first get your name out there! Let the coach know you are interested in their school and why. Let them know you watched them on tv or live and like their playing style.
Most of the Schools Don’t know you and You don’t know them, so make sure you are doing what you can to change this.
Attend a Camp during the Summer, but be realistic about it. Everyone wants to go to the top 5 schools in America but if you are already 16 and you are not on the national team or playing in the highest level in America than don’t go to that camp. Go to a local camp or a camp that you think you could make an impact with one day. Maybe it’s Division 2 or NAIA. D1 is not for everyone and every D1 school is not better than every D2 school. Attending a camp shows that you are interested in going to that school one day, so treat it like a tryout. Most kids treat it like an experience but I’m telling you the school is treating it as a tryout and business.
Recruited vs Tryouts for college soccer
There are the players who are getting recruited and offered scholarship money & then there are the players who are having to tryout. Some get offered scholarship without ever having to tryout and some are getting recruited and the coach wants to first see the player in action with their team. Then there are the players who the coach wants but has no intent on giving money the first year. This really is a fair deal because if you prove you can play and contribute then you can get scholarship your 2nd year (Sophomore). Even if the coach really wants you, he or she will still want you to come take a visit and meet the team.
If you’re not recruited to college soccer schools
Then you have the players who were never recruited & who don’t know where to start or what to do next. These are the players that need to contact as many schools as possible asap so that you can get your name out there. Be willing to travel and tryout with several schools. Get a great highlight video! This takes time and self belief. I believe in you and would love to help you out even more than I have so far. Take a look at the chart below to learn more about the opportunity.
Girls have a higher chance for college soccer recruitment
Girls have a higher chance compared to boys in receiving college offers, especially for Division 1, because there are over 100 more D1 Schools for Women. Most players do not promote themselves enough to get more schools interested. DA & ECNL players are going to get offers for sure by their Junior year but as young as Freshman in HS. Here’s the thing, they get about 5 – 10 schools really interested but what if they had 30 or 40 schools interested? You shouldn’t just wait for them to come to you.
College soccer regions in America
Certain regions in America have stronger players pool talent so girls who are not playing ECNL but are playing at the 2nd Tier League will still have great opportunity for D1 schools. I have seen a 3rd Tier player get a D1 offer but then end up sitting the bench and finding that school and maybe level was not for her. So think about things like this… You want to continue playing in college so get on a team where you have a chance to play by your Sophomore year. Unless you’re that person who would rather tell your friends you play D1 just because its D1. Remember we play to play, not sit the bench.
To play college soccer you have to have the unique mix of desire & athletic ability
Desire, Dedication & Discipline are all needed to achieve goals and stay happy in soccer. Then there is athleticism, skills, opportunity & luck and if someone has a decent amount of these combos it makes for a good player. From my experience in working with youth players through private lesson and clinics for a living, I can tell as early as 9-11 years old who is going to play college soccer.
There are certain players that have that mental desire to improve and that is the key. Not about how good they are at this point but the desire to improve. You can tell which ones really love soccer more than others. The ones who really get their outside club skills in are the ones who will be prepared all the way through HS and then on to college. Depending on if its D1 or D2 usually depends on a mix of athleticism and skills. A player who is a slow runner will have a hard time playing D1, even if they have great skills. Running can improve but for the most part this is a God-given gift. So for those who are more athletic at any age, you need to focus on skills to have that unique mix.
College Soccer Scholarship Opportunities (Change year to year)
|Division||# of Men’s||# of Women’s||# of Schools|
|USCAA & other 4 year||69||36||71|
|CCCAA & other 2 year||99||114||123|
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