There are three collegiate associations within collegiate soccer that all have slightly different rules and restrictions when it comes to recruitment and participation. These associations are:
On their respective webpages, you can find information about the differences in each association.
COLLEGE SOCCER PROGRAMS:
There are over 1,200 Men’s and over 1,300 Women’s college soccer programs across the different levels in the US. You can find a complete list of Men’s Soccer Programs here and a Women’s Soccer Programs here.
FAQ: Do Colleges have Club teams?
Yes, some do. In addition to official college soccer programs, there are thousands of colleges that have club soccer teams where games and practices are organized by students. You can find out if a college has a club soccer team by contacting the recreation department at the institution.
In order to play soccer in college, athletes must meet the academic standards set by the association to be eligible. Admission standards at individual institutions sometimes differ from the standards set by the associations. To attend and play at a particular college, student-athletes must meet both requirements.
The NCAA and NAIA athletic associations have eligibility centers that athletes have to go through to be classed as eligible and you can find these below:
NCAA Eligibility Center
NAIA Eligibility Center
FAQ: My child was offered a full scholarship to play at D1. Based on her GPA and SAT score she is eligible to play at NCAA but she wasn’t accepted to the school because her GPA and SAT scores weren’t high enough, can the college coach speak to someone and get her accepted to the school?
No, each school has its own standards for admissions and college coaches cannot get around this.
An athletic scholarship is an amount of financial aid awarded to a student-athlete from the college’s athletic department. These athletic scholarships are awarded based on the student’s athletic abilities and how they can contribute to the team. A coach decides who receives scholarships and how much they are awarded.
Athletic scholarships are available at NCAA D1, D2, NAIA, and NJCAA but not NCAA D3 colleges. Each institution decides how many scholarships they make available to the coach to give out but they must work within the guidelines set by their athletic association which sets the maximum number of athletic scholarships that can be given out.
FAQ: If my children aren’t offered athletic scholarships, can they still play on a college soccer team?
Yes, there are many players who play in college that do not receive an athletic scholarship. As long as a coach wants the player on the team and the player is eligible they can play without receiving an athletic scholarship.
In order to play soccer in college, players need to be recruited by a college coach, and to be recruited it helps to make contact with coaches. Each athletic association has its own rules on when, and how players can contact coaches and it is important to know these rules. College coaches will not respond to calls, voicemails, or emails outside of the timeframes set by the associations because they can get in trouble from the associations for doing so.
FAQ: When I email a coach, what should I put in the email?
College coaches receive lots of emails each day from potential recruits. When contacting a coach via email be sure to give info about your grades, ACT/SAT results, and playing level. You should also personalize the email by using the coaches name and adding in something about the program to show the coach you have a real interest and have done some research Do not copy and paste the same email to numerous coaches! If you have a highlight video you should also attach this to the email.
the college process
THE COLLEGE TIMELINE:
Plan to take college prep courses for next 4 years
Set academic goals that meet school admissions and NCAA/NAIA requirements
Plan to maintain highest possible GPA for next 4 years
Participate in your HS Soccer team as well as your club team
Keep a record of all your academic and athletic achievements
Begin to create a student player profile
Create a list of colleges you may be interested in
Continue taking college prep courses; maintain the highest possible GPA
Take the PSAT and plan to assess your strengths and needs
Research colleges and college majors
Visit colleges when opportunities arise
Make sure you have your core courses set – English, Maths, History, Science. Proficiency in a foreign language also appeals to colleges.
Continue progressing towards completion of your academic courses required by the NCAA/NAIA
Fill out an online recruiting questionnaire for all colleges in which you have an interest.
Evaluate test scores and seek help in areas of weakness
Make initial contact with the college coaching staff of programs that interest you in order to introduce yourself. (Remember NCAA schools cannot reach out or respond to you yet). Include your soccer schedule and highlight video in this email.
Continue taking college prep and AP Courses
Register for SAT and/or ACT
Meet with your coach for a realistic evaluation and discuss your goals - Which college level should you target.
Send a letter of interest and resume to college coaches. Keep them updated with your schedule and achievements all year.
Set your academic and athletic goals high this year – this will be your most important year of high school.
Understand application procedures and entrance requirements of the schools of your choice.
Attend college tours
Research college majors and careers
Request college brochures for information on scholarships and financial aid sources
Discuss college options with counselor and family
Consider attending college ID Clinics of the programs that interest you.
Finalize your college list
Attend Campus tours of the schools that interest you.
Consider re-taking the ACT and or SAT score to improve grades if they don’t meet the entry requirements for the schools of your choice.
Prepare and submit application packages.
Pay attention to important dates, deadlines, requirements
Ask teachers to fill in recommendation forms.
Have your High School send your transcripts to schools that you apply for
Schedule and prepare for college interviews