A reader from Brazil recently asked about the process required to land a soccer scholarship to an American university. We encourage you to take a look through some of our other blogs regarding college scholarships and the recruitment process. We go into more detail there. But for starters you need to focus and decide what area of the country/schools you are looking to be recruited to, decide what division you are going to concentrate on (DI, DI, DIII, NAIA) and decide how the coaches who make the decisions will see you play.
To participate in Division I or Division II athletics, students must register and be certified by the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse. Students can get information on registering on the NCAA website at http://www.ncaaclearinghouse.net/.
NCAA Division III schools are generally the smallest in the NCAA, although some larger schools, such as New York University, are in DIII. Many of the four hundred twenty schools are private and high quality. The competition level of D III schools varies widely. Catholic University, Kenyon College, Transylvania University, Amherst, and Messiah College are examples of DIII schools.
Several organizations govern college athletics. These groups establish the rules for sports programs at the schools that belong to their associations. They also run championships and establish eligibility requirements for the student athletes attending member schools.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the oldest and largest national sports organization in the United States. This is the group many think of when considering college sports. The schools in the NCAA range from the largest universities to small colleges. They are grouped into three divisions.
If you’re hoping to play soccer in college, there are many things to consider beyond the general characteristics (large, small, urban, rural, etc.) of the school. At some point you’ll want to speak to the coaches at schools on your list, but you can check out many aspects of the soccer programs prior to contacting them. This will help you further winnow the list of schools you’re considering.
If you want to play soccer in college, you can’t sit back and wait for coaches to contact you. Only the top few percent of players are recruited without promoting themselves. The rest (which is almost all players) need to market themselves in order to catch a coach’s attention.
If you’re a high school soccer player and want to play in college, start planning early, as early as your freshman year. It might seem like you have plenty of time before you need to think about college, but the months will go by quickly. There are things you can do, even before entering high school, that will get you started on your college search and position you so that you can best promote yourself as you enter your junior and senior years.
Many soccer players spend hours training on the field perfecting their skills hoping to one day receive a scholarship so they can play varsity soccer. They put together highlight videos and market themselves to coaches across the country. Then they have the attention of several different varsity coaches. However, despite all of their efforts many athletes put aside the importance of education, more specifically preparing for the SAT exam.
Is your goal to play college soccer? If so, what level? Is your long term goal to play in the MLS? Whatever your goal may be, do not look past division 2, division 3 or NAIA soccer. There is still plenty of talent and competition within those divisions to greatly improve your soccer skills and knowledge of the game which can help you achieve the goal of playing at a higher level and eventually the MLS.
Are you trying to get scouted? If you are, you probably have a lot of questions. Below are some of the basic questions and points that are often over-looked and forgotten about in the recruiting process. Educate yourself in the rules, regulations and procedures of the recruiting process and you will benefit greatly from it.
I recently watched a video by the famous life coach Anthony “Tony” Robbins and couldn’t help but think that this is exactly what soccer players need to watch and hear. Many people incorrectly label Tony as a motivational speaker. Tony is not a motivation speaker, Tony is a life coach. What’s the difference? A motivational speaker can be anybody; it is someone who understands all the trends that lead to success and then tells others about these theories. Life coaches like Tony, on the other hand, are proven professionals. He has actually taken his message, gone out into the world and challenged people to change their lives. He has proven over and over that when you align your life goals with your life practices – or as Tony refers to it as “standards” and “rituals” – you can become better than ever at whatever it is you want.