Each of us watches professional soccer players on tv. We read about them online and we try to learn from them. However, the true details behind their success is often not discussed. Recently, Goalden was fortunate to interview Honefoss Bk goalkeeper Steve Clark about his success in division one college soccer at Oakland University in Michigan and his transition to the professional game. Honefoss Bk is a club in the professional Norwegian league. Clark’s story is a great example of hard work, dedication and the passion for pursuing a dream no matter the challenges ahead of you.
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.
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.
Athletic scholarships drive college searches more than they should. Some parents seem to think the money they’ve “invested” in training, teams and travel should come back to them by way of college scholarships.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the reality. Athletic scholarships should not drive the college selection process and it’s important to understand the advantages—and disadvantages—of receiving them.
As with many things in life if you want something, go get it. As one of my university professors once said “if you want change, you have to change yourself or your situation. You’re crazy to expect better results if you’re doing the same thing over and over again.” With that being said there are many soccer tournaments in North America that are great venues to participate in as a player that will expose you to the best players and top scouts around.