College Soccer Opportunities

There are 994 men's and 1,183 women's college soccer programs in the United States.

College Soccer Teams and Affiliation

   Affiliation Men Women
   Division I 198  310 
   Division II 179  225 
   Division III 400  425 
   NAIA 217  223 
   Total 994  1,183 
*Information compiled from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (the "NSCAA") and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (the "NAIA") websites.

Approximately 60,562 players are currently participating in college soccer. Due to the application of Title IX, women's soccer is one of the fastest growing intercollegiate sports.

   Affiliation Men Women
   Division I 5,148  8,060 
   Division II 4,654  5,850 
   Division III 10,400  11,050 
   NAIA 7,595  7,805 
   Total 27,797  32,765 
*Figures based upon all National Collegiate Athletic Association (the "NCAA") teams fielding maximum allowable roster of 26 players and NAIA teams fielding a 35 player roster.

Each year college coaches need to find incoming freshmen players to replace their graduating senior players. On average each NCAA team roster will lose 6.5 players, while NAIA will need to replace 8.75 players. This means, annually, that 15,140 soccer players (6,949 men and 8,191 women) must be identified and recruited to college soccer teams.


College Scholarships

Many colleges provide soccer scholarships for their soccer programs to entice top academically qualified players to their teams to ensure the future competitiveness of their programs.

Maximum Number of Scholarships Per Affiliation Division

   Affiliation Men Women
   Division I 9.9  14 
   Division II 9.9 
   Division III None  None 
   NAIA 12 12

One of the differences among Division I, II and III colleges is that Division I and II colleges may offer athletic scholarships. Although Division III schools do not offer athletic scholarships, Division III schools may offer academic scholarship money to athletes which may meet or exceed the amounts provided by Division I or II athletic scholarships. Not all NCAA Division I and II soccer programs will be granted the maximum allowed number of scholarships by their athletic departments. The NAIA is not part of the NCAA. NAIA teams may offer a maximum of 12 scholarships to athletes.

Coaches have the option to allocate a full scholarship to a player or divide up the scholarship amount among a number of players. Prior to entering negotiations with a college for a scholarship, it is important for an athlete to know how many soccer scholarships a college has available and to have a realistic understanding of his or her value to the college’s soccer program.

For those players that are likely to make a positive and significant impact to a team, a full or partial scholarship or tuition discount is a strong possibility.


Academic Aid

The greater an athlete’s academic achievements, the more college options he or she will have. Many colleges offer academic aid to students who meet certain specific standards. To attract a player to his or her program, the college coach will likely try to include as much academic aid as possible into the athletic package. The earlier a qualifying academic aid student commits to the school, the more likely the coach will be able to obtain the available aid for the player.

Many parents boast to friends that their son or daughter was recruited to play college soccer and received a scholarship. The reality is that the majority of college soccer players are receiving money because they qualified for academic or other merit aid.


Showcasing Recruitment

Unlike other American sports, college soccer coaches typically do not focus on scholastic high school soccer to recruit talent.

College Showcase Tournaments have become the primary means by which college coaches identify and evaluate potential collegiate athletes. An established showcase event will attract over a hundred teams and provide college coaches with a cost effective means to evaluate large volumes of players in a competitive environment. Therefore, there is a large incentive for players and teams to attend showcase events, particularly during their junior year of high school, because of the potential exposure to college coaches.

It is recommended that any soccer player who wishes to compete at the college level find a team that not only improves their performance as a player but also offers the player a competition calendar that offers exposure at showcase tournaments.


Showcase Misconception

Many soccer players/parents mistakenly believe that just by attending a showcase tournament they will be discovered by a college coach at a game. This approach will sadly limit the athlete's college options. A showcase event with a hundred teams will have over 1,600 players. It is impossible for a college coach to randomly identify athletes that meet their soccer playing and educational requirements in a weekend.

Based upon our experience, unless the player is an absolute soccer standout, competing at the ODP National or Regional level, the amount by which you are recruited is not based solely on your ability as a player but rather your ability to market yourself effectively to a pool of colleges that realistically fit your academic and soccer potential.


Strategy

College Soccer Connector, LLC's mission is to educate, organize and simplify the recruitment process for parents and players and to help market the student’s athletic potential to "good fit" schools (College Soccer Connector, LLC will be hereinafter referred to as "College Soccer Connector" or "CSC") .

Soccer players that follow the CSC marketing program for recruitment will be able to attract the attention of a pool of college coaches, and greatly enhance their options.

Understanding the college soccer recruitment process, using the CSC recruitment marketing campaign, and being proactive during the recruitment timeline will maximize the athlete's exposure to college coaches and will thus increase the athlete's potential to be recruited, gain admittance to the school, receive scholarship assistance, and academic or financial aid.

 

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