The college recruiting process for soccer scholarships is one of the most competitive in all of college sports. College coaches are evaluating / recruiting athletes in the eighth and ninth grade, and the top recruits are making their verbal commitments to programs during their 9th and 10th grade year. This means getting started in the soccer scholarship recruitment process is up to the recruit and their family.
There are a lot of colleges that have men's and women's soccer for high school graduates. The colleges and universities vary widely in size, location, and academic offering, and the soccer programs sponsored range from moderately to very competitive.
College soccer programs can be NJCAA (junior college), NAIA, NCAA DIII, NCAA DII, NCAA DI.
It is very important that you, as a family, factor in everything before making a decision. Location, size of school, type of school (private / public / religious), athletic level, cost you are able to spend and the level of academics.
Remember that the "full ride" scholarship is, for the most part, a myth.
In addition, only a small percentage of high school soccer players get athletic based scholarships or even a roster spot on a college team. If you are offered an athletic scholarship you are in the minority.
Remember, it is very important that you pick the school that is the overall best fit for you regardless of if you get a scholarship or not. At times, academic or need based aid is more than what you can get in athletic scholarship.
A player must do the following in the recruiting process:
- Prepare yourself academically. Meet with high school academic advisor about your desire to play college athletics.
- Prepare yourself athletically
- Identifying realistic college options (10 - 15 Schools) Speak with your coach and get realistic feedback about what type of schools you should look into. Be open to the random recruiting process. This is when a coach randomly finds out that you could add a school you did not consider to your list.
- Create profile sheet and short highlight video
- Make contact with the schools you identified. Do this yourself. Make it personal and don't have your parents send for you.
- Follow up on a regular basis with schools that are at the top of your list.
- Go on as many unofficial visits as you can. Unofficial visits are visits that are paid for by the prospect and not the school. These visits happen, for the most part, as campus tours or a random stop by to visit the coaches. You can go on as many unofficial visits as you want. It is ok to call or leave a message with the coach to inform them you will be on campus.
- Attend ID Camps
- Testing. Prepare for and take the ACT or SAT test.
- Register for the NCAA ID Center
- Don't feel rushed to make a decision. Make a decision when you feel it is right and you feel like you have all the information you need.