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.
NOTE: 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.
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.
- Attend High School orientation
- Set four year Academic Plan with your high school counselor
- Speak with your Club coach and start an evaluation folder asking them to assess your playing skills regularly.
- Set academic goals with family
- Set soccer achievements for yourself
- Wish List of college you would to attend
- Be apart of school activities (i.e. student government, club…)
- Community service opportunities
- Set Academic Plan for school year with counselor (Review & Revise)
- Review grades and goals with parents
- Start listing 20 schools you are interested in
- Add to your Club file a contact lists (include school, coaches name, e-mail)
- Attend “College Night” at high school functions
- Sign up for PSAT
- Attend IMPACT’s iSoccerPath night
- Meet with your club Coach or Director of Coaching with your parents to go over your plans
- Start gathering information to write your cover letter, and resume
- Your club folder should be filling up with information
- Continue to visit college campuses
- Focus on Grades!
- Review NCAA College-Bound Student-Athlete Guide
- Review & Revise your four year Academic Plan with high School counselor
- Have your Club college folder ready to use at all time
- Visit college nights and college fairs
- Verify SAT registration deadlines with high school counselor
- Get letters of recommendation
- Complete your Cover letter and Resume
- Review your Club folder with your Coach
- Visit colleges to find size and climate you preferred
- Take SAT and ACT
- Attend Financial Aid workshop
- Start NCAA Clearinghouse Application
- Take AP Classes or Honor Classes if possible
- Have your top 10 preferred college list
- Review college applications for admittance with your counselor
- Your Club team is competing in College Showcase Tournaments
- Really focus on your Grades – “Demand Excellence”
- Beware of Scholarship Scams
- Apply to the University of Choice (Sept., Oct., Nov.)
- Finalize application essay topics
- Finalize your recommendation letters
- Review application essay with parents and teachers for proofing
- Get Financial Aid forms on Jan. 1st
- Meet all application/ scholarship/ housing deadlines
- Parents and student meet with school counselor to finalize transcripts
- If necessary re-take SAT and ACT (last date in Dec.)
- Send Mid-Year & Final Transcripts for Clearinghouse
- Meet with Club Coach and Director of Coaching for assistance
- Follow up on all letters written to college coaches
- Have a strong soccer season
- Take recruiting visits
- Send final transcripts to the University you have accepted
- Attend Financial Aid meeting
- 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.