There are limited athletic scholarships in Men’s & Women’s College Soccer. A fully funded Division 1 Men’s Program has 9.9 scholarships available. A fully funded Women’s program has 14 scholarships available. When you consider the average roster size of a college program is around 28 players, you realize that there isn’t enough scholarship money to cover an entire team. Coaches are also allowed to split the money up, offering varying levels of athletic scholarship dollars to various members of the program, but competition for these dollars is very stiff. The following link provides useful soccer specific athletic scholarship information and stats for schools at each level of competition. http://www.scholarshipstats.com/soccer.html
Academic scholarships are more plentiful, and provide another reason for students to focus heavily on the books. If a student’s GPA and/or test scores are in good place, they may qualify for an academic scholarship. Depending on the school, it may be possible for the coach to combine this academic scholarship money with other forms of aid (athletic, need-based, etc). Furthermore coaches know that student-athletes with good grades are likely to continue that strong academic performance in college.
Need based financial aid may also be available for families, as well certain types of grants & loans. Families should become familiar with various schools Net Price Calculator in order to get a sense for what the cost of that school might look like for the family. Federal Aid is determined by the FAFSA form, which families can fill out in the fall of a student’s senior year. The following links provide some helpful information families seeking more information on paying for college and available scholarships.
The college soccer recruiting process is largely a “proactive” endeavor as opposed to a “reactive one.” College soccer coaches have limited budgets to search the country for the best and brightest and so it’s in the best interest of student-athletes to reach out to college coaches directly to hopefully begin a conversation.
Student-Athletes can begin a correspondence with college coaches as early as their freshman year. Email is the best way to communicate and students should be personalized and specific when letting coaches know why they are interested in their program. Students should include their graduation year, GPA, club team, positions on the field and a brief summary of their athletic experience. A Player Profile (include link to FC Portland profile template) is also an important component so that the coach can get a feel for the student’s background along with coach references. NCAA rules prohibit D1 & D2 coaches from substantial correspondence with freshman and sophomores but they can send prospects a questionnaire or college ID camp information. So it’s in the best interest of student-athletes to communicate early in high school and to be persistent throughout their high school career. A sample introductory email can be found here.
Video has become an increasingly important component in the recruiting process. It’s very common for coaches to request video at some point in the dialogue with student-athletes. While it’s rare that a coach will recruit a player based on video alone, a well thought out video can go a long way in peeking their interest. Check out the following link for some helpful tips on video. https://pgmethod.wordpress.com/2012/12/
College coaches look for talented student-athletes in a number of places. High-level tournaments such as the FC Portland Winter Showcase, where elite teams go to compete is one of the most common places to find scouts. Generally, college coaches can be found in places where they can see very good players competing against each another.
College ID camps have become commonplace in recent years, with schools at every level offering prospective student-athletes the chance to be seen. It’s best to attend camps being held by schools of interest and better yet, at schools where the coach has given some indication they would like you to attend. Showing up to an ID camp of nowhere and hoping the coach will identify you isn’t the best strategy. The following links provide valuable insights on ID camps.
What are coaches looking for?
In addition to talent and good grades, college coaches are looking for good people. They want to find kids that will not only come into their program and help them win games, but student-athletes who will contribute to the culture of their program and University. It’s very common for college coaches to check in with a club coach during the recruiting process to find out more information on a student-athlete, and often times this conversation has little to do with soccer. They want to learn about the student’s personality, work-rate and habits off the field. It’s vital that student-athletes conduct themselves in a professional manner. Coaches are looking for responsible young adults!
As social media becomes more integrated into our daily lives, it’s important that student-athletes present themselves in a positive light. If there are questionable pictures, posts, content on a student’s social media page, that may result in the coach losing interest in that prospect. Be smart about what you post! It will be out there for the world to see.
Have questions about the college process or recruiting?