College recruiters often begin tracking a scholarship prospect as early as the player’s freshman year of high school, and even seventh or eighth grade. Soccer recruitment starts early because of the limited number of scholarships and fierce competition among athletes. Colleges and universities offer soccer scholarships for the Division I, II, and III levels and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics schools.
Colleges and universities that offer college athletic programs are grouped into different division levels. Division I schools have to sponsor seven or more sports for men and women. Division II schools must sponsor at least four sports for both genders. Division III schools must sponsor at least five sports for men and women.
Preparing for Recruitment
To increase your chances of being recruited into a college soccer program and receiving an athletic scholarship, begin as early as possible studying the National Collegiate Scouting Association’s rules and guidelines for recruitment and athletic scholarships. Be prepared to prospect a large pool of colleges that offer scholarship programs for soccer. Soccer coaches often recruit new players using third-party sources, such as the NCSA. Most of the third-party organizations allow soccer athletes to build an online profile. By building an online profile, you have the opportunity to be evaluated by soccer coaches from a wide variety of colleges nationwide. Your profile should include your academic and athletic resumes.
Many college coaches recruit aspiring collegiate soccer players after viewing their highlight videos and game statistics on their online profiles. Alternatively, you can send a letter, resume and highlight video to recruiting coaches at prospective schools. A highlight video includes game footage that demonstrates your exceptional athletic skills. The video should show a large portion of the field to allow coaches to view your skills with and without the ball. The highlight video can include several different soccer plays. You can upload this information on your online profile. The highlight video should comprise your best soccer game moments and should include footage keeping pace with what soccer recruitment coaches want to see, such as ball juggling and dribbling. Before scheduling an in-person evaluation or sending a letter to request more information, most collegiate soccer coaches will evaluate online profiles of soccer athletes.
A credible third-party national scout for soccer can help match you with the right soccer levels for you and the best schools that would fit your athletic and academic skills. Scouts will also send your highlight video and academic and athletic resume to college coaches. Some of the nationally recognized soccer scouts are the National Collegiate Scouting Association, Athnet, beRecruited and College Sports Scholarships organizations.
Grade Point Average
There is a minimum grade point average, SAT score and ACT score to be able to play collegiate soccer. Also, many athletic scholarships offered by colleges and universities require applicants to meet the minimum GPA, SAT and ACT scores. According to the NCSA soccer recruiting guidelines, the grade point average minimum is 3.0. The minimum ACT score is 24, and the minimum SAT score is 1000 out of 1600. However, some colleges have more lenient academic requirements and determine whether an individual should receive a soccer scholarship based upon an aggregate evaluation of the GPA and either the SAT or ACT score.