An overview of important considerations for the student-athlete who wishes to play college soccer. Prepared for 2012 SD Soccer Association AGM& Workshops in conjunction with panel discussion by college soccer coaches.
So You Want to Play College Soccer? What every player and parent should know
SO . . . YOU WANT TO PLAYCOLLEGE SOCCER?
Know Your ABCs…..• NCAA – National Collegiate Athletic Association (Divisions I, II & III)• NAIA – National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics• NJCAA – National Junior College Athletic Association (Divisions I & III)• NCCAA – National Christian College Athletic Association (Divisions I & II)
NCAA Division I• How Many Schools: There are 199 mens soccer programs in Division I, including powerhouses like Indiana and UCLA. There are 320 womens programs, including titans like North Carolina, Notre Dame and Portland.• Scholarship Count: Womens soccer is allowed 14 scholarships. Mens soccer is allowed 9.9 scholarships.• Scholarship Breakdown: Scholarships can be full or partial rides at the Division-I level, but with rosters exceeding 20 players, they are used carefully.
NCAA Division II• How Many Schools: There are 179 mens programs and 227 womens programs in Division II soccer.• Scholarship Count: Womens soccer has 9.9 scholarships to work with. Men have nine scholarships.• Scholarship Breakdown: Partial rides are common in Division II soccer, as coaches can distribute the money to as many players as they wish.
NCAA Division III• How Many Schools: Division III soccer consists of 401 mens programs and 424 womens programs. Powers include Messiah (Pa.) College for the men and Wheaton (Ill.) College for the women.• Scholarship Count: Athletic scholarships are not offered in Division III athletics.• Scholarship Breakdown: With no athletic scholarships, students often find financial aid or academic scholarships to assist with costs while playing soccer.
NAIA• How Many Schools: There 218 mens programs in the NAIA and 223 womens programs.• Scholarship Count: Both mens and womens soccer are allowed 12 scholarships per team.• Scholarship Breakdown: Partial scholarships are common. Strong students who meet certain academic criteria can receive aid without it counting toward the programs limit.
NJCAA Division I• How Many Schools: There are 136 mens soccer programs at the junior-college level and 118 womens programs.• Scholarship Count: Mens and womens soccer are allowed 18 scholarships at the junior-college level.• Scholarship Breakdown: Many scholarships at the junior-college level are full rides, but partial rides are common, too.
NJCAA Division III• How Many Schools: There are 78 mens programs in NJCAA Division III, and 58 womens programs.• Scholarship Count: Much like Division III four- year schools, D-III schools at the junior-college level do not offer scholarships.
By the numbers….programsDivision Womens MensNCAA Division I 320 199NCAA Division II 227 179NCAA Division III 424 401NAIA 223 218NJCAA Division I 118 136NJCAA Division III 58 78
Athletic scholarships maximum.. (Not all schools are fully funded…)Division Women MenNCAA Division I 14 9.9NCAA Division II 9.9 9NCAA Division III - -NAIA 12 12NJCAA Division I 18 18NJCAA Division III - -
The Recruiting Process• Myth: “Schools will recruit me!”• Truth: Most players/parents end up recruiting the school
The Recruiting Process• Myth: “Walk on players never get anywhere.”• Truth: Some walk-on players can end up with more scholarship money than “regulars”!
The Recruiting Process• Step 1 – Research Schools – Size and location, academics – Quality of soccer program, coach, roster size and grade breakdown• Step 2 – Make List of Potential Schools – Include a few long shots, but majority of realistic choices• Step 3 – Contact Coach – e-mail is usually most effective – Inform coach of schedule for high school or club – Be sure to put jersey number, jersey colors, potential positions, field number, and opponent
The Recruiting Process• Step 4 – Set up a College Visit – Official Visit – Paid for by the school • Allowed only five • Can start after July 15 going into Senior year of h.s. – Unofficial Visit: Paid for on your own • Unlimited • Can take anytime – Alert the coach that you are coming and request meeting – Tour the campus, meet with admissions, etc…
The Recruiting Process• Step 5 – Follow up – Let the coach know what you thought of the visit and if you’d like to continue to stay in contact• Step 6 – Rank Visits – Keep a personal reflection after each visit
Recruiting Rules for D1• A prospective student-athlete can call coach at anytime• Coach can’t call a recruit until after July 1 of senior year in high school, then only once a week• A prospective student-athlete can e-mail coach at anytime, but coach can’t return e-mail until prospect’s junior year• Parent/Player shouldn’t approach college coach at a showcase or tournament.
Recruiting Rules for Everyone Else• A prospective student-athlete can call or e-mail coach at anytime• D2 Coach can’t call a recruit until after July 1 of junior year in high school• Less restrictions for D3, NAIA & NJCAA• New rule – coach can text you• Parent/Player shouldn’t approach college coach at a showcase or tournament.
When to Start the Process (FEMALES)• Process much earlier than males• DIVISION I LEVEL – Evaluation = Freshman or Sophomore Year – Commitments = Sophomore or Junior Year• DIVISION II LEVEL – Evaluation = Sophomore or Junior Year – Commitments = Junior Year, Early Senior Year• DIVISION III LEVEL – Commitments = Senior Year• Signing Period = Early February
When to Start the Process (Males)• Pressure to decide early not as great as girls• Identification starts during junior year.• Start visiting schools during junior year• Signing Date the same as females (Middle of February)
How to Gain ExposureClub vs. High School High School for local coaches Club just easier access and majority of the time is an overall higher levelCollege Showcases Team profilesODPCamps (summer, winter, identification)Visits, E-mails, Phone CallsRecruiting Services
What to Send to Coaches• 1 page profile sheet usually sufficient – High school name & phone number – Your cumulative GPA & class rank – Desired major (if you have one) – ACT/SAT scores – Your NAIA/NCAA Eligibility Number – Any honors or AP classes you have taken – Contact Information – email address, home mailing address, home phone, cell phone
What to Send to Coaches (cont)• Contact Information – – Your email address & home mailing address – Your home phone & cell phone – Your parents’ names & phone numbers – Your high school/club/ODP coaches names, phone numbers & email addresses – Your school contact information, including mailing address & phone number – Your guidance counselor name & contact info
What to Send to Coaches (cont)• Positions you play• Your physical characteristics – height & weight, 40-yd dash time w/ & w/o ball, mile time, vertical jump, long jump• Relevant stats for offensive players & GKs• Videos – include a link to highlight film – Most effective if coach hasn’t seen you play – Not necessary, unless coach asks for them• Schedules – be sure to include jersey number, colors, field location, opponent
Coach Smith,Hello, my name is Jane Doe and I play for the U17Mockingbird Valley Soccer Club team. My graduation year is2013. My jersey number is 17 and I play either outside backor outside midfield. I am interested in your school andsoccer program and would like for you to come to one of mygames if you are going to be attending either of thesetournaments. My team will be wearing white or green. I amgoing to be in Raleigh, NC for the showcase, FridayNovember 30 - Sunday December 2. My game times are asfollows:Friday 11/30/07 - 11:50am vs. Internationals, Field #2Saturday 12/1/07 - 1:40pm vs. Dynamo, Field #5Sunday 12/2/07 - 9:20am vs. CASL, Field #2
Additional Information• School Applications – some are more complex than others! Don’t procrastinate…..• Meet deadlines – there are others waiting for your spot and your scholarship money!• Early applications are best – especially for scholarship purposes• Reference Letters from High School Counselors – give them time to get them done and follow up. Don’t wait until after high school graduation!
Role of the Parent vs. Player• Coaches like to communicate with the player rather than the parent• Player should be the one contacting the coach, arranging visits, etc…• On a visit, important the player talks to the coach and not just the parent; should come with a list of questions
ScholarshipsFair Question to a coach: “Do you see me as a scholarship player?”Majority of soccer players are not on an athletic “full-ride”Athletic Scholarship is a year by year agreement, not a four year agreementMost scholarships are increased before decreased
Important Things to Know• FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) – Should be completed right after Jan 1st of senior year. Most schools require FAFSA to be considered for any scholarship – including academic.
Important Things to Know• Walk On - An athlete who becomes part of a team without being actively recruited beforehand or awarded an athletic scholarship.• Red Shirt - A delay or suspension of an athletes participation in order to lengthen his or her period of eligibility. A student athlete may attend classes at the college/university, practice with the team, and dress for play but he or she may not compete during the game. (Also medical redshirt, a hardship waiver if less than 30% of competitions played)
Important Things to Know• NCAA Eligibility Center (Formerly known as the Clearinghouse) – register to confirm eligibility in junior year if playing D1 or D2. Cost is $60• NAIA Eligibility Center (New in 2011) – register to confirm eligibility at end of junior year if playing NAIA. Can also complete a student-athlete profile. Cost to register is $65