This page is for any player planning on playing college soccer.
If you are planning on playing Division I or Division II College Soccer, you need to be aware of a few things:
1st: Academics - To play Division I athletics, you need to be certified by the NCAA Clearinghouse. They use a sliding scale which is available at the site http://www.ncaa.org/eligibility/cbsa/academic.html Be sure you understand that your Core GPA does not include classes like Gym, Keyboarding, Art, etc. Your Core GPA is calculated by the NCAA Clearinghouse using ONLY your CORE COURSES. Core courses are English, mathematics, natural/physical science, social science, foreign language, or computer science. You also need to understand the conversion from the NCAA's 4.0 scale, to John Jay's Grading Scale.
The following is a scale I got from the Guidance Office at Jay:
4.0 Scale Letter Grade Percent Grade
2.0 - 2.24 C - 70 - 72
2.25 - 2.49 C 73 - 76
2.5 - 2.74 C + 77 - 79
2.75 - 2.99 B - 80 - 82
3.0 - 3.24 B 83 - 86
2nd: Soccer - To be recruited to play college soccer, you really need to SELL YOURSELF to the college coaches of your choice. For example, if you have a list of 10 schools you are thinking of attending, you need to familiarize yourself with the soccer programs (search for their web site, they all have one). You need to see a few of these teams play so you can get a feel for the level of play and your chances of getting on the field. After you have done your research, you need to CONTACT THE COACHES!!! You need to email them, call them, write to them. Tell them you saw them play, tell the coach you feel as though you can contribute to his team. Send the coach your club teams schedule, send him you high school teams schedule, send the coach a highlight video of yourself. YOU WILL NOT BE RECRUITED UNLESS YOU CONVINCE THE COACH TO RECRUIT YOU. That is not a typo.....you need to sell yourself to the coach that it is worth his/her time to come and see you play. THIS WILL NOT TAKE PLACE WITH ONE PHONE CALL OR ONE LETTER! It will take place over time........many of letters, emails, phone calls, tapes, etc. You need to be aggressive.
As a former Division I coach, I know what it takes to get the attention of a college coach. First, you have to educate yourself on the soccer program and MAKE SURE YOU CAN PLAY THERE AND CONTRIBUTE TO THEIR TEAM. Not everyone can play at Virginia, you have to be honest with yourself and realistic. Once you have done your research, call the coach and talk to him/her. Tell him/her that you know what their record is, you've seen them play OR you're seen teams they've played against play (that will help you to get a feel for the level of play if you can't see them live). Tell the coach about the teams you're on and give him some of your coaches phone numbers. Also, tell the coach you will send him/her a highlight video. Twenty minutes after you hang up the phone, the coach will forget who you are. So when you send the highlight video out to him the next day, send a letter with it reminding the coach of your phone conversation. 1 week later, CALL the coach AGAIN. Ask the coach if he/she received your video and ask them what they thought. Now you are starting to develop a relationship with the coach. Based upon what the coach says about your tape, encourage the coach to come see you play in person. Maybe you are going to a tournament in Mass. over the summer, 30 minutes from the college. Don't be discouraged if the coach doesn't tell you you're the next Claudio Reyna. CONTINUE TO SELL YOURSELF. Be honest about other schools you are considering. This will begin the competitive juices flowing in the college coach to make sure he/she fairly evaluates you. The last thing any coach wants is to lose a good player to a rival school and have to face that player for the next 4 years.
It is very important for everyone to understand this:
To play Division I Soccer or to be Recruited to play Division I Soccer, it is very important for players to get themselves exposure separate from the High School season. Since the Fall season is when College teams play, it is very difficult for college coaches (or their assistants) to get to High School games. Furthermore, Division I coaches who have scholarship money to give will spend their time recruiting at the places and events that contain the highest number of talented players. These events include ODP events, Regionals (where State Cup winners compete), and State Cup Finals - in that order. The reason why college coaches attend ODP events is because the evaluation of talent has, to a large extent, already been done for them. Furthermore, many times college coaches are actually coaching ODP or Regional Teams. It simply doesn't make sense for a Division I Soccer Coach to attend 15 Section I soccer games when he/she can go to an ODP event and watch 1 Eastern New York ODP game against Eastern Pa. The collection of talented players is much greater at the ODP event.
If you don't make the ODP team, your next best bet is to find a club team that can win the State Cup. If you're able to win the state cup, it's almost the equivalent of making ODP because again a college coach will likely attend a Regional Match between the State Cup Champs from Eastern New York playing against the State Cup Champs from New Jersey.
If you're not on the ODP team or on a State Cup Championship Team, then you need to work with your club coach to see if you can attend any showcases as a team. These showcase tournaments are also very well attended by college coaches. IF YOU ARE ATTENDING ANY OF THESE SHOWCASES, CALL THE COLLEGE COACHES IN ADVANCE TO LET THEM KNOW YOU WILL BE THERE. BE SURE TO LET THE COLLEGE COACH KNOW YOUR SCHEDULE, THE NAME OF YOUR TEAM, THE FIELD YOU WILL BE PLAYING ON, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY (AND MOST OFTEN FORGOTTEN) TELL THE COLLEGE COACH YOUR JERSEY COLOR AND NUMBER!!! THAT WAY THEY WILL BE ABLE TO TELL WHO YOU ARE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
Finally, Financial Aid - There are plenty of ways to finance a college education and a "Soccer Scholarship" doesn't always have to be the answer. There are plenty of Division III Schools that would love to get their hands on a talented player. They have plenty of grants and financial packages to get you to come to their school. Don't rule out Division III programs, they often find more money for players than Division I schools do. The maximum amount of scholarship money a Division I program can give to soccer is 9.9 scholarships. As a result, not everyone on the team is on a "Full ride". In fact, often 15 or 16 players are splitting the 10 (just under 10 actually) scholarships. For example, let's say a College costs $30,000 to attend a year. If 16 players are on scholarship, then on average, each of the 16 players would receive about $18,500 if the program had the max. of 9.9 scholarships. That would leave $11,500 left to be paid. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you can go to an excellent State University for that amount. Furthermore, a Division 1 Coach could put a bunch of pressure on you to play well. In the worst case scenario (but I've seen it happen), a D-1 coach can make your life miserable so you quit and he/she can use YOUR scholarship money next year on an incoming freshman. At a D-3 school, they can't take away money from you because you're not playing soccer anymore! So you have the freedom at the D-3 school to stop playing if it's impacting negatively on your grades.
If I can be of any help, don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Remember, there is no replacement for hard work on the soccer field, hard work researching the colleges of your choice, hard work contacting and developing a relationship with the coach, and hard work researching other Financial Aid Opportunities.
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