You have to figure out if a soccer program comes close to being a fit for YOU athletically.
You also have to figure out if a college is a good fit for you academically, but for this article we’ll focus on athletics.
HOW do you figure out if you’re a good fit for a specific college’s soccer team?
Glad you asked!
Here are steps to follow when you’re considering a specific college’s soccer program:
- See what division they’re in. D1 schools are going to be DEMANDING soccer-wise. D2 schools are still going to be demanding, but NCAA says that D2 schools emphasize more of a “balance” in a student-athlete’s lifestyle. D3 schools don’t give athletics scholarships, and they have an even bigger emphasis on academics. They could still have very strong soccer programs, but there is more of that emphasis on academics. Do you want that demanding D1 environment? Does D2 or D3 appeal to you more? Only you can answer that.
- Go to the school’s website and look at their record, their division, their championships & conference titles that they’ve won. Of course every school is going to want to win championships, but you’ll be able to tell if they’re one of the “powerhouses” in their conference pretty easily.
- Look at the roster. Is it mostly international? You’ll have a harder time if it is. It won’t be impossible to make that roster, but it will be harder, because any American player will need to be a “blue chip” “ELITE” player. Is it mostly American players? That works in your favor. Is the roster full of players that are 6’+? You can tell a lot about the types of players the coach recruits by looking at that roster! You don’t want to try to fit your square peg into their round hole. Look to see if the roster loosly fits with the type of person you are. Also, see how many players will be graduating the year you enter college. They may have 1 or 2 players graduating, or they may have 10! That will make a big difference in how much the coach will be looking at players in your grad year.
- Find their game broadcasts online and watch them play. Find their game highlights on social media. Go see a game in person. See if you can envision yourself fitting in on that field with that coach’s style. This will come in VERY handy when you email the coach! She/he will love to read “I watched your game against XXXXX last week. The team looked great, and I love your quick style of play… So-and-So’s goal was amazing, especially since it developed all the way from the defense…”
Have you found a school you want to put in your list? What now?
You need to collect all of the info about the soccer coaches. Go to the school’s athletics site. Every school also has an “athletics directory” where you can get all of the contact info very quickly. Note the coaches’ names, phone numbers, and email addresses and add them to a list that you’re keeping of college info. If there’s anything in a coach’s bio that interests you, NOTE THAT in your organizer. Example: Coach Smith played at Pepperdine. Your mom went to Pepperdine. Write “Pepperdine alum” in your notebook next to the coach’s name so you’ll remember to bring that up when you email that coach.
Enjoy the journey. Visit schools with family & friends. Have fun!