Ever wonder what you need to do to play soccer in college on a scholarship?
There are well over three million registered youth soccer players in the United States alone. Each year thousands of graduating seniors go on to college in hopes of earning a spot on the school team. Unfortunately for many of these high school seniors-come-college-freshmen, the chances of being accepted as a walk on are slim to none.
These days, college coaches make their selections for places in their teams and allocation of their scholarship dollars well in advance of that year’s incoming freshman class. College coaches commonly scout as many as 3-5 years in advance for incoming student athletes. The process for a player to gain the attention and ultimately earn the trust of a college is a long and complicated one. There are many more players than there are places and competition for those coveted positions in a college soccer program is fierce.
More and more it is up to the player to distinguish themselves both on the field and inside the classroom in order to attract the attention of the school they are interested in. There is no simple solution or magic bullet that will guarantee a collegiate scholarship to a player, but there are several practices that can be observed that will dramatically increase the likelihood of a student finding the right college for their athletic and academic ambitions.
Launched in February 2015, iSoccerPath is a company that specializes in educational and athletic evaluation of recruit eligible soccer players. They have designed and implemented comprehensive parent and player education and assistance programs that include assessment of skills on the field and skills in the classroom. Founded by a former US National Women’s Soccer Team Coach, a MLS professional player, and parents of Division 1 athletic scholarship sons and daughters, iSoccerPath seeks to educate, evaluate, and work with youth players and their parents over the course of their middle and high school years to best position players to become student athletes at the collegiate level.
There are a myriad of factors that come together to result in roster spots and athletic scholarships being awarded to young prospects. PSAT, SAT, ACT, GPA are all equally if not more important than on field ability. iSoccerPath excels in evaluating a student’s academic level and pairing their playing ability with the most realistic opportunities available for each individual student athlete. Not every player will be awarded an athletic scholarship to an elite D1 university. These days the “average” youth player looking for a scholarship is exceptionally talented on the field, has extremely high grades, and has scored well on standardized tests. The folks at iSoccerPath pride themselves on finding the right fit for any and every level of player who wants a chance to become a student athlete. The curriculum is designed specifically to help parents and players at any club regardless of league or division. What you will get from iSoccerPath is an honest appraisal, in a timely fashion, of where your child best fits in; whether that is a D1, D2, D3, NAIA, or JuCo level school. At each of these institutions there are athletic programs that will enable young student athletes to continue to play the game they love while earning a degree which will ultimately help prepare them for the real world.
Although iSoccerPath has only recently been formalized as a company, the founding members have been active in coaching youth soccer players for many years and bring a variety of valuable skills, insights, connections, and knowledge to the organization. They are all aligned with the same vision to help parents learn the secrets of the recruiting process and to honestly evaluate the players who they serve.
One truly impressive initiative is the College Athlete Advisor Program that connects young student athletes with players who are currently in college and have successfully gone through the recruiting process. Some of these men and women are not only playing in the top programs in the US, but are top students and All-Academic performers for their schools as well as in leadership positions and more! Your son or daughter will have the ability to speak with them one on one to ask advice, get help, or simply just talk about what they are going through.
Things like staying local vs. moving further from home, attending a school in an urban vs. rural community, living on or off campus, meeting and maintaining admission standards, and oh yes, declaring a major are all major factors that should be taken into account when searching for an ideal school to attend.
Evaluating the state of the soccer program at any given school, comparing and contrasting the player’s strengths and style of play to that of the collegiate team, and narrowing down the multitude of options out there to the best fit for any given individual are all procedures with which the experts at iSoccerPath can help guide young student athletes into making the best decisions for themselves.
Oftentimes parents believe that because their child plays on an elite youth team consisting of serial winners that their child is a shoe-in for a scholarship. The truth is that youth teams don’t go to college. Youth players go to college. Sure there are serious benefits to playing elite youth club soccer. A good youth club will empower a young player by providing them with sound technical ability and tactical awareness. Playing with an elite youth team will provide opportunities for players to learn how to travel and to regularly be seen in showcase tournaments.
A well run youth club setting will also teach players to have upstanding soccer character as well. Outside of those things though, youth clubs have no mandate to ensure NCAA eligibility, or provide life skills training to their players, or to assist with tutoring, or organizing informational college panels, or providing education on navigating the treacherous financial aid system. This is where iSoccerPath fits in.
If you have a child who loves to play soccer and harbors aspirations of attending university, then you should take a good hard look at what iSoccerPath has to offer.
I was fortunate enough to speak with Jeff Jaye, founder of iSoccerPath who took the time to explain how his organization was founded and what their mission is. You can learn more about iSoccerPath here