Every year, families and athletes join scores of competitive SoCal soccer clubs in hopes of eventually grabbing the brass ring of a college soccer roster spot. Of course, these families enjoy and appreciate all of the benefits of having their children in sports — fitness, camaraderie, competition, etc — but with college admission rates plummeting while tuitions skyrocket, the lure of a soccer scholarship is a very appealing target.
How realistic is the dream of playing college soccer? Parents have all seen the discouraging infographics and statistics showing that very few high school athletes actually end up playing their sport in college. The NCAA is very clear about the low probability of playing college sports. Soccer parents here in southern California tend to optimistically think those stats don’t apply to their children. And they have a point!
NCAA statistics show that 5.7% of boys’ soccer players in high school go on to play NCAA soccer. The percentage is a little higher for girls, at 7%. For boys, that means about 1 out of every 20 boys’ soccer players in high school will go on to play NCAA soccer. For girls, 1 in 14. Southern California’s rich soccer soil has a reputation of producing some of the best youth soccer talent in the country. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of high schools across the country where very few players even have the goal of playing college soccer. It is completely realistic for a competitive club soccer player in Southern California to think he or she has a very good chance at being picked up by a college coach, even in the face of those daunting NCAA statistics.
With that optimism comes confusion for many soccer families, however.
- Where does a recruiting journey even begin?
- What are the rules?
- How do I know if a coach is even interested?
- Is my child’s club coach and director going to handle this for us?
- Do we have to join a US Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) team, or ECNL team, to be seen by college coaches?
- What happens to ECNL once the Girls’ Development Academy kicks off in 2017?
- What about these recruiting services we’ve seen advertised? Do we need to pay for that?
- How do we choose which camps to attend?
- My child’s team didn’t get into Surf Cup! Are we doomed?
- Why can’t we just have unlimited time and money?
Here at SoccerNation.com, we are beginning a College Recruiting division for soccer families across Southern California and the nation. We will be showcasing club success stories, sharing insights on NCAA and NAIA recruiting rules, and providing information about navigating the journey of college soccer recruiting. Stay tuned — it’s going to be a fun ride!