How to Get Recruited for College Soccer (The Ultimate Guide)

Whether you're a hopeful soccer athlete, a supportive soccer parent, or an aspiring soccer coach, our guide on how to get recruited for college soccer is filled with practical advice and insider tips that will empower you with the knowledge you need to kick-start your collegiate soccer recruitment.

In the dynamic and competitive world of soccer, playing at the college level opens doors to a myriad of opportunities—scholarships, academic growth, heightened competition, and a potential pathway to a professional career. Not to mention that employers take a heightened notice when a candidate is a former soccer college athlete. This journey, however, begins with a single step: getting recruited. As the starting whistle of your collegiate soccer dreams, understanding the soccer recruitment process is your first and crucial move.

This ultimate guide on how to get recruited for college soccer seeks to illuminate this path for you. Our guide aims to provide a comprehensive explanation of the recruitment process, navigating the complex avenues of showcasing your talent to prospective colleges, and setting you up for success on and off the field. From knowing where to start, understanding the importance of academic eligibility, to making the most of your campus visits, this article is your playbook to turning college soccer aspirations into a rewarding reality.

how to get recruited for college soccer

Understanding College Soccer Recruitment

As a student soccer athlete aiming to play college soccer, understanding the recruitment process for college soccer and eligibility requirements can be crucial to your athletic journey. This section delves into the intricacies of recruitment and the importance of knowing NCAA eligibility standards, helping you navigate your path to collegiate soccer more effectively.

Explanation of the Recruitment Process for College Soccer

The recruitment process for college soccer is an exciting journey that offers you the chance to shine both athletically and academically. It typically starts with you demonstrating your soccer prowess and potential to college coaches. You can achieve this through your performance at competitive soccer tournaments, attending soccer camps, or sharing videos that capture your gameplay.

It's a competitive world, with many soccer players vying for limited spots, especially within renowned soccer programs. Therefore, an early start is vital. Ideally, beginning in your freshman year of high school, you should focus on refining your soccer skills, sustaining high academic standards, and exploring potential colleges. By sophomore and junior years, proactive outreach to coaches, campus visits, and a comprehensive understanding of what different colleges offer should be part of your plan. In your senior year, your task will be to narrow down your choices and finalize your decision.

Importance of Knowing the NCAA Eligibility Requirements

Being well-versed with the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) eligibility requirements is a prerequisite for any aspiring collegiate athlete. The NCAA lays out specific academic and amateurism standards that you must meet to be considered eligible for college sports. These guidelines aim to ensure that student-athletes are academically prepared for college and maintain their amateur status.

As of this guide, the eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • Academic Requirements: In terms of academics, you must have graduated from high school and have completed a certain number of core courses during high school, including English, Math, Natural or Physical Science, Social Science, and more.

    For Division I, you must complete 16 core courses.

    For Division II, 16 core courses were also required, but the distribution is slightly different.

    For Division III, the NCAA does not set academic eligibility requirements; individual institutions and conferences determine their standards.

    In addition to the core course requirement, you must also achieve a certain minimum GPA in these core courses and a corresponding minimum score on the SAT or ACT.
  • Amateurism Requirements: The NCAA requires all athletes to maintain their amateur status. This means you should not have accepted any kind of payment for playing in your sport, should not have signed any kind of contract with a professional team, or have received benefits from an agent or prospective agent.
  • Eligibility Center: To play at the NCAA Division I or II level, you must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center, which will certify your academic and amateur credentials.

Remember, NCAA rules can change, and it's crucial to stay updated and work closely with your school counselor or coach to ensure you meet all the requirements. Always verify the most recent NCAA soccer eligibility requirements on the NCAA's official website or directly contact the NCAA Eligibility Center.

Keep in mind, becoming a college athlete involves more than your performance on the soccer field. A delicate balance between your sports commitments and academic responsibilities is an integral part of the process. Meeting all NCAA eligibility requirements keeps your dreams of playing college soccer achievable.

college soccer recruiting

Academic Preparation For College Soccer Recruitment

In this section, we delve into the vital aspect of academic preparation for getting recruited for college soccer. As a soccer student-athlete, it's crucial to maintain strong academic performance and be prepared for standardized tests. The importance of excelling in your coursework cannot be overstated as we break down the necessity of these elements and offer practical advice on how to succeed in these areas.

the Importance of Maintaining Strong Academic Performance

Achieving a strong academic performance is crucial for any aspiring college soccer player. Your prowess on the soccer field might catch the eye of recruiters, but your academic standing can be a deciding factor in whether or not you're accepted. Colleges, particularly those in the NCAA, have stringent academic criteria for eligibility.

Having a solid academic record not only ensures you meet these college soccer requirements, but it also provides reassurance to coaches that you can balance the rigorous demands of academic and athletic commitments. An excellent academic record reflects positively on you, indicating that you're disciplined, committed, and capable of taking on the challenges of college life.

Standardized Tests and Keeping Up with Coursework

The importance of doing well on standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT is often underestimated. Start preparing for these tests early and take advantage of prep courses or study resources to improve your scores. Don't be discouraged if you don't do well on your first try; you can always retake the test to improve your scores.

Maintaining strong performance in your coursework is just as vital. A steady or improving trend in your grades throughout your high school years is a good indication to colleges that you can handle the academic workload. Try to take challenging classes but balance them with your soccer commitments. Use academic resources such as tutoring and study groups, stay organized, and keep track of all your assignments and exam dates. The ability to balance academic and athletic responsibilities is key to becoming a successful student-athlete playing college soccer.

college soccer recruiting

Athletic Preparation for College Soccer Recruitment

In this segment, we discuss the significance of athletic preparation for being recruited to play college soccer. Being ready physically and mastering the essential soccer skills and techniques can set you apart. Additionally, we highlight the value of participating in high school teams, club soccer, and soccer camps in enhancing your exposure and developing your soccer skills.

Soccer Skills, Techniques, and Physical Conditioning Necessary

The soccer field is an arena where skills, techniques, and physical conditioning converge. You need to develop a variety of skills such as passing, shooting, dribbling, and defending to excel in college soccer. Regular practice and repetition will help hone these skills and make them second nature during gameplay.

Furthermore, soccer requires a high level of physical conditioning. Stamina, speed, strength, agility, and flexibility are all paramount in soccer. Having a strong cardio base, being quick on your feet, and demonstrating powerful and precise kicking abilities can all be game-changers.

Investing time in strength training, sprinting drills, endurance runs, and flexibility exercises will help you gain the physical conditioning necessary for the sport. Incorporate a fitness routine that is specific to your position on the field and enhances your overall soccer performance.

Playing in High School Games, Club Soccer, and Participating in Soccer Camps

In addition to developing your skills and fitness, gaining practical experience is crucial. Being a part of high school teams or club soccer allows you to put your skills into practice, learn teamwork, and understand the dynamics of competitive play. It also provides an excellent platform for exposure, where you could get spotted by college recruiters.

Soccer camps or College ID Camps, particularly those run by colleges or known coaches, offer excellent opportunities to learn, improve your skills, and get noticed. They can provide specialized training, allow you to compete against other talented players, and even offer the chance to catch the eye of college coaches or scouts. Consider attending these college ID camps not only for the learning experience but also for the networking opportunities they present.

soccer recruiting

Self Promotion to Ignite soccer Recruiting

This part of our ultimate guide emphasizes the role of self-promotion in getting recruited for college soccer. It’s not just about being a good soccer player; you also have to let colleges know you exist. From creating a compelling soccer resume and producing an impressive highlight video, to leveraging social media and digital platforms, we dive into ways to put yourself in the spotlight.

Creating a Compelling Soccer Resume, Including Stats and Achievements

A soccer resume is your professional representation on paper. It should capture your personal details, academic achievements, soccer statistics, accolades, and even references from coaches or relevant personnel. When listing your stats, be precise and comprehensive—include details such as the number of goals scored, assists made, saves (for goalkeepers), and matches played. Also, don't forget to highlight any significant achievements, such as being the team captain or winning MVP awards.

Ensure your resume is well-structured, error-free, and easy to read. And most importantly, keep it updated, as your performance in every season could offer a new reason for a college to recruit you.

Creating a Highlight Video Showcasing Skills and Techniques

Creating an outstanding soccer highlight video that successfully showcases your skills and techniques requires careful planning, smart execution, and some creative thinking. Here are some tips, including advanced strategies, to help you produce a video that can grab the attention of college coaches:

  1. Quality Matters: Ensure you have high-quality footage. Blurry or shaky videos might distract from your skills. If possible, consider investing in a good camera and tripod, or even hiring a professional videographer who specializes in sports.
  2. Identify Key Plays: Identify your best moments on the field that best represent your abilities. These moments could include goals, assists, dribbling sequences, defensive tackles, or saves (for goalkeepers). A midfielder may show their ability to control the game with accurate passes, while a defender might focus on their interceptions and strong tackles.
  3. Keep It Short and Engaging: College coaches are often busy, so keep your video concise—5 to 10 minutes should suffice. Place your most impressive clips at the beginning to grab their attention right away.
  4. (Advanced Tip) Use Multiple Angles: If possible, use footage from multiple angles. This gives coaches a more comprehensive view of your skills. Drone footage can also provide an excellent overhead perspective of your positioning and movement on the field.
  5. Highlight Yourself: With 22 players on the field, it can be hard for viewers to know who to focus on. Use arrows, circles, or spotlight effects to highlight yourself in the footage. Don't overdo it, though. Subtlety is key.
  6. (Advanced Tip) Provide Context: A short text description before each clip can help provide context to the viewer. For example, "Game-winning goal in overtime" or "Defensive tackle to prevent goal in a 1v1 situation."
  7. (Advanced Tip) Show Versatility: Show that you're a well-rounded player. Include clips that demonstrate different skills, like passing, shooting, tackling, dribbling, and heading, and also show your abilities in both defensive and offensive situations.
  8. No Music or Flashy Editing: Avoid using music or flashy transitions in your video. They can be distracting and may seem unprofessional. Let your skills do the talking.
  9. Include Your Information: At the beginning or end of your video, include your name, position, jersey number, high school or club name, graduation year, GPA (if it's strong), and contact information.
  10. Seek Feedback: Before sending out your soccer highlight video, get feedback from your soccer coaches, teammates, or others knowledgeable about soccer. They can provide useful insights to improve your highlight video.

Remember, the soccer highlight video is only one part of the college soccer recruiting process. Keep performing consistently, maintain good grades, and build relationships with potential college coaches.

soccer college recruiting

Communicating with College Coaches

Successfully navigating the college soccer recruitment process often boils down to effectively communicating with college coaches. This process is integral to showing them your potential and expressing your interest in their program.

How to Identify and Reach Out to Prospective College Coaches

To find the right fit, you must do thorough research on various college soccer programs. You should consider aspects like the team's style of play, positional needs, academic opportunities, location, size, and past records. Once you've identified colleges that fit your preferences, find the contact information of the soccer coach, usually available on the college's athletic website. When reaching out, it's essential to maintain a professional tone. Remember, this isn't a casual conversation; it's a professional interaction. Start by introducing yourself, mention your interest in their soccer program, and discuss how you could contribute to their team.

The Right Way to Communicate and Make a Positive Impression

Creating a positive impression begins with being respectful and professional in all interactions. This professionalism applies to phone calls, emails, and in-person meetings. Remember to address the coach formally, using "Coach [Last Name]" unless instructed otherwise. Be succinct but comprehensive in your communication, showcasing your passion for soccer and the desire to play at the college level. Always proofread your emails for grammar and spelling errors - they can reflect on your attention to detail. Prior to emailing a college soccer coach, make sure to read our guide on how to email a college soccer coach.

Tips for Effective Follow-up Communication

Following up after initial contact can be a delicate process. You want to show continued interest without coming across as pushy. It's generally advisable to wait about two weeks before sending a follow-up email if you haven't heard back. This email should be brief, reaffirming your interest and offering to provide additional information or references if required.

college soccer recruiting events

Making the Most of Recruitment Events

Recruitment events like soccer showcases and tournaments provide an unparalleled platform to display your skills and interact directly with college coaches and scouts. Understanding how to excel in these environments and communicate effectively can significantly enhance your chances of securing a college soccer position.

Importance of Attending and Excelling at Soccer Showcases and Tournaments

Soccer showcases and tournaments offer you the opportunity to perform in a competitive setting under the watchful eyes of college recruiters. These events are crucial as they allow coaches and scouts to evaluate your skills, sportsmanship, and ability to perform under pressure. Doing well in these events can significantly boost your profile and visibility among top college soccer programs. It's crucial to prepare both physically and mentally for these showcases, ensuring that you can perform at your best when it matters the most.

Tips for Interacting with Scouts and Coaches During These Events

Interacting with scouts and coaches during these events can be both exciting and intimidating. Start by doing your research - know the names and faces of the coaches who'll be present, and familiarize yourself with their respective soccer programs. When conversing with them, maintain a confident and respectful demeanor, express your enthusiasm for the sport, and ask meaningful questions about their program. Always remember to follow up with a thank you note expressing your continued interest.

Recruitment events are your chance to shine, to stand out from the crowd, and to get on the radar of college soccer programs. The way you play, the way you interact, and the way you follow up can significantly influence your chances of being recruited to play college soccer. Remember, every showcase, every tournament is a step towards your college soccer dream. Make them count.

college visits for being recruited for soccer

The College Recruiting Visit

The college visit plays a crucial role in the recruitment process. It's your chance to meet the coach, connect with the team, and understand the institution's academic and athletic environment. Making the most out of this visit requires strategic planning and keen observation.

Type of College Recruitment Visits

  • Unofficial Visits: These are visits that you or your family pay for. You can take as many unofficial visits as you want, at any time. During an unofficial visit, you can tour the campus, visit academic departments or majors of interest, and meet with the soccer coach or attend a practice or game. Just remember to schedule any meetings with the coach in advance, to ensure they will be available.
  • Official Visits: An official visit is one where the college covers most or all of your expenses, including travel, lodging, meals, and entertainment expenses. However, you can only start taking official visits from the opening day of your senior year, and you can only take a total of five official visits to Division I and Division II schools.

    As of April 13, 2023, the NCAA Division I Council announced that they will no longer limit the number of official visits recruits can make to NCAA member schools. The NCAA allows recruits an unlimited number of official visits to Division I schools. Recruits are limited to one per school, unless there is a head coaching change after their visit, in which they are permitted a second visit. Visits to Division II and Division III schools are unlimited.
  • Campus Tours: This is a general visit option available to any prospective student, athlete or not. During a campus tour, you'll get to see the school's facilities, housing, dining halls, and more. While these tours are not soccer-specific, they can give you a good idea of what daily life on campus is like.
  • College Soccer ID Camps or Clinics: While not a traditional 'visit', attending a college's soccer camp or clinic allows you to visit the school, meet the coach, and showcase your skills. This can be a great way to get a feel for the soccer program and how the coach operates.

Organizing a College Campus Visit and Meeting with the Soccer Team and Coach

Before setting up a campus visit, reach out to the coach expressing your interest in their program and your intent to visit. Coordinate with the admissions office to plan your visit, aiming for a time when you can catch a practice session or a game. When you meet with the coach, be prepared with a list of questions and be ready to discuss your goals and why their program appeals to you. Remember, this is a great opportunity to meet with the team and assess their dynamics.

How to Assess if a College is the Right Fit, Athletically and Academically

It's important to remember that you're not just joining a soccer program, but also choosing an academic institution for your higher education. Tour the campus, sit in on a class if you can, and get a feel for the academic atmosphere. Look into the course offerings, support services, and internship opportunities. On the athletic side, watch the team practice, observe the coach's style, and consider the team's dynamics. Think about whether the program's competitive level suits your ability and aspirations.

The college recruitment visit is an integral part of your recruitment journey, offering a window into the school's academic and athletic life. By effectively organizing your visit, meeting the team and coach, and carefully assessing if the college is the right fit, you're setting a strong foundation for your collegiate soccer career.

college soccer scholarships

Navigating Soccer Scholarship Offers

Securing a scholarship offer is often a significant milestone in the recruitment journey. It signifies not only recognition of your athletic capabilities but also opens doors to pursue your academic goals. Understanding the different types of scholarships and knowing how to compare them is a skill that you'll need to effectively navigate these waters.

The Different Types of Soccer Scholarships

In the world of college soccer, there are several types of scholarships you might come across. Full scholarships cover tuition, room, board, and books, but they are highly competitive and relatively rare. Partial scholarships, on the other hand, only cover a fraction of these costs. There are also academic scholarships, need-based scholarships, and other forms of financial aid that can supplement an athletic scholarship.

How to Compare and Analyze Scholarship Offers

When comparing scholarship offers, look beyond the dollar amounts. Consider how each offer fits into your broader academic and athletic goals. Investigate the terms of the scholarship— is it renewable annually, or is it a four-year guarantee? Consider the cost of attendance, the financial aid package, and your projected out-of-pocket expenses. Additionally, make sure to assess the academic and athletic programs and the potential opportunities for development and growth.

Navigating scholarship offers can be a complex process, but with a clear understanding of the different types of scholarships and a strategic approach to comparison, you can make an informed decision. It's not just about choosing the best financial offer, but selecting the one that best aligns with your athletic and academic ambitions.

recruitment for college soccer

Soccer College Recruiting: Conclusion

We've taken a comprehensive look at the path to becoming a recruited college soccer player. From understanding the soccer recruitment process and NCAA eligibility requirements, to prioritizing academic and athletic preparation, to showcasing your skills and effectively communicating with college soccer coaches. We've delved into the importance of recruitment events, college visits, and the intricate task of navigating scholarship offers. Each step of the journey requires dedication, strategy, and a passion for the game.

In recap, the journey towards becoming a recruited college soccer player is multi-faceted. It begins with understanding the college soccer recruitment landscape and maintaining strong academic performance to meet eligibility requirements. Next comes the athletic preparation, which includes honing your soccer skills and gaining exposure through high school and club soccer. Self-promotion is key, and this is achieved through a compelling soccer resume, a standout highlight video, and effective use of social media. Communication with coaches and excelling at recruitment events form a crucial part of the process. Finally, organizing productive college visits and astutely navigating scholarship offers can make all the difference in your recruitment journey.

As we conclude, remember that the path to college soccer recruitment may be challenging, but it is a journey well worth the effort. The process is as much about personal growth and discovery as it is about landing a spot on a college soccer team. Stay committed, be proactive, and most importantly, keep your love for the game at the forefront. Your passion, combined with your talent and the right strategy, will guide you to your goal.

Embarking on your college soccer recruitment journey is a testament to your dedication and love for soccer. As you navigate this venture, remember that each step brings you closer to achieving your dreams. Stay focused, stay determined, and most importantly, enjoy the journey.