Soccer scholarships are getting harder to get every season. As soccer continues to grow in popularity each year, there is more competition for the limited number of scholarships for NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA colleges and universities. The good news is, if you are willing to put in as much or more effort towards your recruiting and scholarship search, as you do on the field, then you can guarantee your self success.
Here are 5 tips to separate yourself from the competition:
Olympic Development Program (ODP)Each state and region has an Olympic development program for soccer. Most athletes are offered soccer scholarships from these teams. While you also must play on your high school team, the competition has become so intense that college coaches almost exclusively recruit from these leagues.
Academic GradesI know you must hear this everywhere but it can not be emphasized enough. Just having a GPA below 3.0, excludes yourself from being recruited at almost 50% of NCAA schools. Gone are the days when an athlete could just meet minimum NCAA academic standards. You must also meet minimum admissions standards for the college. Do not lose out to another athlete because of your grades. There is no excuse anymore for this one.
Athletic MaturityCoaches want a player that can stand up to the pressure of the collegiate game. Do you lose your head when your team loses or gets scored on? Do you change your style of play, get weaker as the match goes on? Coaches are watching and you must be able to maintain your performance under pressure and losing situations.
Athletic RangeAre you able and willing to play more than one position? Have you already peaked in high school or would you get better under a collegiate soccer program’s coaching and resources? Coaches want players who are willing to do whatever the team needs. They also want players who can continue to improve and grow as a player throughout their college playing career.
Financial AbilityIs your family willing to pay tuition combined with athletic aid from a college? Soccer is a “equivalency” sport in the NCAA. Most scholarships are only partial and seldom do we see actual full-rides for soccer. Communicate to the coach that you are willing and able to pay to go to college here to cover the rest of the tuition. Coaches do not want to haggle or waste time with athletes who are not serious about attending if they do not get a full-ride.
Use these five tips to start developing your recruiting plan. With the number of high school soccer players and increasing number of foreign students also getting recruiting for soccer scholarships, you need to start early and start fast. A solid plan can help you overcome obstacles to your scholarship search and place you above the competition.