It is possible to get a soccer scholarship, even if you’re not a perfect player yet.
Good grades, good skills and good training is a start on your way to a college scholarship, but finding a good coach to help you is also important.
Many coaches are also university recruiters or have connections to schools that provide scholarships.
If you are good enough to play at a college level, schools will want you. Right now, there are 1,410 schools that have soccer scholarships.
“The best advice I have for your people who want to get into the game is to enjoy what you are doing and keep practicing, and find people you can trust to help guide you,” said a coach who is listed on Sportamix, Steven Taylor, who is both a professional soccer player and a coach for the Newcastle United in New Zealand.
“I got to where I am today through hard work, and have a very close circle of friends and family helping me achieve what I’ve achieved,” Taylor says. “Playing for local teams when you’re a kid is important. You play games out in a park or a field with your friends you have to enjoy what you do. I was very lucky to have a dad who took me to every home game to watch the team I love and very lucky to play for Newcastle United. That’s when I fell in love with football that father and son moment going to matches and watching my team play and learning from them.”
Taylor advises, “What I look for in a good coach is how they deal with the players, how they communicate and the training sessions keeping high standards and never dropping them.”
Sometimes the scholarships range from full ride, (where tuition and living expenses are paid for), to full tuition (where just classes are paid for), to a partial scholarship that aids in expenses.
Often the amount you receive depends on the level of funding for the program and the coach’s discretion. Sometimes the scholarships are divided up with the best players receiving the most funding.
There are more scholarship for women than men. One study showed that for every nine scholarships for men at a school for soccer there are 14 for women.
Coaches say you have to be proactive to get your name out to college coaches you want to target. Send them a link to your Sportamix profile, and keep them up with your progess.
Keep up your grades, other coaches suggest. Although it’s not necessary to be a star student, having good grades can add to an academic scholarship as well as an athletic scholarship.
Recruiters begin looking at prospective college players in the 10th grade in high school. A recent national survey shows that 74 percent of the Division 1 men’s soccer coaches begin evaluating talented recruits in the 10th grade, and about 22 percent begins in the 11th grade. But it’s never too early. Create your Sportamix profile now to chart your own progress and show recruiters that come to the site to look for talent.
A student-athlete has to develop a track record, and having a Sportamix profile on the site will show progress and development, and also allow prospective recruiters to see your progress. A Sportamix page has your basic information, and you can keep adding accomplishments and successes for yourself and your team, and you can add photos and videos of your skills.
Check out the basic requirements on the school website of your choice, and they will have the basic academic requirements and performance expectations for a soccer scholarship.
Soccer training camps can also help provide information and contacts to schools that have scholarships.
Check out the specifications of the scholarship that you are offered. Most scholarships are one-year agreements that have to be renewed each year. Students often have to go through a recruiting process.
Some schools may not have an available scholarship in the freshman year, but scholarships could be available later in sophomore, junior or senior years.
Sometimes you have to make a recruiting video to show your skills, and there are places to help you do that (click here).
Gauge you skills against others you may be competing with. If you get a good idea from a good coach about your chances, you can better target the school you want to play for.
Coaches are looking for players who are fast, skilled and have good playing experience. Being a team player is important, and it is important for you to promote yourself too, and contact programs and coaches you are interested in working with at a college level.
Keep a good attitude when a coach meets with you, or when they come to watch you at showcases and tournaments. Set a good example for yourself.
“I train hard everyday and I’m very lucky,” Taylor says. “Go out and do it, and love what you do.”
Here are other helpful sites:
- Here is a guide to Men’s Soccer Recruiting: https://www.ncsasports.org/mens-soccer/scholarships
- Here is a guide to Women’s Soccer Recruiting:https://www.ncsasports.org/womens-soccer
- Here is a list of soccer scholarships, and how much they give: https://www.scholarships.com/financial-aid/college-scholarships/sports-scholarships/soccer-scholarships/
- This site has dates and deadlines for applying for scholarships: https://www.unigo.com/scholarships/athletic/soccer-scholarships