Updated: Apr 24, 2018
When beginning the college soccer recruiting process, it is very easy to get caught up in attending a school that wants you, rather than a school that is a good fit for you! If you have ever found yourself saying “I can always study something else if I went there…” then this article is a MUST read for you!
There is a reason that college athletes are referred to as STUDENT-athletes, and not simply athletes, as the name suggests, you are there to get a degree, not become a professional soccer player! Sure there is a very small percent of athletes that will go on to play in the pros after college, but unless you are in that top 1.4% of all NCAA soccer athletes this will not be the case. Therefore finding a school that is a good fit for you academically is imperative!
Step 1: Decide what you would like to Study!
Selecting a major can be a stressful ordeal, but it doesn’t have to! Nearly a third of all college students will change their major at least once! I myself changed my major 3 times and still graduated in four years! Simply selecting a school that has a broad selection of majors if you are unsure is a good first step!
For those of you who already know exactly what you would like to study and have known since before you could spell it, there are a number of free resources available to find schools that have specific majors, make a list of 20-30!
Step 2: Decide where you would like to study!
Picking a state can always be a difficult step, the country is SO BIG! But fear not, there are a couple of questions that you can ask yourself to help narrow it down.
- Would you like to be able to go home on the weekends?
- Are you okay with you parents not being able to make every one of your soccer games?
- Do you have a job at home that you would like to keep?
- Do you have a very large group of friends from your high school that will all be staying local?
- Is your family all within one state?
After reviewing those questions, you will know yourself whether you should be looking for school that is within a 200-mile radius of your home or whether you can begin looking nationwide!
If only there was a free online resource that you could use to find a school that had your major, at a particular division, in a certain state...OH WAIT!
Pro Tip: If you are looking at moving from warmer climates to perhaps the Midwest, be very wary of the snow, 3 months of below zero is not for everyone.
Step 3: Picking a Coach
Okay, now you have a good list of schools in areas that you would like to study in, it is time to pick a coach that you like to play for. How can you do this?
Believe it or not, actually going to watch a college play can tell you a lot more than googling their style of play! GET OUT AND SEE GAMES! And before you say, the majority of college games are live streamed, so there is no excuse saying that you can’t travel to your favorite schools!
If you are an athlete that is very quick, small, and agile, a college team with an average height of 6”2 and kickball style may not perhaps be the best fit for you! Similarly, if you are known for your physical presence and strong tackling and you are looking at a college team that is dominant in possession and spends very little time defending, then perhaps you may want to rethink!
Step 4: Take a Walk of Campus
If you get the opportunity to go and watch one your college teams play, head down a couple of hours earlier and take a stroll through campus, despite what you think, you will spend the majority of your time on campus and in the classroom, make sure it is somewhere you like!
Sure, the weight room may be state of the art, but if your major’s building is falling to pieces and professors are renown for not being the strongest at teaching your classes then perhaps it may be worth looking elsewhere.
Step 5: The Golden Rule
The golden rule of selecting a school that is a good fit for you is asking yourself:
“If, God forbid, I have a career ending injury and can no longer play college soccer, would I be happy to attend this school?”
If you can answer yes to that question, then you have found your school!