February 20th, 2019 by Mike Getman
I firmly believe there is a place in college soccer for anyone who wants it badly enough. There are over 1,000 college soccer programs. But the key is to find the right one for you. Luckily even if you are not the next Messi, there are all levels of soccer out there. Division I, II, III, NAIA & Junior College.
I get asked often about the different divisions in the NCAA and what that means to a soccer player. First, it is important to know that the different Divisions only tell you about the size of the Athletic Department. Div. I gives more scholarships than Div. II and Div. III gives no Athletic Scholarships. That doesn’t mean a better team, just more money within the entire Athletic Dept. There tend to be more good teams in Div. I but that is only a generalization. There are many teams in Div. II that can beat teams in Div. I. That’s why each student should research schools at all levels before making their final choice.
The NAIA has completely different rules from the NCAA but are mostly smaller colleges. Some have great soccer teams and others are not so good. Junior Colleges offer a second chance to students who were not so successful academically. Again there are all levels of play so you have to check each school out individually. Most of the top teams in Division I have some players that started their college career at the Junior College level.
Google is a great way to find Colleges in your area. All soccer programs have websites that will give you useful information. Soccer America and TopDrawerSoccer provide some good insights into college soccer.
Once you have identified what you are looking for, send an email to the Coaches and give them some information about yourself and ask for information on their program. The more detail you give on yourself the more detail you are likely to get back. Academic, Soccer, and family are all important details to give to the college coaches. (more information on this in a later blog)