As soccer has grown in popularity in the United States, so has the competition for soccer scholarships. Students hoping to play for their favorite college or university should start planning early. The days of students with little experience earning scholarship opportunities are not what they used to be. Players need to stand out in a positive manner to earn spots not only on the soccer team’s roster, but especially for any sports scholarships.
For stand-out players, traveling teams in addition to high school experience can help students prepare for the advanced competition and rigorous schedule in college athletics. Depending on a university’s location and conference, teams may need to do significant traveling throughout the season. Players who are accustomed to taking buses and planes to a game have an edge over those who seldom venture far from home. The skill level of players on select and travelling teams is much higher than recreational league play where everyone on the team sees time on the pitch. Participation in these higher level leagues is often a sign to university coaches that players have something special.
Coaches at schools with many prospects don’t have a lot of time to visit high schools to see every promising player. Those with the best chances for soccer scholarships and prime playing time will usually be on the coach’s scouting or recruitment list. Other players hoping for sports scholarships should send a video assortment of clips from games where the player is featured on camera. The DVD should be clearly labeled with the player’s name, high school and other team affiliations. It should be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from the student’s coach or coaches.
When it comes to securing soccer scholarships, students with good grades will fare better in the selection process if there is a close competition among other candidates. Students should take special care as early as their sophomore year to ensure that their grades are at the very least above a C level average. The higher, the better.
There is little supervision supplied to college soccer players. Coaches rely on them to behave appropriately and avoid problems both on and off the field. Those with school disciplinary actions or any type of criminal record are considered by most coaches to be a risk. This can jeopardize a student’s chances of being offered a scholarship, and perhaps even being on the team at all. Players who are recommended by their coaches as easy to work with and non-problematic are more likely to receive a closer look from their schools of choice. Those with leadership qualities are also elevated higher on the list of consideration in many cases.
One of the most critical factors in whether a player receives one of the available soccer scholarships is versatility. If a team is in need of a player in a particular position for the upcoming seasons, the athlete who can deliver may have a better opportunity. Those who are versatile enough to switch positions when needed – or are willing to try – will earn more points in the coach’s point of view.