Sporting Kansas City designed the College Prep Program to provide each Academy & Affiliate player the necessary information to help best prepare him/her to play soccer in college.
We want to give each player the opportunity to reach his/her maximum potential while using soccer as a catalyst throughout the journey, which is why Sporting KC has spent countless hours researching and collecting information on the college selection and recruiting process.
Sporting KC’s College Prep Program is a product of several years of information collected from college coaches, club coaches, parents and players throughout the Midwest. We hope this resource will help and good luck!
Starting the process
There are a multitude of factors to consider before starting the college soccer recruting process. First, the high school age player needs to determine their level of commitment to their athletic career. Is it more important to attend your “dream” university or are you willing to go anywhere to play? For 99.0% of college soccer players the primary purpose of going to college is to get an education, not to play professionally.
Second, after you have determined your level of commitment and made the decision to pursue your opportunities, you should become familiar with how the recruiting process works. You should understand the definition of terms such as contact period, evaluation period and dead period. You should also understand the rules related to official and unofficial visits and have a general understanding of the NCAA recruiting calendar.
Unless you are being aggressively recruited already, the next step should be assembling and concentrating on a focused list of schools that meet your college criteria. This will make the process much easier and more productive. You should actively pursue the schools on your list. The four major factors to consider in assembling your list are academics, social considerations, family budget and your current athletic abilities.
Parents and students typically do not understand the importance of academics in the recruiting process and the emphasis that college athletic programs place on grades. For a number of reasons, good grades and a high standardized test score make a student much more attractive to a college soccer coach. Receiving a good education is also important in determining which colleges to consider. Be sure the colleges you are considering offer your major (if you have decided on a major). You also need to make sure that you meet the standards for admission at each school on your list.
There are a myriad of unforeseen circumstances, such as injuries or a shift of focus towards a different passion, that may affect a student-athletes ability to play. Thus, it is extremely important to seek out schools where the student-athlete will be content in the event that soccer is not an option. Decide what is important to you: climate, region, tradition, school size, extracurricular activities, or male/female ratio, just to list a few. Do not choose a school solely based on their coaching staff. The coaching climate can be unstable and no coach is guaranteed. Remember - an athlete that is happy in their personal life is more likely to perform at their highest level on the field.
Soccer is an equivalency sport and therefore the athletic scholarships are generally partial scholarships. For this reason a family’s college budget is critical in determining which schools to consider. There are 9.9 scholarships for each men’s team and 14 scholarships for each women’s team at the Division I level to be split among 27-29 players. There are 9 men’s scholarships and 9.9 women’s scholarships available at the Division II level and 12 scholarships for both men's and women's at NAIA schools. NJCAA schools have 18 scholarships for both men's and women's soccer. NCAA Division III schools don’t offer soccer scholarships. For these reasons, you should only consider schools that meet your families financial comfort level. It is important to consider the “all in” costs for each school, such as tuition, room and board, books and fees. Finally, explore all options for academic scholarships, grants, student loans and other financial aid.
In the college soccer spectrum, there are a variety of schools that benefit players of many different athletic abilities. It is important to surround yourself with honest, straightforward evaluators to aid you in determining the appropriate level of play in conjunction with not only your current abilities, but your future potential from an athletic standpoint. For some, it might be beneficial to consider attending a junior college in order to continue developing as a player. Finding the most beneficial environment is imperative in order to receive the best possible training. The combination of measurables, such as speed and quickness, and intangibles, such as leadership qualities and passion for the game all contribute to a prospective player's consideration at the collegiate level. Another valuable resource to provide coaches a visual sense of ones athletic ability is game footage. College coaches cannot be everywhere at all times, and in the event that a coach is unable to personally attend your games, taped footage can be critical. Finally, involve your parents, coaches, and any other personal advocate as they can speak positively not only to your athletic make-up, but also your character.