How to Effectively Choose a College to Play Soccer

Summary: Choosing a college to play soccer is only half the battle.

Before reading this, you’re probably well aware of the competition level at the collegiate stage. Not only are you fighting to win the game, but you’re also fighting to retain your roster spot, to increase your playing time, and to ultimately make it to the next level. If you’re a student athlete looking to get an edge over your competition, this guide will help provide you with the necessary resources you’ll need to survive.

The Selection Process

With so many strong programs out there, one of the first things you’ll need to research is the right college that can provide you with an opportunity to compete for a roster spot. It should be noted that the number of quality college soccer teams have been increasing on an annual basis as the sport continues its growth spurt. With so many different options available to you, you and your family must carefully weigh the pros and cons of each individual college – especially if you’re planning to go in as a walk-on. This research requires you to comb through an assortment of brochures, guidebooks, statistics, news, and websites that focus on admission and college soccer. Rather than picking out the finest gear from soccer providers like Soccer Garage in your spare time, you’ll need to focus more on what you can bring to the prospective college.

Find a Comfortable Place to Call Home

While it might be useful to utilize all of these resources, another thing you’ll have to remember is to never rush the process. Finding the right school requires you to put in a ton of hard work. Additionally, it also requires you to tap into your common sense while following your heart. If a college tends to feel right, it’ll probably be easier for you to transition into this fast-paced sport and also provide you with a rewarding experience. Remember, once you and your team put on those soccer uniforms, it turns into a gritty competition against everyone that steps onto that field. The more comfortable you feel, the better you’ll essentially play.

A Higher Level of Play

If you’re playing on a high level team, your commitment level needs to remain focused on the team – along with your education as well. Your job is to prepare and compete at the second-highest level. You’ll not only be practicing more, which doesn’t include the optional training and conditioning sessions that are held, but you’ll also have to balance your schoolwork and choose classes so you can be eligible to play. In addition to this, you’ll also be travelling quite frequently, meaning you might not have enough time to study. Academics is the primary purpose of attending college and you must have the right mindset coming in so you can succeed.

Choosing Between a Non-Competitive and Competitive Soccer Program

 

Summary: Depending on your soccer experience, there are various pros and cons to playing for one program over another.

There has been quite the debate about which soccer program is best for a child to enter when choosing between non-competitive recreational soccer and competitive recreational soccer. There are two distinct options that you can choose from and both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Non-Competitive

Rec soccer is a fantastic starting point for players that want to learn the fundamentals of the game. Almost every soccer player has started with a local rec program that’s usually offered by the city’s park and recreation department.

The pros to enrolling your child in this program is that the children will get involved with the sport while also learning about the game, while having fun. Equal playing time is encouraged and the skill level of all of the players tend to vary drastically. However, the cons to this are that there is a non-licensed lower level coach usually handling the team. The coach could even be a parent that has never played the game before. Now, there’s nothing wrong with volunteers looking to help their community but at the same time it’s a hit-or-miss when it comes to player development. Depending on the funding, there could be equipment that’s already provided to the players that are bought from the volunteers or from a grant from store like Soccer Garage or other soccer specialty stores.

Competitive

Club soccer is the next step up and is the competitive version of the game. It tends to have more dedicated players that are involved in local and national tournaments and compete at a higher level of play. The coaching staff is well equipped with knowledge of the game and can significantly help player development.

However, competitive soccer is known to bring out the best of soccer players, which will push them to become more aggressive in their games due to the fact that they may be noticed by scouts from various colleges. These programs will typically cost more than the rec option usually because the coach is a licked soccer coach, along with the necessary fees. You may have to go out and shop for some goalkeeper gloves or gear if necessary as well.

Why US is so bad in soccer

Maybe the problem in the US is similar to the problem in the UK – and the reason our international teams never make an impact in tournaments. Namely that we are so obsessed with the domestic league, with making it the richest in the world, attracting the best players possible and so on, that we neglect the development of home grown players. The majority of players in the leagues of successful countries are local players (ignoring the “giants”) but the opposite is true in the UK and I suspect in the US too, with its obsession with advertising dollars and glamour.

You have simply to decide what comes first: your national team and the development of the sport nationally; or the lure of money and prestige from turning your league into an international showcase.

The pay to play system is the biggest reason the USA is bad. In Europe, Africa, South America, Asian, Central America, The Caribbean kids don’t pay anything to be developed in soccer so it becomes about finding the best players regardless of their social background. US grassroots development is about finding the rich parents who can pay the travel team fees. Remember to play in an elite youth soccer team it can cost as much as 5k a year. The fees prevent working class Black, White and Hispanic kids get into the sport and they tend to be the better and hungrier athletes. To play in the Real Madrid, Barcelona and Man Utd youth academy cost nothing but talent and hard work. These fees turn soccer from the most inclusive sports in the world, to one of the most elitist sports in America on par with tennis and golf. Nothing sums up the exclusiveness in the US system more than Donald Trump’s son who is apparently good at soccer and is being scouted by the nation youth teams. So a billionaire’s son can enter the US development system but working class African Americans and Hispanics can’t.

Americans are inherently greedy people which is why they don’t have free healthcare and charge kids to play soccer. So the only way you are going to change things is appealing to this greedy nature of Americans. Allow development fees to be paid to travel teams,if one of their players go pro, like what happens in the rest of the world. If coach knew he could get 500K or even a million for a player that went pro, over night you would see these soccer coaches leave the affluent suburbs and go to the inner-cities, working class black, white and hispanic neighbours because they know they would find better and more hungry athletes that would more likely go pro.

Why US Soccer Team Failed to Make Worldcup

The US fails to make the World Cup, and the people who care the most, aside from the players and coaches themselves, are people who are not even American. With American Football in full swing, Baseball playoffs, NHL and NBA both getting started, most Americans did not even know there was a national team Soccer game on last night. TVs did not even show it. If it wasn’t because I read an English newspaper like the Guardian I wouldn’t have known either. Soccer is maybe the 4th most popular sport in the USA.

It might even be tied or lower than the popularity of Hockey in the USA. Soccer was never going to catch big in this country (not like Football, Baseball and Basketball). Not when kids have so many sports to choose from at a young age.

I have a friend you has 3 sons who played Soccer in grade school but by the time they were in 7th grade (12yrs) they had chosen Football and Baseball respectively and his eldest actually got a sponsorship at a Division 2 College for Baseball. Both his daughters played Soccer but liked Volleyball more. Soccer just does not have the popularity of the much bigger sports in this country. While it may eventually, because of the large influx of Central American immigrants I doubt it will take over the big 3 sports in the USA. Talent just goes elsewhere, other sports or Europe.

Soccer is probably the easiest way to get a college scholarship in sports

Soccer is probably the easiest way to get a college scholarship in sports. It is to do with US Universities. Upper class and upper middle class parents view soccer as an easier way to get a sports scholarship and a free university education. To go to an American University it cost in fees alone 60 to 70k on average. So these affluent parents put their kids in soccer youth teams in the hope they get a soccer scholarship, so they only have to pay the travel team fees and not the full 70k University fees if successful. The travel team youth coaches are aware of this so charge fees to parents as much as 5k a year because they know they are willing to pay them because it is still much cheaper than the fees for University in the USA.

Youth soccer is more expensive than basketball and American football because the affluent parents feel soccer is a more viable sport to get a sports scholarship for. Basketball only have 5 players on the team and like American football it tends to attract the best athletes because both sports are popular with working class people in America, especially African Americans. So these Affluent parents feel their kids have more chance in soccer where squads can be a big as 25 players and the better athletes have been priced out of youth development soccer.

Clint Dempsey is the rare working class American player and his parents who were poor saw soccer as the only way he could get a University education because they didn’t have the money. So only when his sister died, who was a promising tennis player could the family put all the money they had into him and fund his youth development in soccer and he got the sports scholarship and the rest is history. It shouldn’t be like this in America.

I remember seeing this documentary about the former US international Eddie Johnson. He was an working class African American of a single parent family. One of the best travel teams in America spotted him. The coach of the team asked him and his mother could he join his team. As single parent his mother didn’t have the money to pay the high fees for the team. So the coach decided to waive the fees for Eddie Johnson because he was by far the best player on the team. The other parents where furious that Eddie Johnson was on the team without paying the high fees and ostracised his mother when she would watch him play. That sums up everything wrong with American soccer. where working class player that is more talented than everyone else has to rely on a coach waive the fees he needs to pay.