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.