Deciding on a college can be a grueling process. When it’s coupled with an ambition to play a sport at the collegiate level, it can feel like a race with no clear finish line. If your goal is to keep playing soccer on a college team, there’s a few need-to-knows and general considerations. We’ve mapped out some pointers to untangle a couple of recruitment myths and simplify the process.
Myth: Prioritize athletic scholarships over everything
Athletic scholarships rarely cover the full cost of tuition. Because an athletic scholarship likely won’t lighten the whole financial burden of higher education, grades remain the most reliable route to obtaining college scholarships. As glamorous as an athletic scholarship may sound, the best bang-for-your-buck should stay at the center of your school search.
Myth: Coaches come to those who wait
The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and the go-getting player gets the roster spot. No matter how skilled you are, marketing yourself is key in building relationships with coaches and locking in a scholarship or a place on the team. Ultimately, a lot of awards and accolades don’t equate to automatic recruitment. College coaches have final say if you fit their program, so making a solid impression can set you apart and strengthen your profile. Coaches watch prospects at showcases and combines they have relationships with, so if you’re serious about a certain team it’s a good idea to learn about and play in these networks.
Myth: Dream school, back up school, safety school
This model of applying to colleges works for non-athletes, but if you want to play in college, it’s essential to cast a wide net. Seek out different Divisions, academic rigors, and types of programs to diversify your search. Remember that a school’s Division doesn’t pigeonhole the degree of performance; there is a wide range of talent at each tier. Talk to coaches from a variety of levels. You just might discover your dream school is a place you hadn’t previously considered or even recognized.
It’s easy to get lost in truckloads of information when you’re seeking to get recruited. What you eventually decide on is important, but don’t let your to-do list quash your intuition. Choose the school that inspires you. When you tour campuses, pay attention to where you envision yourself playing, learning, and growing for four years. At the end of the day, you’ll probably love a lot of schools. Listen for the campus that will love you back.
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