Everything You Need to Know About Soccer Scholarships for U.S. Colleges
Football or “soccer” in the U.S. is more popular than ever before and is still growing with huge names like Wayne Rooney recently transferring to the MLS and David Beckham preparing to launch his own team, Inter Miami, in a couple of years.
This growth is not only benefitting the professional leagues. Colleges and the quality of their soccer scholarships are also reaping the rewards in terms of exposure and an increase in funding.
Becoming a student-athlete in the USA, gaining help towards your education, and having the chance to further your soccer career is a huge draw for many young players from the United Kingdom and other countries abroad. This article will give you all the information you need to decide whether a soccer scholarship USA is the right move for you.
How Soccer Scholarships USA work
A scholarship is simply a form of financial aid that is awarded to a student based on some specific criteria. Obviously, for soccer scholarships USA, the criteria are based on your ability and potential as a player.
If a college recognises that you are a good enough player and could be an asset to their college team, you may be offered a scholarship to that college. The college would then pay a certain portion of your costs: tuition, board, books etc.
The scholarships usually work as a percentage. For example, a 50% scholarship would relieve you of 50% of your costs for studying at college. You will have to pay for the other half.
100% scholarships or “full rides” are available and are given to the very best players with the highest potential.
For players in the UK, colleges often hold trial days where you will need to apply, attend and display your abilities on the day.
What are the Best USA College Soccer Scholarships and Teams
Colleges in the USA are graded depending on how competitive they are and their level of facilities. The grades are known as D-1, D-2 and D-3.
The highest regarded colleges are the D-1 colleges. D-1 colleges will boast the very best scholarship programs with the highest-quality facilities and coaches. If you’re looking for the very best college soccer teams, you will find them at D-1 schools. However, you need to be at a high level to get it.
Players from D-2 and D-3 schools can still be picked up by professional clubs, but they are much more likely to send their scouts to D-1 schools since most of the talent is found there. Currently, the top 5 ranked D-1 college soccer teams are:
Other colleges that are known to have consistently strong college soccer scholarships in the USA are UCLA, Maryland University and the University of Notre Dame.
U.S. College Players Who Have Gone Pro
The college route can be an excellent way to become a professional soccer player in the U.S. In fact, it boasts a direct link to the MLS via their yearly college draft: The MLS SuperDraft, which takes place in January each year.
Players from NCAA colleges can be selected by professional teams, whose draft picks are based upon their performance from the previous season. The teams finishing lower in the rankings will get the first picks.
Of course, you can also be recruited directly by teams both in and outside of the MLS.
Here are a few players you have probably heard of that came through the college soccer system in America to become professional players:
Brad had a hugely successful college career at UCLA and is regarded as one of the best college players of all time. As you probably know, he went on to play at the very highest level of domestic football in the premier league for several teams including Liverpool and Tottenham.
He also managed to make it to the last eight of the 2002 world cup with the U.S. National team.
After playing in college soccer at the University of Illinois, Jay Demerit went on to become a professional football and, after playing some lower league games, managed to secure a move over to the English leagues with Watford. He has played in the premier league with Watford and also featured in the world cup back in 2010.
Perhaps one of the most well-known American players in the United Kingdom, the recently retired Dempsey came from a relatively small university in South Carolina: Furman University. He went on to play for both Fulham and Spurs in the premier league before heading back to the states to play in the MLS.
A more up to date example is the current Newcastle United player who played collegiate soccer for the University of Akron before signing for MLS side, the Seattle Sounders. Since then he has played for Tottenham, Sunderland and now Newcastle in the premier league.
How to Get a Soccer Scholarship USA
As you can see, it could be well worthwhile gaining a soccer scholarship USA; not only will you be furthering your education, you could also be taking strides towards a professional football career.
As you might imagine, it can be a lot more effort to gain a USA soccer scholarship if you are living in the United Kingdom. For players over in the states, they can often rely on their high school coach’s college contacts or simply play well enough to encourage colleges to scout them.
If you are in the UK, the situation is different, and it isn’t quite as easy to get the attention of the college coaches. The best thing you can do is let people with experience, contacts and knowledge of how the system operates do the work for you.
At Recruit Me USA, our team can expose you to our entire network of college coaches throughout the United States and provide you with all of the knowledge and support you need to give you the very best opportunity of gaining a soccer scholarship USA.
You can take the very first step to becoming a collegiate, and possibly a professional, player: get in touch with us today to create your very own player profile.Free Consultation