Soccer Scholarships in the United States

Football, or soccer as it is called in the United States has one of the biggest number of international athletes in their teams. In the last few years many European soccer players decided to start their university degrees and continue to play their sport thanks to soccer scholarships in the USA.

Just like all sports, each part of the process is very important: creating an academic and sports profile, videos, competitions, experience, and statistics. A couple of fundamental components in soccer is the creation of a video that showcases your skills, highlights in competition and matches, and some training material. This video must be guided by professionals to ensure quality and increase the chances of success. So, at Global College USA we take care of advising you on the video content and final edit.

There are many universities with soccer programs in the United States. These universities belong to the following university divisions: NCAA Divisions I, II, III, NAIA, and NJCAA.

It is very important for each player to have the help of Global College USA in sufficient time so that we can evaluate your options in the United States and find out which division would be suitable for you to compete with a soccer scholarship. Also, within these divisions there are very different levels of soccer, so for each player there will be a variety of universities that could be good options for your level.

Why the United States?

University sports in the United States is the only system that combines sport and competition with university studies, along with athletic scholarships and in many cases academic scholarships. American universities offer soccer scholarships for players on the team which then allows the student athletes to finance their studies.

Thanks to this opportunity, in the USA soccer players can experience many more advantages compared with the UK university system: combine studies and sports at a high level, travel around the United States with the university team, obtain a university degree from a United States university, meet people from many different countries, and have an unforgettable experience…. These are just some of the many advantages of the United States system.

Soccer Scholarships in United States

Each university division has a maximum number of soccer scholarships to distribute. Within this number, the university grants the scholarships to each player.

College coaches distribute money in full and partial scholarships to team players. Usually you must be among the best players on the team to obtain a higher soccer scholarship. There are also other opportunities called “walk-on”. Being a “walk-on” allows the players to be part of the team without receiving a soccer scholarship. After one year in this position, depending on performance, the player can obtain a soccer scholarship for their remaining years.

Limited number of soccer scholarships per team

The number of soccer scholarships available in each university varies. Each college division has a maximum number of soccer scholarships that they can offer but may offer fewer scholarships than their limit if they decide to or  if they do not have the nessesary budget.

A clear example is the universities that form the IVY League (league of universities with academic prestige, such as Harvard) that do not offer athletic scholarships.

In addition, soccer is a sport where coaches can divide the number of soccer scholarships among team members. It is not necessary to give a full scholarship to each student, so they offer many partial scholarships.

Here is a table displaying the scholarship limits that each university provides, the number of universities that have soccer teams, and the average number of players on each team.

Men’s Soccer

University Division Number of Universities Scholarship limit per team Average number of players per team
NCAA DI 205 9.9 29
NCAA DII 211 Referring to Fig. 31
NCAA DIII * 412 29
NAIA 188 12 28
NJCAA 69 18 24
TOTAL 1.085

Women’s Soccer

University Division Number of Universities Scholarship limit per team Average number of players per team
NCAA DI 332 14 28
NCAA DII 263 9.9 27
NCAA DIII * 438 24
NAIA 192 12 24
NJCAA 187 18 19
TOTAL 1.312

 

* Universities competing in NCAA Division 3 cannot offer athletic scholarships so they do not offer soccer scholarships, but other major academic grants or scholarships can be obtained.

What Do Soccer Scholarships Cover in the United States?

Soccer scholarships cover a percentage of university expenses, in the case of obtaining a full soccer scholarship, the following expenses will be covered:

  • Tuition and Fees
  • Books
  • Accommodation (Residence or apartment)
  • Food
  • Health insurance

In addition, all soccer players at the university, regardless of whether they have a soccer scholarship or not, always have soccer expenses covered: training, physical conditioning, sports equipment (clothing, shoes …) official competitions, trips to competitions, (travel, hotel, and meals) academic tutors in case you need help with classes, sports medicine, physiotherapy …

Academic Requirements

Another important factor in being able to attend a good university is the academic side- the institute’s notes, the SAT, and the TOEFL … If two students are at a similar soccer level but there is a noticeable difference in their academic levels, the coach will usually offer the soccer scholarship to the better academic student.

The reason for this is because students must meet minimum requirements at university, so the academic side is just as important as tennis in several aspects:

  • Sports eligibility: Minimum test scores must be met in order to be eligible in all university divisions.
  • In order to be accepted at universities, the soccer player must meet the academic requirements on the exams.
  • You can receive an academic scholarship that is added to the amount of athletic scholarship, resulting in a greater total scholarship. In order to obtain academic scholarships, you must have good high school grades and high scores on the SAT exam.

The higher the grades, the greater range of options the player will have and the greater amount of money received by the university.

Each college or coach has different minimum requirements in terms of the academic level they require. Therefore, at Global College USA, we study every academic and sports profile to find the university that best suits each player.

Soccer Level Required to Obtain a Soccer Scholarship in the United States

In the United States there are more than one thousand universities with soccer teams that are part of the various university divisions. Within this wide range of universities, the level of soccer is very broad. We advise the player about the level of soccer necessary to be eligible for soccer scholarships in the United States, depending on the university division, however this level may vary. The level of a soccer player not only depends on the division in which he or she competes in, so at Global College USA we make sure to analyse each case individually.

 

NCAA Division I:

These are universities of larger size and with a greater number of sports. Most universities in this division have a higher level in sports than those of the other divisions.

  • Academic Requirements: SAT exam.
  • Men’s soccer level: Experience in higher soccer leagues and divisions, belong or have belonged to academies of professional soccer teams, competed in county, regional, or national level.
  • Women’s soccer level: Experience in women’s first or second division, lower academies of professional teams, competed in county, regional, or national level.

 

NCAA Division II:

These are smaller universities with a high sport level, sometimes the level may be higher than some universities in NCAA Division I. NCAA Division II are similar to NAIA universities in size and facilities.

  • Academic Requirements: SAT exam.
  • Men’s soccer level: Experience in national youth leagues or county level teams.
  • Women’s soccer level: Women’s first and second division experience, regular competition.

 

NCAA Division III:

These are universities that cannot provide athletic scholarships, but they have other types of aid such as academic scholarships that can reduce the annual costs considerably. These universities are mainly very good academic universities.

  • Academic Requirements: SAT exam with good scores. Good grades in GCSE and Sixth form.
  • Men’s soccer level: Experience in local teams, competition in regional/county competitions.
  • Women’s soccer level: Experience in local teams, competitions in regional/county competitions.

 

NAIA:

These are universities that have similar characteristics to the universities in NCAA Division II. They have simple eligibility rules in order to compete in this division.

  • Academic requirements: SAT exam.
  • Men’s soccer level: Experience in youth and local football teams, local competitions and leagues.
  • Women’s soccer level: Second division experience, youth football teams, local competitions.

 

Junior College:

Two-year colleges, where the first two years of university are completed and then transferred to a university belonging to any other division. Junior College is a good option to improve academic and sports level to then transfer to a bigger and better university.

  • Academic Requirements: SAT exam.
  • Men’s soccer Level: Various levels depending on the university – can be as high as the level in NCAA Division I.
  • Women’s soccer level: Various levels depending on the university – can be as high as the level in NCAA Division I.
How Do Soccer Coaches Measure the Level of a Soccer Player?

Coaches measure the level of soccer players through several factors:

  • Soccer video. This is the most important area; the coaches do not know the player personally so it is crucial to create a video with many highlights or good moments in matches. You can have training and conditioning as part of the video. At Global College USA, we guide you in order to get the best material for your video.
  • Sports curriculum (where the teams have competed, leagues, statistics …)
  • Global Assessment College USA. We analyse the video of the soccer player and we talk to the family of the player and evaluate his/her profile and level. After several years of good work, the coaches value our opinion highly. Often, the divisions do not represent the real level of soccer players as there may be higher levels of footballers in lower leagues as it is a team sport and each individual plays differently.

With all this information, Global College USA evaluates each soccer player and family, and we work with universities that match their soccer and academic level to provide the player with a great chance of obtaining an athletic scholarship and playing on a soccer team.

How Does the Process for Obtaining Soccer Scholarships in the United States Work?

The objective of Global College USA is to attract soccer players from all over the world so we can help place students at a University in the United States with a soccer and/or academic scholarship. This is why we are looking for the best university options for each player as well as the maximum sports and/or academic scholarship.

Here, we explain the process of obtaining a soccer scholarship at an American university, with the most important area being each individual soccer player and his/her ability to reach their maximum sporting and academic level to give themselves a better chance to achieve more scholarship offers:

  1. Reach the highest soccer level possible: The higher your level, the greater your chance of securing a soccer scholarship. In addition, a greater range of options will be available to choose from. It is important to create a video well in advance with plenty of good material from various different games.
  2. Reach the highest academic level possible: It is very important to focus on studying as well as soccer. Achieving good grades in school and exams will provide each individual with more options in being able to obtain academic scholarships to help reduce annual university costs. Good preparation for the SAT exam is essential.

 

We take care of the rest of the process at Global College USA. It is very important to contact Global College USA well in advance so we can begin to prepare the process in good time. The earlier we contact, the better. This will will increase our chances of finding soccer scholarships in the United States which will provide us with more options to choose from. We recommend starting the process between 1 and 2 years prior to the intended start date in the USA.

 

Our process begins with a free personalised evaluation of each soccer player to determine his/her possibilities of obtaining a soccer scholarship in the United States. We conduct this free evaluation without any commitment and we communicate with the player and his/her family to explain the realistic possibilities for the individual. Once the player and family are ready to start the process, we take the following steps:

  • We analyse each player: soccer level, academic level, and university preferences. We search for the options that best suit your preferences as well as sport, academic, and financial profile. We talk to the player’s family and discuss which options would best suit their requirements.
  • Create a personal profile of each player including: next steps, dates of exams, preparation of these exams, as well as short, medium, and long term goals of the process.
  • We offer support for the SAT exam.
  • We offer support with the creation of your soccer videowith tips and a guide to create an effective video. We take care of the final edition of the video.
  • With the final video in hand we create an academic and sports profile of the soccer playerwhich we use to contact university soccer coaches.
  • We start contacting universities that fit the profile and preferences of the soccer player and his/her family. We work with all universities in the United States.
  • We negotiatewith each coach or university to gain the maximum scholarship and best possible conditions for the player.
  • We present a report with several options in sufficient time so the player has time to make their decision. The report includes information such as: name of the university, location, size, academic level, soccer level, cost without scholarship, scholarship amount, annual university cost.
  • We offer several options within the player’s budget. We will always offer several alternatives so that families can choose which option is best. We continue to search for more options until the athlete and family are ready to make their choice.
  • We help the athlete and his family with their choice of university, but the final decision is for the family to make.
  • We process the signature of the final offer from the universitythat the athlete has chosen.
  • We check and verify the university division eligibility procedurein which the college competes in (NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA).
  • We help with the admission processwith the chosen university (sending notes, sending SAT exam, paperwork admissions …)
  • We sort out themeal plan and accommodation for the athlete.
  • We help the athlete secure medical insurancein USA.
  • We help with monitoring the process of theUS student visa with each athlete.
  • We help arrange flights and the arrivalof the athlete so that you have someone ready to welcome you and pick you up from the airport.
  • We help with other areas relating to the athlete’s arrival at university such as: sending money to the USA, bank cards, registering for classes, and other questions related to your arrival in the USA.
  • We help the athletefind student jobs within their university.
  • We offersupport throughout athlete’s university experience in the United States with any you queries you may have – transferring university, questions regarding paperwork required, or any other advice or support you might need. All without any extra cost.

    In addition to all these factors, we maintain a very close relationship and are in continuous contact with our athletes and their families. We communicate using WhatsApp, phone calls, email, and in case of urgency you can contact us outside of office hours.

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