Playing college soccer is an exciting experience that offers many opportunities to develop as a footballer, study what you like and meet new people from all walks of life. However, there are a few things that you should know before you get on a plane halfway around the world. During my recruitment process, I didn’t get the necessary information I felt that I deserved. This blog is designed to ensure that you make the most of your experience and you can make an informed decision on which college soccer program would be best suited for you.
1. How important is accreditation?
One of the most important things to consider before playing college soccer is the accreditation of the college or university you are considering. Accreditation is the process by which a school's academic programs are evaluated and approved by an independent organization. It's important to choose an accredited school to ensure that you receive a quality education and that your degree is recognized by employers. When I went to transfer during my freshman year, I had received offers from colleges and universities across the country. When I went to transfer my grades, I kept getting rejected as the course work I’d done in my freshman year wouldn’t transfer to the new program. It took months to eventually find a school that would accept my credits… Don’t make the same mistake.
Source: Drexel Online
2. What are the different college associations and divisions?
There are several college associations and divisions that govern college soccer. The most well-known is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which has three divisions. Each division is primarily separated by funding. In all of these divisions you will find four year programs where you can study for a bachelors and post graduate degrees. Certain conferences within each division can be more competitive than the others and it’s all about trying to find the right fit for a prospective student-athlete. Additionally, there are other associations such as the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). Each association and division has different rules and regulations, so it's important to research and understand them before committing to a school. At the end of the day you want to find a school where you’re going to play, study the degree you want, be in the right location and will ultimately provide you with the best possible experience.
Source: Exact Sports
3. What is the length of the college season?
Another important thing to consider before playing college soccer is the length of the season. The college soccer season typically runs from August to November for most schools, with playoffs and National Championships taking place in December. This can be a much shorter season than what you may have been used to in high school or club soccer. Additionally, the college soccer season is highly competitive, with practices and games taking up a significant amount of time and energy. There is also a spring season, where you play a number of exhibition games and train consistently before summer breaks begin. The pre-professional summer leagues will be explored further in a future blog post.
In conclusion, playing college soccer can be a rewarding experience, but it's important to understand the different factors that can impact your experience. Make sure to research and consider the accreditation of the school, the different college associations and divisions, and the length of the college soccer season before committing to a school. By doing so, you'll be better equipped to make informed decisions and get the most out of your college soccer experience.