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A Checklist for Choosing the Right College Soccer ProgramBy Sarah Stratigakis
Sarah is a Senior at the University of Michigan studying Sports Management. Sarah plays on the soccer team for the University of Michigan and the Canadian Women's National Team.


A Checklist for Choosing the Right College Soccer Program

If you want to play college soccer, the first and possibly most important thing you will do is decide where you want to play. Selecting the right college is never easy, and selecting the school with the right soccer program is even more challenging.

There are lots of factors to consider as you evaluate options for college soccer, such as geographic location, campus life, level of competition, and more. This article will shed some light on the college selection process and offer a few tips to consider as you navigate the college soccer recruiting process. 

Santa Clara’s Women’s Soccer Team Goal Celebration in NCAA Championship Game

Make A College Soccer Checklist

First, make a list of what you value in a school. Rank the factors in order of importance from 1 to 5. Writing down your thoughts will help you to prioritize and keep track of all the different factors (there are a lot!). There is significance to the pen to paper approach so that you can clearly see your thoughts and be more intentional in what you want to achieve.

This process will give you a better idea of what you truly want, as well as what is truly possible. Everyone’s values and circumstances are different, so stay true to yourself and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. It may take some time to make this list, which is okay! But don’t procrastinate; this is a big life decision. This list also affects other decisions, such as what college soccer ID camps to attend or where to take your official or unofficial visits.

Most importantly, when the time comes for choosing between colleges where you’ve been accepted, you can wholeheartedly tell yourself you made the right choice because you will know which factors you value most.

Example of College Soccer Checklist

Key Questions to Consider in Choosing Your Soccer College 

Quality of Soccer team / Athletics  

  • Is the team NCAA D1, D2, D3?
  • What conference does the team play in (Big Ten, ACC, SEC, etc.)?
  • How many titles has the team won? What is the college soccer team ranked?
  • How much is the school willing to offer in soccer scholarships? Full, half, 5%?
  • What is the team’s playing style and where can you fit within that?
  • What are the coach’s playing philosophy and values? Do they align with yours?
  • Will you get playing time? Do you value more playing time or a higher level of competition? 
  • Do you aspire to play soccer professionally after college?
  • What is the culture like within the team? What are the on and off field realtionships with players and coaches?
  • What are the facilities like? E.g. gyms, locker rooms, soccer field quality

Academics

  • What resources does the school offer (free tutors, academic counselors, etc.)?
  • Does the school have a major or at least a couple different majors you might like to study? 
  • What are the top academic programs at the university?
  • Are there well renowned professors?
  • Do you want to attend a big school with 70,000+ students or a small school with 5000 students?
  • Do you like big or small class sizes? 
  • Does the school have a good alumni base and network for future career opportunities?

Campus Life

  • What resources does the campus have (book stores, coffee shops, restaurants, libraries, etc.)?
  • Are their student communities? Is it an inclusive and diverse campus environment?
  • Does the school have strong school spirit and morale?
  • Are their fun social activities and clubs you can join?
  • Do you care to be far or close from home? 
  • What is the weather like? Do you get all four seasons, is it mostly hot, cold, windy, dry, etc?

Recording Your Soccer Games

It goes without saying that as you think about your college options, you should also be recording every single game you play. If you do not already have a soccer camera, you can speak to one of our team members about using Trace.

Trace is the only soccer camera that delivers personalized highlights to your inbox after each game, taking all the work out of the time-consuming process of editing and storing highlights. Even the best players can face challenges in getting a spot on a college soccer team. Just read this case study on Cali Carmichael on how good game film landed her a spot on a D1 team after she had nearly given up.

Playing college soccer is an incredible opportunity, no matter where you play. But weighing the factors to make the best possible choice will give you an even richer college experience.


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