College soccer scholarships to the USA are very sort after from student-athletes playing in countries around the world because they allow for not only a world class education, but also the opportunity to train and develop both physically and mentally over four years until they graduate.
Through the years the american college pathway has proven a fantastic way for thousands of soccer players at all different levels to develop and has also served as a springboard for some to international stardom.
Players such as Ryan Nelsen (Greensboro College), Brad Friedel (UCLA), Brian McBride (Saint Louis), Kasey Keller (Portland), Clint Dempsey (Furman) and Claudio Reyna (Virginia) to name a few all went on to play in the English Premier League and represent their country for many years.
For high school students approaching graduation trying to decide their next step is always extremely tough, so having this option to study, train, compete and develop is a fantastic pathway for those fortunate enough to be able to pursue it.
College soccer scholarship opportunities vary considerably depending on each players soccer and academic ability. A good point of reference standard-wise if you are considering the US soccer route, is to think that you need to be around a regional level player and/or have strong academic grades in order to receive a good financial scholarship offer. The exact level and grades will depend on your college aspirations and families financial backing.
We work with college soccer coaches on a daily basis in all the various associations and divisions, including the NCAA division one to three, the NAIA and the NJCAA and have done so for the last ten years in order to help soccer players like you find a college that fits what you are looking for.
Here is brief outline for you on the range of soccer scholarships that each division has available to them and the number of programs within each across the country.
In the NCAA division one there are 204 mens college soccer programs across the country competing. Each of these programs has a maximum of 9.9 full athletic scholarships per team to spread out amongst its squad, with amounts typically ranging from a full 100% to 25% in financial aid.
The NCAA division two has 172 programs, each having 9 full soccer scholarships per squad. Both of these divisions vary in standard significantly with some very strong colleges and players in each, but the mid to lower end level is an achievable target for good club/regional players.
In the NAIA there are 12 full scholarships available per squad amongst the 216 college soccer programs. With the NAIA being a seperate association to the NCAA with its own eligibility centre, rules and regulations, you will often find some very good players and teams although generally the standard is not as high as the NCAA.
For student-athletes that have not met the initial eligibilty criteria for either the NCAA or NAIA, the NJCAA is a great option that will act as a stepping stone for two years, allowing you to transfer to a four-year institution for the remaining two years until you graduate. There are 18 full soccer scholarships per squad available to the 291 colleges that compete in this division, with only 25% of the team however being allowed from outside of the USA.
Womens soccer in the USA is one of the biggest female sports in the country, with the US national team consistently ranked amongst the best in the world.
For womens college soccer due to the Title IX rule in college sport there are often more scholarships available to student-athletes good enough to be able to pursue one than their male counterparts. In the NCAA division one for example there are 314 college programs across the country, with each being able to offer 14 full athletic scholarships to spread out amongst its team.
With in the 223 NCAA division two programs there are a maximum of 9.9 full soccer scholarships available for the college coaches to use through their teams. The level of play in each of these divisions is high with the best soccer players around the world all striving for them. However if you are a good club player or regional representative then please contact us and we will happily assess your chances for free!
The NAIA is another great avenue for student-athletes to pursue, they are able to offer 12 full scholarships per team and there are 221 US colleges that offer this.
For high school leavers who do not meet the initial eligibility criteria for the NCAA or NAIA, the NJCAA is a fantastic pathway that will get you right back on track with your academics. There are 276 NJCAA college programs, each able to offer students 18 full soccer scholarships per squad, with only 25% of the team being allowed from outside of the USA.
As well as the soccer scholarships that are available to students at these colleges/universities, if the student-athlete has good academic grades it may also be possible to receive an academic scholarship as well to help with the families financial commitment. Please contact one of our Play Atlantic recruitment coordinators if you would like some advice on this area.