I Want to Play in College (Part 2)

By Tony Earp

If you missed Part 1, you can view it here:

This is the most anxious part of the college process for most. How am I going to afford it? Some families have the financial means to pay for a college education, but with rising costs of tuition it is becoming much more difficult. This means many students will need college loans, scholarships, and a job in school to help cover their expenses.

I know many aspiring college players have a dream of earning a full athletic scholarship to the program of their choice. It has been documented in many other articles and books how rare this is for a soccer player. With more than twenty players on a roster at a time, and a limited number of athletic scholarships, a “full ride” is an unrealistic hope for most.

This is why performing well in the classroom is a HUGE asset to players. There is more academic money to be earned at schools than there is athletic money. Having outstanding grades, test scores, and other extracurricular/service credentials on a college transcript can ensure a player more money than success on the soccer field. On a side note, these are things coaches look for as well to decide if they want to bring a player into the program. Not many coaches will take a risk on a player, no matter their skill level, if they feel they will be an issue off the field or struggle to stay eligible to play.

When a player and family do the research to find academic scholarships, financial aid, grants, loans, and other means of paying for college, along with some athletic scholarship money, even the most expensive schools can become an option financially to attend.

The Ultimate Consideration:
Simply, if you were not going to play soccer at the school, would you still want to be there? If your answer is “yes” to this question, the school should be strongly considered. If the answer is “no”, I always implore a player to look elsewhere.
Now how about soccer related items?

Of course these need to be considered as well, and are important to where a player will enjoy their experience playing soccer.

Team Roster:
There are some things a perspective student can tell about a program when looking at the team’s roster. Here are a couple things to look for…

How many seniors are on the team? Yes, some years a program will only have a handful of seniors, but a severe lack of seniors or no seniors on a roster can be an indication that many players to do not stick around for four years. There are a lot of reasons this could be the case, but it is something that should be researched.

What is the average size and weight of the players? This can be an indication of what type of player the coach is looking for and the team’s style of play.

How many players are listed who play your position? This could be a sign of the team being of need of players who play your position or that the team is pretty set. This is especially true for goalkeepers. If the team has 4 goalkeepers on the roster, and most are sophomores or freshmen, there is a good chance the school will not be recruiting a goalkeeper for a couple years.

Where are all the players from? Here you may look to see if the coach recruits in your area. Coaches tend to have recruiting patterns or habits. If there are some players from your area, it means the coach has recruited out of your area before. It may be more likely the coach would get to see you play or trusts someone’s opinion in the area to scout you. When I was looking for a school, one roster I looked at was comprised mainly of players from Europe. I had no problem with that, but it made me feel the coach definitely had a preference in regards to where he recruited and the type of player he wanted on his team.

Number of players on the roster? There are some schools that bring kids into the program as it helps the school with their enrollment numbers. If a roster exceeds 30 players, it may be worth inquiring about the large roster with the coach.

Tony Earp directs SuperKick/TeamZone Columbus’ Soccer Skills programs. Tony has a Masters in Education from The Ohio State University. Tony was a standout player both academically and athletically at The Ohio State University, earning multiple honors both on the field and in the classroom. He can be reached at tearp@superkickcolumbus.com

One Response

  1. […] The following is the third in Tony Earp’s excellent article, (which we’ve brought you in three parts) with tips for getting to and choosing the right college for soccer. If you missed them, you can read Part One and Part Two: […]

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