College Field Hockey in the USA is a popular sport, with over 300 universities competing within the NCAA. As hockey is also widely popular and participated in in South Africa, it makes sense that you would be interested in finding a field hockey scholarship to a US university. Unlike other mainstream college sports, however, field hockey has a few unique aspects to it. For starters, field hockey in the USA University system is a women’s only sport. On top of that, while the NCAA has field hockey, the NAIA and the NJCAA do not sponsor it as an intercollegiate sport. So, how do you win a field hockey scholarship? Well, read on to find out exactly how you can win a field hockey scholarship to a USA university!
College Hockey Scholarships
All college teams have a limit on how many scholarships they can award, mandated by the NCAA. The NCAA has three divisions - Division 1, 2, and 3. DI schools can award 12 full scholarships per team, and DII schools can award 6. DIII schools do not award field hockey scholarships at all, but rather award academic financial aid based on a student's high school marks. Another aspect to note with the NCAA is that there are initial eligibility academic standards that need to be achieved to qualify to play field hockey in the USA. Read about these standards here.
If you want to give yourself the best chance at getting a scholarship to compete at college level, we always suggest starting early. We say starting in the beginning of your Grade 10 year will give you the best chances of getting a substantial scholarship. If you are reading this and are older than that - do not worry! We have sent many students across to the USA who have joined later than this - some who even joined after finishing Matric!
5 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF GETTING A FIELD HOCKEY SCHOLARSHIP
- Play club level field hockey.
Making the first team at your school is amazing. But to really improve your chances, club level involvement is crucial. Making a provincial side and playing IPTs goes a long way too.
- Stay on top of your grades.
Ensure that you have read the academic standards link above to make the correct decisions about your subjects. It's important to understand that the better your marks are, the better your chances of winning a scholarship.
- Video Footage
Video footage in a team sport is important. Record as much of it as possible, from match footage to training. Coaches in the US cannot travel to watch you in person, so your footage becomes the only way they can see you play.
- Get a Formal Coach.
Improving by yourself is difficult enough as it is. With the added help of a great coach your skill levels could increase vastly.
- Be mindful of your presence on social media.
In today's world, our personal lives are publicly displayed on social media. Pay attention to what people find when they google your name or search for you on a social media platform. Having a profile picture that shows how funny and awesome you are is great, but remember the programs don’t want to recruit partygoers. Mostly, they are looking for smart, intelligent, and responsible young people. This is one way you can show your desire to win a field hockey scholarship to a US university.
The Angel Nkosi Story
Angel Nkosi set a great example for how to win a hockey scholarship. Coming from St Mary's DSG in Pretoria, Angel had always been a standout hockey player. She realized that in order to take the next step, she needed to work even harder than she had before. Like the saying goes, hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard - and Angel had both in spades. Angel was called up for the age group national side three consecutive times from Grade 10 through to Matric. This allowed her to showcase her talents on the biggest stage, as she led the SA U/18 side to a 4th-place finish at the Junior Olympics. Through her continued success and her dedication to her game, Angel's efforts were paying off in a big way.
These came to a head when another opportunity presented itself: the chance to win a field hockey scholarship to a USA university. Angel contacted Aspire Atlantic, and together we worked on finding the perfect fit for her, both in a place where her talents would be appreciated and enhanced, and where she felt she would thrive in an academic and social environment. After fielding offers from many interested schools, Angel selected Ball State University in Indiana. At the Cardinals, Angel had an excellent freshman season. She led all freshmen in goals, and was named to the prestigious National Field Hockey Coaches Association DI National Academic Squad. We can't wait to see how Angel does in the rest of her college career. Who knows who high Angel and the Cardinals can fly?
Remember, it’s always the perfect time to begin your journey towards studying at the university of your dreams. Sign up here for a free consultation with one of our recruitment experts. You could join over 300 student-athletes already placed in the USA, competing at the highest level and earning a world-class degree!