What Does "All-American" Mean?

Dalle Ave
November 18, 2021

Today we are going to delve deeper into the term “All-American”. Many of us have heard this term before, but not a lot of us know what it is. So what does "All-American" mean? Well, it refers to the idea that the players have been selected from all across America.

The term "All-American" was first coined in 1889 by Casper Whitney and Walter Camp. These two men wrote for a magazine called The Week’s Sport that wanted to recognize excellent college athletes. Since then, the "All-American Team" has been a recognition given to top performing U.S. athletes in collegiate and secondary school in a specific sport over the past season. This "award" was originally meant for American Football players, but has since crossed over to various other sports.

Requirements to Become an All-American

There are certain requirements to become an All-American, but these requirements vary depending on which sport you are competing in. For example, for soccer, you need to have a minimum GPA of 3.3 on the 4-point scale (click here to find out more about what a GPA is) and you must start in more than half of the games in the season. On the other hand, Track and Field is a little different. The US Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association administers the selection based on the top 8 finishers in each event. Each individual sport has its own unique criteria and selection process, but the end result is the same. At the end of each year, an All-American team is selected, honouring the best performers of the season.

Preseason All-American

In certain sports, there is also the chance to become a Preseason All-American. This team is usually selected by way of a coaches' poll, or journalists' vote. It is a prediction of which players will impress the most in the coming season. This can be decided on a number of factors, such as performance in previous seasons, strength of a player's team, or even just general hype. These teams are not dependent entirely on performance, and are generally seen as less prestigious than the postseason ones.

But What Do They Do?

It is important to note that these All-American teams do not actually form a team and compete together. This is just the recognition of being the best player in your sport throughout the year. It is similar to when a "Team of the Tournament" is selected at the end of a big International competition. An example of this is the Soccer World Cup, or even the PFA Team of the Year.

Professional Counterparts

In US sport, there are similar teams for their professional leagues. There are two major recognition-based teams in the NFL. The first is the Pro Bowl, in which fans vote to get their favourite players recognized in one of two teams. These teams then play each other in an exhibition game the week before the Super Bowl. The second team is what is known as the All-Pro team. This is voted for by journalists - similar to the end-of-season awards like MVP and Coach of the Year. Being named an All-Pro is seen as the highest honour for many positions, and players' careers are often judged on how many selections they earned.

In the NBA, the "team of the year" idea is played out in the annual "All-Star" game. This is the exhibition game where two superteams - originally from the East and West conferences - take each other on. The format of this game has changed over the years to make it more of a fun experience, and the weekend includes famous elements like the Slam Dunk and Three Point Contests.

The Honour Of Being All-American

These concepts also exist in the MLB, America's baseball league, and the NHL and MLS. These teams that reward excellent performance throughout America's sports leagues show how high of an honour being an All-American is. Even the name brings images of golden boys and girls to mind, who excel at everything and stand for the best values of the USA. Who knows? Maybe with hard work, determination, and resilience - not to mention a little luck, and some help from Aspire Atlantic - you could be named an All-American one day!

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!


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