USA College soccer was first played between men in 1869, when Rutgers University took on Princeton. Women’s soccer was only established much later – at Castleton University in the mid-1960s – but has seen explosive growth ever since. The formation of college women’s soccer can be directly accredited with catapulting the USA women’s team to the number 1 spot in the world, while the men’s game gets stronger with each passing season.
Today, soccer is still the fastest-growing college sport, with university teams being made up of a healthy mix of international and US students. Only around one-third of players at top-ranked colleges are American born. Through this diversity, the college system has produced superstars, with players like Clint Dempsey, Alex Morgan, Landon Donovan, Mia Hamm, and standout Leeds United midfielder Jack Harrison all playing college soccer before making it as professionals.
NCAA men’s soccer teams are entitled to give out 9.9 full scholarships at the Division 1 (D1) level, and 9 at the D2 level, while D3 colleges do not give out funding for soccer at all. It must be noted that players can still win academic scholarships to D3 institutions while playing soccer. NCAA D1 women’s soccer teams can give out 14 full scholarships, D2 are allowed 9.9 and, much like the men teams, D3 colleges do not give any sports-related scholarship away at all.
NAIA and NJCAA soccer teams are able to give out very generous soccer scholarships, with the NJCAA entitled to 18 full scholarships for each of their men’s and women’s soccer teams. The NAIA follow the same scholarship distribution rules as the NCAA D1 teams mentioned above.
Your journey to the soccer program of your dreams could begin right now! As gathering video footage of yourself playing is a large part of the college soccer recruiting process, it is best to start as early as you can. This will leave you with enough time to find an offer from your ideal school and program. Generally, a good time to start the process is at the beginning of Grade 10, although there is no need to worry if you are already past that point. Apply now to speak to one of our expert recruiters who can answer all your questions about the college sport scholarship recruitment process!