4 Steps To Identify Which NCAA Division I Should Aim For When Pursuing College Soccer
IDENTIFY YOUR LEVEL
Evaluating your own level soccer ability is often a difficult, but important process. As a soccer player about to begin your college recruiting process it is important to understand where you fit in, how good you are, and what divisions and schools you should be looking at. Usually parents don’t have a clear idea of what levels of ability are required at NCAA DI, DII and DIII schools. Even if you know what NCAA Division you should be aiming for, there is a wide range of schools within each division when it comes to the strength of the soccer team. Following the 4 steps below will greatly assist you in evaluating what types of schools you should be applying to, based on your ability.
1. Assess Recruiting Emails
A good way to gauge your level as a player is to assess the emails that you receive from college coaches. If you are a decent player, after attending an ID Camp you will likely receive numerous emails from interested college coaches. Future 500 ID Camps are organized to maximize this process in that each camp has over 75 coaches from a carefully selected mix of DI, DII and DIII schools. Attending Future 500 and being seen for multiple days by these coaches usually leads to post camp communications. In fact, 93% of coaches in 2018 contacted multiple players after camp. If you attend Future 500 and receive emails from mainly DII coaches after camp – this is a good indication that this is the level you should be pursuing.
Given that Future 500 consists of multiple days of playing in different formats (11 v 11, 8 v 8, break-out sessions and more) you will have ample opportunity to be identified by coaches. Register and learn more here.
2. Speak To Student-Athletes
Get feedback from individuals who have played soccer in college. For example, if you are a soccer player that wants to play for a high-level NCAA Division III program, it would be beneficial to get honest feedback from an individual who has played at that level. It can be great to hear, “You’re good enough to play for Duke!” from a parent, but unless that parent has played your sport at Duke, he or she just isn’t qualified to make that judgement.
3. Attend College Games
Watch a number of college soccer games in person to get a feel for the level. A big reason that players and families enter the soccer recruiting process with unrealistic expectations is that they’ve never taken the time to watch a collegiate contest. How can you know if a college is a good fit if you haven’t seen the team compete? If you are not able to attend a game, go to the school’s website to watch the game online. As you are watching, try to answer this question honestly: “Would I compete well if I were playing in this game?”
4. Speak With Your Coaches
You should also speak directly to your own coaches when deciding where to play sport in college. Often, your coaches will have had significant experience watching their players get recruited to certain schools and will have a decent idea of what level of ability is correlated to specific levels of college soccer. Have an honest conversation with these coaches about your decision to play soccer in college and ask for their feedback and assessment.
For more information on how Future 500 factors into your journey toward college soccer read here.