College Soccer: To Play or Not to Play
At some point, most teenage athletes encounter the question, “to play, or not to play?” at the next level…presumably, in college. For many, they only see an inevitable end to a sport that has provided hours of enjoyment, lifelong friendships, valuable skills, and good health. And, no wonder! The decision is daunting, and the process is difficult to navigate.
Do I have the ability to play in college?
How can I attract the attention of college coaches?
Will I earn a scholarship to play?
Which college soccer programs are right for me?
Where do I begin?
In response to these questions and concerns, we launched a program during the summer of 2013 aimed to illuminate the pathway to a successful career as a collegiate soccer player. The Academy’s College Prep Program (CPP) is a separate track offered during all four of our 6-day sessions, specifically designed for rising freshmen, sophomores, and juniors looking to continue playing soccer after high school. Athletes registered for this program work with our dedicated staff of CPP coaches both in the classroom and on the field covering a variety of topics, from: “how to email a coach” to “how to standout at a tournament”. On top of the daily specialized soccer, fitness, and classroom sessions; each CPP athlete receives individualized feedback about their personal road to playing soccer in college. “It helps players recognize their strengths, areas of improvement, and the programs that are right for them–assisting them in future recruiting and training efforts”, explains Sarah Chapman, one of our 2013 CPP coaches.
A Soccer Program for EVERY Girl
Two of the biggest myths we help clarify for athletes in the College Prep Program are that “playing in college” must mean:
1- going to a big Division I athletic program
2- receiving a hefty athletic scholarship
As the statistics below reveal, there are a variety of programs, of every shape and size, for an athlete to consider. Only a small percentage are perennial powerhouses like UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Florida, or Stanford that we all hear about. There are:
– 314 Division I women’s soccer teams, each offering up to 14 athletic scholarships, totaling 8,302 athletes.
– 235 Division II women’s soccer teams, each offering up to 9.9 athletic scholarships, totaling 6,000 athletes.
– 424 Division III women’s soccer teams, totaling 10,195 athletes. No athletic scholarships are available.
– 275+ NAIA women’s soccer teams, totaling 5,500 athletes. No athletic scholarships are available.
Given the large number of soccer programs available across the board, and the additional opportunities to play club and intramural soccer, we at the Academy believe there is a collegiate soccer program for EVERY female soccer player. So, the question is not “to play or not to play?” but rather “which program is right for me?”
Which Program is Right for Me?
Admittedly, answering this new question is not particularly easy. It requires the ability to do quite a bit of researching, and soul-searching, to consider the following factors truthfully and openly:
* Academic: What types of schools will I be able to get in to and thrive at? Which schools offer my desired major or area of study?
* Athletic: What type of player am I? What are my strengths and weakness? What level of soccer do I want to play? As a freshman, do I want to be a starter or a reserve player?
* Financial: How does my family plan on financing my college expenses? Do I need assistance in paying for college? Are there other options available to me–like grants or financial aid?
* Location: Do I want to be near my family? Are there certain states or schools that interest me?
* Size: Would I prefer being a big fish in a small pond, or a small fish in a big pond? Do I need a direct relationship with my teacher in order to be successful academically?
The advantage of the College Prep Program is that we can provide unbiased direction and feedback to athletes and families regarding all of these topics, as well as access to presentations and conversations with current college players and coaches from an array of schools across the spectrum.
2014 College Prep Program at the Berkshire Soccer Academy
So why stop playing the sport that has given you so much, if you don’t have to? There is a college soccer program that is right for you, and we can help you find it!
The 2014 College Prep Program is offered during all four of our 6-day sessions this summer:
Session II: Sunday, July 6 – Friday, July 11
Session III: Monday, July 14 – Saturday, July 19
Session IV: Monday, July 21 – Saturday, July 26
Session V: Monday, July 28 – Saturday, August 2
College Prep Program Reviews
“The athletes thoroughly enjoyed listening to and speaking with the College Soccer Panel that was composed of current players, former players and college coaches from all levels. Questions were asked and answered about all topics concerning being a student athlete. They also enjoyed learning about the different options and opportunities to play college soccer, including Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA and even intramural and club programs.” – Dena Floyd (CPP Coach, 2013)
“I really enjoyed the CPP program and all of the information it provided me, not only on college, but on how to become a better athlete as a whole.” – Emma (CPP Athlete, 2013)