5 Misconceptions That May Prevent Your Child From Playing Soccer In College

1. Parents and kids don’t have a realistic view of where their daughter or son can play in college.

If we are really being honest with ourselves, most of us as parents think our kids are definite Division 1 soccer players.  First of all, most parents and kids have no idea the athleticism and skill of college soccer players. If you don’t believe it, just check out some of the college rosters or better yet go see a game in person.  For the record, there are D2 programs and some D3 programs that can and do beat D1 programs regularly.  However, playing for a big time soccer program requires your child to have exceptional ability AND major soccer accomplishments on their soccer resume.



An Example Of A Top Ten Men’s Soccer Program Recruiting Class



I used Clemson University as an example because:

  1. It’s a perennial top 10-15 program that competes for National Championships in soccer
  2. It’s my Alma Mater, so I’m familiar with them
  3. It’s very representative of the type program parents think of when they think “D1”

As you can see in the above graphic, if your son is going to compete with this incoming class, especially for scholarship money, he better be one heck of a soccer player, as in the top 3 in his state.

***Note***  2 signees’ bios were omitted.  They are both walk on players.  They are both great High School and Club players, who happen to be legacies.  They signed with Clemson because that is where they always wanted to go, irrespective of soccer, and that is perfectly fine.  After all, our kids should pick colleges where they can thrive with or without soccer.


2. Playing On A Certain Team Or Club Is The Best Chance For Your Child To Play In College

As parents, I know we obsess over what team or what club our child should play for. It is very important. That’s our number one job as parents; getting our kids to play in the right environment for them.  However, playing on a certain team or playing on a certain club does not guarantee that your child can play in college. The college coach is not going to recruit the team. They’re not going to recruit the club. They’re going to recruit your child, and it’s what your child does that is gonna make the difference. Now having said that, your child should play at the highest level of competition that they can, but at the end of the day it’s all about your child.


3. If your child gets a letter from a college program they think they are being recruited.

It’s possible they are. Then again, it could be just a form letter. Coaches have hundreds, maybe even thousands of kids in their database and they are sending letters to everyone to invite them to camps. In a lot of cases these camps are how coaches earn additional money.


Also, a lot of kids have recruiting profiles with these recruiting companies and they’ll send you an email saying a coach has looked at your recruiting profile. It’s possible that a coach did. It’s also possible that anyone else could. You really have no way of verifying who actually looked at your profile.  Usually that’s a marketing ploy in order to get you to pay to see who’s looked at your profile.


4.  If your kid signs up for every possible camp, summer league, winter league that’s their best chance to get a scholarship.

Playing year round is not a necessity to get a scholarship. It does help your child brush up on their skills and stay sharp and improve, but in order to get a scholarship they’re gonna have to do the tried and true.  Cast a wide net, reach out to coaches, develop a relationship, and work hard to get a roster spot.



5.  If your kid is good then coaches will knock down your door in order to get them.

Soccer recruiting is very different from the recruiting that we all see on TV such as in college football and basketball recruiting where if there’s a star football player and you read he has 27 offers.

  1. not all those 27 offers are genuine, committable offers.
  2. football and basketball recruiting are revenue sports so that they are fully funded. You either get a full ride or you get nothing at all.
  3. Soccer on the other hand has limited scholarships and those scholarships can be divided among several people on a team as a coach sees fit, so it’s a very different situation than the revenue sports that you always see on TV.

Also, in order for college coaches to come running your kid has to have the total package. They’ve got to be at their top academically. They’ve got to have the extra curricular resume, and they have to be exceptional on the pitch, and that’s not even a guarantee that everyone will come see them.


Bottom Line:


Getting a roster spot in College is simple, but not easy.  Your child needs to:

  1. Be technically sound
  2. Be fit
  3. Have good grades
  4. Have good character
  5. Cast a wide net to give themselves options
  6. Develop relationships with coaches
  7. Market themselves
  8. Work hard





Buford Mobley

Buford Mobley is passionate about educating soccer parents and helping to guide them through the bewildering and complicated maze of elite Youth Soccer. He focuses on practical strategies that parents can use to develop confident, successful, and happy soccer players. He is the Father of a daughter who played recreational soccer for eight years, and a son who currently plays competitive travel soccer. He holds a “F” license with USSF.

Ben Edwards - July 17, 2018

Good points Buford! Maybe one other thing to add to the “Bottom Line” list is the continued desire to play in college.

We haven’t been through that since our kids are younger but I’ve certainly heard personal stories of kids who were really great at soccer but played so hard/so much at the high school age that they got burned out and decided not to play in college even though they were talented enough & had the grades.

It would seem sad to put so much intensity and focus on getting a scholarship that it sucks the joy out of playing and turns them off the game. How do parents balance that? Not sure, I guess it’s different for each kid. Might be something interesting to write about in the future?

Buford Mobley - July 21, 2018


That is a great point. I may write about that in the near future.

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