Soccer is really gaining ground as a legitimately popular sport in the US, thanks in large part to the success of the MLS and bolstered recently by the fine performance of the United States team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup that was held in South Africa.
In order to help further the soccer cause in America and groom a new generation of US soccer players to compete in future worldwide competitions, the number of soccer scholarships in America is increasing.
Any sports scholarship requires that a student complete a full course of study while still representing the school in their chosen sport and soccer scholarships in America are no different.
Who Offers Soccer Scholarships in America?
Dozens of colleges across the country offer soccer scholarships and/or financial assistance for soccer players attending the school in return for their participation in the school’s soccer team. Like any other major college sport though, different colleges compete at different levels. Here are the major levels of soccer played at American colleges and universities across the country:
NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) I
The NCAA 1 is the most renowned division, which the biggest colleges/universities are members of. These schools all have top of the line soccer scholarship programs available.
Compared to division I, this comprises smaller colleges/universities but students may still find that the soccer scholarships available are quite substantial in nature.
Considered to be the weakest among all NCAA division levels for they do not usually provide soccer scholarships per se. But they do provide aids in the form of academic scholarships, grants or on-campus jobs (working scholars).
NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics)
It is considered to be comparable to NCAA II and some schools do offer soccer scholarships to their soccer playing students.
What does a Player have to do to get a Soccer Scholarship in America?
The first and perhaps most obvious requirement is actually being good at soccer. Generally, soccer players will be groomed for soccer scholarships as early as their freshman year in high school. Even if their high school does not boast a great soccer program though most kids who love soccer will have been playing since about the age of 11 and by the time they reach their mid-teens coaches working with them will begin to access their chances of obtaining soccer scholarships in America.
There are also strict academic requirements for those seeking soccer scholarships in America. This means that soccer-mad students have to pay as much attention to getting good SAT scores as they do to scoring goals on the pitch. For foreign students whose native tongue is not English hoping to secure a soccer scholarship in America a good score on the TOEFL or the Test of English as a Foreign Language is another essential requirement for consideration for any soccer scholarship program.
Visit ncaa.org for more information about soccer scholarships in America and for the list of schools and to obtain more detailed instructions on how to prepare to compete for a soccer scholarship.