College Soccer Timeline

Although many high school students may not yet know what college they’d like to attend or, often, what career path they’d like to follow, if you’re interested to play soccer in college you should start planning for college and start preparing for the process as early as your freshman year of high school.

As you start your journey towards playing soccer in college, be sure to educate yourself about the various associations:

If you have any questions or need guidance related to college recruitment, the director of LSA's college programs can be contacted at: .

Freshman Year

During your Freshman (and Sophomore) year in high school, college soccer coaches cannot yet begin contacting you with personalized emails or phone calls. However, top NCAA Division I college coaches are often watching for talented Freshman prospects at tournaments and may send you invitations to their soccer camps or general information about their school. NCAA Division II, III and NAIA schools may also send out camp invitations and school information but, for most of these schools, it’s too early to start looking for potential recruits.

Although the colleges cannot start personally communicating with you, there are still actions you should be taking to prepare for the possibility of playing in college:

  • Create an initial list of possible colleges you’d like to attend.
  • Make unofficial visits to learn more about the schools in which you’re interested: attend a college match, contact the Admissions Office for college tour information.
  • Begin attending soccer clinics and soccer camps.
  • Begin attending College ID soccer camps.
  • Attend college showcase tournaments with your team whenever possible.
  • Email the coach prior to your participation at each tournament, clinic or camp and to express your interest in being a part of their school and soccer program. Refer to Contacting a College Coach.
  • Remember, when you’re at showcase tournaments, college clinics, and camps, you’re always being evaluated: on-the-field, off-the-field, warmups, etc.
  • Get out the video camera and start recording your games, tournaments, soccer camps, and any extra training you attend. Video is a great way to make an impression with coaches and it will take many hours of video recording to find some of your beat action.
  • Most important, work hard in school and focus on getting good grades.

Sophomore Year

During your Sophomore year in high school, college coaches can still only send you general information and still cannot personally communicate with you about their program. However, Sophomore year is the biggest year for evaluation by top NCAA Division I soccer programs. Coaches will attend the major tournaments across the country to evaluate talented athletes for their programs. Some NCAA Division II, III and NAIA schools may be sending out camp invitations and school information but, for it’s still too early for most of these schools to begin evaluating athletes for their soccer programs.

If you haven’t already started researching and preparing for colleges during your Freshman year, be sure to start working on those actions right away and then work on the actions below:

  • If you have a long list of colleges that interest you, refine the list to 5-15 colleges. This could continue to evolve over time but allows you to start focusing on those which are of most interest.
  • With your LSA Select coach, discuss your interest of college soccer and ask them for a realistic view of what level of college soccer you may be capable of playing. Remember, not everyone can play NCAA Division I but there are plenty of opportunities to play other levels of soccer. And, many players find playing at lower levels more enjoyable (less time training and often more time playing during the games).
  • If you’re interested, and capable, in playing at NCAA Division I schools, focus on attending those colleges’ soccer camps and clinics.
  • Try to get coaches to watch you play at college showcase tournaments. IMPORTANT: College coaches attend tournaments to watch players who have contacted them prior to the tournament – they do not come to tournaments to identify prospects from random games. Before the tournament, contact the coach with your soccer resume (including your jersey number and color) along with your team’s schedule. If your game schedule should change, update the coach before the tournament and then follow-up with an email or phone call after the tournament to thank them. Refer to Contacting a College Coach.
  • Attend College ID soccer camps.
  • Remember, when you’re at showcase tournaments, college clinics, and camps, you’re always being evaluated: on-the-field, off-the-field, warmups, etc.
  • Keep video recording your games, tournaments, and training… your best action may yet be coming.
  • Remember to keep working hard in school and keep your grades up!
  • Take the PSAT.

Junior Year

Athletes that have been consider talented prospects for NCAA Division I schools may begin receiving personalized emails and letters from coaches after September 1st of their Junior year in high school. These athletes will be invited to campus on unofficial visits. Most recruits for NCAA Division I soccer will make their verbal commitments by the end of their junior year. Athletes that are prospects for NCAA Division II and III levels as well as NAIA will also be receiving personalized communications from the college coaches as well as camp invitations. Some of these schools may invite you for an unofficial visit but it depends on the specific school and program.

Now’s the time you’ll be narrowing down your school choices. Make sure you continue taking action to play soccer in college:

  • When possible, watch your target schools play a soccer match. See what level of soccer abilities they recruit and ask yourself if you have the ability to play at that level.
  • Based on coach feedback, your interests and abilities, further narrow down your list of colleges to 5-6. Make sure you’re aiming at an appropriate level. If you’re aiming too high either academically or athletically, adjust your list so you can get noticed by coaches that best match your abilities.
  • If you’re considering to play soccer at an NCAA school, you must register at the NCAA Eligibility Center
  • If you’re considering to play soccer at an NAIA school, you must register at the NAIA Eligibility Center
  • Attend College ID soccer camps.
  • Provide interested college coaches and/or the Athletic Academic Counselor at your targeted schools with recent, official transcripts and test scores. Your high school academic counselor can help you.
  • Provide official transcripts to the NCAA and/or NAIA at the completion of your junior year. Your high school academic counselor can help you.
  • Keep recording video of you playing your highest levels of soccer.
  • Continue working hard at your school to keep your grades as high as possible!
  • Take the SAT or ACT.

Senior Year

This is it. Time to find out where you’ll be playing.

NCAA Division I soccer program coaches can start calling top prospects starting July 1st. Most of these athletes will likely have already made an unofficial visit to the campus, have met the coach, and many will have already made a verbal commitment. If they haven’t yet made a commitment, they will commit during fall of their Senior year.

NCAA Division II coaches can begin calling their prospective players beginning upon June 15th. Potential recruits will be invited to campus for official or unofficial visits during the Fall and will meet with the coach and possibly players. During this time, coaches usually extend offers to their program.

NCAA Division III and NAIA coaches can call at any time but typically start calling prospective players after July 1st. Commitments for Division III and NAIA schools can happen at any point during senior year and can go into summer after senior year.

It’s getting close and perhaps you’ve been fortunate to receive an offer from one of the schools on your list but the works not over yet. There’s still a few actions to take care of in your Senior year:

  • As you receive phone calls, or other communications, from the college coaches, follow-up with them quickly and professionally.
  • If you’re offered an invitation to visit the campus and meet with the coach, try to schedule the visit for as soon as possible. Remember, there may be a long list of prospects willing to sign a college commitment – don’t miss out on your opportunity to play with the school.
  • Before visiting a campus and meeting with the coach, be sure to prepare a list of questions you have about the school and soccer program. Don’t forget to take a copy of the list of questions with you!
  • While visiting the campus and coach, take a notebook to write down notes of your visit, answers to your questions, and any impressions you have of the school, coach, and soccer program. Remember, you will be attending the college you choose for four years. Review notes at home and discuss your options with parents and friends to make sure you’ll be happy spending the next four years at the school.
  • Before any official visits to a college, provide your latest official transcripts and test scores to the school. Your high school’s academic counselor can help you.
  • Provide your latest official transcripts to the NCAA and/or NAIA. Your high school’s academic counselor can help you.
  • If you’re offered a scholarship from an NCAA school, you will need to sign a National Letter of Intent. There are two “signing” periods for scholarships: February and August. For more information, refer to National Letter of Intent.
  • Whether or not you decide to play soccer at college, enjoy your campus experience, work hard in the classroom, make sure you find the time to keep up with homework, and strive for the highest grades possible!


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