One of the most asked questions by athletes and parents of athletes is “What’s the most important set of skills high school soccer players should have if they want to play college soccer?”
- Fitness is huge. Most colleges need fitness. Athleticism first in the U.S. Fast, fast to the ball, the ability to handle the intensity of the game.
- Soccer IQ – An understanding of the game. You need to know where to go, where to be. Off the ball movement. Watch games on TV, study your position. Ask questions of coaches. Coaches are busy in a team practice; they may not understand what you specifically need.
- Good grades. It’s so competitive to get into college, and while basketball and football might have different expectations, for soccer, the highest grades possible always helps.
- Understanding how to write a good letter.
- A realistic view of where you are as a player – this goes for parents, too. For example, some kids choose less demanding soccer programs (D3) because they want to focus on academics. D1 soccer demands are MUCH higher – it means you’re traveling a lot, missing classes, completing work on the road, etc. There’s nothing wrong with playing D2 or D3. If no D1 schools are coming after you now, it just means where you are now as a player is not what they need – but things can change if you continue to improve as a player.
For example, sometimes, kids who don’t get into the big school they wanted will quit soccer all together. Then a year later they miss it and wish they were still on a team.
Figure out who you really are and what fits for you. Maybe a smaller soccer program for the first year or two is better, then you can transfer to a bigger soccer program with more experience.