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So You want to Play an NCAA Sport in College? Here’s a quick How To:

I've been an online writer for over seven years. My articles focus on educating people about medical and health concerns.


My message to aspiring college athletes: You can play your sport at the next level if you really want to! Just need to find your fit (school).

Collegiate goals questionnaire: (Parents should fill it out too. Are your goals aligned?)

Trying to:

  1. PLAY D1 on scholarship. Anywhere.
  2. Play D1 at top academic school. Public or Private?
  3. Play D2, a much smaller group of schools are D2. e.g., UCSD, Chico State, Azusa Pacific, 206 of them
  4. (Academic) Gain admission to a school as an athletic recruit where sports helped propel me in.
  5. Play the best D3 ball I can. Most competitive program.
  6. Reach out and secure a preferred walk-on status.
  7. Play at any D3 I can.
  8. Would consider starting at a JC or CC.
  9. Play NAIA, an alternative to NCAA. Like Westmont or College of Idaho.

    Using soccer as an example, here are all the collegiate programs:

List of D1 soccer programs: Complete List of Division 1 Colleges with Men's Soccer Teams ( There are 333

List of D2 soccer programs: Complete List of Division 2 Colleges with Men's Soccer Teams ( There are 206

List of D3 soccer programs: Complete List of Division 3 Colleges with Men's Soccer Teams ( There are 415

List of NAIA soccer programs: Complete List of NAIA Colleges with Men's Soccer Teams ( There are 180

Prioritize schools into 3 groups by: reach, fit, and safety/backup

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Due Diligence (be aware of recruiting blackout dates and when they can reach out, or reply to you) You can talk to coaches anytime after your sophomore year.

Research the schools and programs and academic requirements and standards. Research academic majors to see if they have what you want to do.

Research the current rosters to find a fit?

Are there kids from your school or league or travel team on their team? Scan their record books for players from your school or league. Do they need left backs, for example? Are they graduating all of their Fullbacks? E.g., or Outfielders?

Does their field or weather play to my strengths? Turf or grass? Huge field? Smaller field? Are you willing to play in extreme conditions? Be they hot or cold?

Interscholastic experience, travel ball experience, showcase and ID camp experience, skill video. Strength and agility metrics… distinctions and accolades. Special skills, dribbling, juggling? Backflip?

Communicating to coaches…. Custom video to coach for your top 3-5 programs? Great YouTube examples for videos, emails. Make them feel like their school is atop your list so they will want you and feel like their interest in you will pay dividends. Contact more than 1 coach per school. There is usually a recruiting coach and a head coach. Personalize. Know the recent records and the bios of the coaches. Feature your GPA and scores if they are strong. Find out how much they must travel/fly by air or bus. Are you fine with lots of travel? Are they centrally located in their conference?

Help with essays. Reaching out to alums and administrators.

Planning a successful visit as a prospect and how to behave and dress. Visits serve the dual purpose of helping you find out if you like the place and showing your interest and enthusiasm to their players and coaches. Be yourself and have fun, but also behave. Be confident, but humble.

Now go do it!

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