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College Associations

NCAA Division I
Division I offers the highest level of competition within college athletics. The schools are generally much bigger and have a larger athletic budget. There are more than 350 registered NCAA Division I schools (not all with soccer programs)
Examples in Kentucky:University of Louisville, University of Kentucky, Northern Kentucky University, Western Kentucky University, Moorehead State University

NCAA Division II
Division II has slightly less members, just under 300, but still offers athletic scholarships. The level of competition isn't as high as in Division I, but it is still a very good level of play. There is slightly less travel in Division II for away games.
Examples in Kentucky: Bellarmine University

NCAA Division III
While Division III doesn't offer athletic scholarships, there are many different ways to obtain financial aid, whether academically or need-based. There is less time devoted to athletics and more focus on the academic side of being a student-athlete. Division III is the largest of the divisions in terms of numbers, with over 440 schools.
Examples in Kentucky: Spalding University, Transylvania University, Center College, Thomas More College, 


Although NAIA athletics doesn't share the same prestige as NCAA, it does offer athletes a chance to play competitive sports. The athletic budget is typically lower than those of NCAA standing, but they do have athletic scholarships. Because the requirements to be accepted into an NAIA school are much more relaxed, you find lots of international athletes competing. 
Examples in Kentucky: Midway College, Georgetown College, Lindsay Wilson, Campbellsville University, University of the Cumberlands, Asbury University

Choosing the Right Fit

It is important for any athlete who is wanting to play college sports to start with a list of schools, of differing levels of play. Choosing the right fit for YOU is important, after all you will be spending at least your next 4 years there! Below are questions that you may want to ask yourself as you look at different schools.


Do I qualify academically for this school?
Does the school offer academic programs that interest me?
Do the programs help me in my career path?

Do I have the quality to make it on this team?
Have I watched enough of this team to know whether I have the ability to make it?
Do they need players in my position?
Do I want to go to school that wins every season, or one that is competing in a higher level but not necessarily winning?
Am I prepared to sit the bench for a year or two before getting a start?
How are the facilities?

Is the coach someone who I want to be around on a daily basis? Does he have good values?
Is the coach going to be there long term?
Is he/she a good soccer coach? Will he/she make me a better player?
Does the coach really want me to play? Has he/she seen enough of me to be able to give a good evaluation?


Can I afford to go to this school?
Is there academic money available for me? 
Will the school help with any athletic scholarship money?
How much is the cost of living in that area? Will I want to stay on campus for 4 years?

Is the school in a big city or small town? Which do I prefer?
How many students are at the school?
How is housing around the campus?
Are the dorms nice? Who will I be rooming with?

Tips for Player and Parents

Understand who is responsible!
Many families make the mistake of presuming or thinking that the High School or Club coach is responsible for the recruiting process of the player. That is WRONG! The player should take ownership. It is YOUR responsibility! Yes, your coaches can and will help you along the way, but YOU have to get the ball rolling. Here are some things YOU can do:

- Research schools and soccer programs
- Visit schools and get a feel for the campus
- Write to coaches. Make this personable and not generic. Ask the coach (his/her name) how the team is doing. Impress them by talking about a recent game they played. Introduce yourself and let them know you are interested in playing for their team.
- Create a soccer resume. Include information on yourself, including position, height, weight etc.. List your accomplishments and include your upcoming schedule
- Send the coach your schedule and ask if he/she can attend one of your games to watch
- Create a highlight video of high level games you have played in.

Be proactive
Don't wait until the last minute! In this section you will find a college recruiting timeline which you may find useful. 

Be realistic. Make your own decisions
We all want to play for the biggest and best Universities and receive 100% scholarship for doing so, but the reality is very few people in the world get that opportunity. Most families are not realistic about the chances of receiving athletic scholarship money. The truth is that after Division I Football and Basketball there is not a whole lot of money out there. Even top end Division I soccer programs have limited money to be spread among 25+ players. It is important to understand that there is far more money available through grants, merit aid, outside scholarships, institutional aid and federal financial aid. Research schools at all different levels (not just Division I) and explore options of academic aids and grants. Make your own decisions and don't follow the crowd!

Know Your Subject

It is important to do your research on college athletics. Understand the recruiting process, timelines, deadlines and NCAA/NAIA rules. The more knowledgeable you are the less stressful it all becomes!
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