Getting Recruited as an International Student Athlete

One of the most common recruiting questions is, can I get recruited as an international athlete? The answer is yes. Coaches offer scholarships to international athletes quite often. But what do you have to do to get recruited as an international student athlete?

International Student Athletes

You must be diligent and proactive in contacting coaches. Coaches will not discover you overseas. You must introduce yourself and contact college coaches to get on their recruiting radar.

For International Student-Athletes Playing a Team Sport, Video is a Must-have

For most college sports, you will need to have a great recruiting video. Coaches want to see an athlete compete, and they do not have the recruiting budget to travel internationally. Having a great highlight video is essential for any international athlete looking to get a scholarship in the United States. Highlight videos are used to grab the attention of coaches and to introduce yourself; it’s important that you create the best video you can.

It’s important that you take full video of your entire games as well. Your highlight tape is just an introduction and attention grabber; it’s extremely important that you also have a full-game film available to send to coaches. Coaches will be able to do most of their evaluation by watching your full-game film. The same film quality standards apply both to your full-game film and your highlight film.

Go to Camps and Showcases

It is a great idea for you to attend camps or showcases in the United States if you can afford it. It’s important for you to do it the right way. Before you decide on going to any camp, you must make contact with a coach and get them to view your profile and video. Coaches use camps to scout athletes they are already familiar with—not to discover new talent. Make sure a coach is truly interested in recruiting you before you make a big financial commitment to come play in front of them.

You need to be aware of standardized test requirements. NCAA Division I and Division II rules require you take either the SAT or the ACT—and all NCAA schools require one test or the other as an admissions guideline. Standardized tests aren’t always offered abroad as often as they are in the United States, so it is important to know when the test dates are. Schedule your test in advance. It is important to take the test more than once because you can combine your best section scores from different exams to give you a higher overall score. You can register for the ACT and the SAT here.

Non-native English Speakers Must Take the TOEFL Exam

If you come from a non-English-speaking country, then you will have to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language examination.

The NCAA has a list of international education certificates that they accept in replace of the core course requirements for US students. You can download the NCAA International Standards Guide and go to your country listing; make sure that you are studying to get a certificate that satisfies the NCAA’s core course requirements. If you are not studying for an approved certificate, then you may not be academically eligible to compete in the NCAA.

Are you an international student athlete and looking to come to the United States to play college sports? Do you have questions about what to do next? Leave your questions in the comments section below or connect with us on FacebookTwitter, or Google+!

16 Responses to “Getting Recruited as an International Student Athlete”

  1. Steve Mac

    Hej Brian… there was a rule change a year ago.. basically, I believe that if you have the equivalent to AP level in USA, you can qualify automatically… these are probably European HS degrees like the IB, French Bac, German Abitur and Swiss Matura…

    • No, but depending on the sport, it is almost impossible to get coaches to recruit you and offer a scholarship without the opportunity to see you play. If you aren’t going to be able to come to the US to play in front of them, then using video is the next best thing. Good luck!

  2. Anonymous

    I’m a soccer player from the UK and I’ve received a lot of camp invites for this summer. I’ve responded to every one but it’s unlikely I’ll get over this year, but I hope to next summer. What can I do in the meantime?

    • David Frank

      You want to continue to share film and keep coaches updated with what you are doing. Film is critical because then coaches can watch you play without having to layout the expense of travel.

  3. I’m a former D1 football player with two sons who want to play at that level. They are very young still but I want to educate myself early. I’m a U.S. citizen but we live in Canada. I’m wondering if you have specific advise for Canadian football players? I’ve researched D1 rosters close to the border but there are very few Canadian players. There are good athletes here but it doesn’t seem like D1 programs recruit in Canada as often as I would expect.

    • David Frank

      Thanks for your email. Coaches like to go where they know the talent pools are deep and they are familiar with coaches. The facts are it just takes time to change coaches behavior. 10 years ago no one was really recruiting basketball players out of Canada, I think coaches all understand how much talent is up there now. It will be the same process for football. This means Canadian football players are going to have to make more of an effort to come here and show what they can do. This means attending camps and combines where they can compete against the established US recruits.

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