Stay Ahead of the Trend in Soccer Recruiting

Stay Ahead of the Trend in Soccer Recruiting
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On Thursday November 15, 2012, the NCAA tournament to crown the division I men’s soccer champion gets underway. Many familiar teams will enter the tournament with aspirations of taking the crown, but a new trend in recruiting has altered the landscape of the top NCAA contenders: international student athletes are getting recruited more, and they are playing a bigger role in their team’s success.

The rosters of the top ten men’s soccer teams heading into the tournament are full of international athletes. Yes, there are still some top-seeded schools like the University of Akron, Georgetown University, UCLA, and the University of Notre Dame that have two or less international recruits on their roster, but the other schools that make up the top ten have fully embraced recruiting international athletes. The University of Connecticut, University of New Mexico, and Coastal Carolina University have made it into the top ten rankings with eleven, eight, and fourteen international players respectively. The ACC as a conference has 24 international soccer players, including six on #2 ranked Maryland.

What Does the Increase in International Recruits Mean?

In the United States soccer may be the top youth sport, but as athletes get older they tend to commit more to basketball, baseball, and especially football. The best athletes don’t always make it to the high-school level as soccer players. The opposite is true for many other countries. In Europe, South America, and Africa soccer remains the top sport.

Recruiting international students has become easier for college coaches because athletes can now create online recruiting profiles, upload game film and highlights to websites like YouTube, and they can communicate much easier via e-mail and Skype.

What this Means For International Athletes Who Want to Become Recruits?

The tools are there for you to find a scholarship in the United States- so take advantage of them. This article will help you learn more about what it takes to get recruited internationally, and this article will help you figure out if your grades will meet NCAA eligibility requirements. If you are having trouble getting the attention of American coaches, international students can always try going to junior college for a few years.

International recruits will have to work harder, but the evidence shows that there are opportunities, even at the top level of the college ranks, for them to come to the United States and play.

Start your search by looking at college rosters to see where their players came from. Do they have multiple international recruits on their team? What countries are they from? Coaches that have international players on their roster are more likely to recruit more in the future, and may even have a system in place to recruit you.

What Can Athletes Going to High School in the United States Do?

A US student reading this article may fear that they will miss out on an opportunity to play at the college level to an international student; while this is an increasing problem, US students who want to work at their recruiting still have a major advantage.

US students can travel to schools for visits and attend soccer camps in the summer much easier than most international students can. If you want to find a soccer scholarship then you need to leverage the advantages you have. Coaches want to recruit skilled international athletes, but they really want to see athletes play in person. By contacting coaches early in your high school career, attending camps, and making unofficial visits to local and regional schools, US students can get the attention of coaches easier than international students. Those coaches can also come scout you- which is the best way for them to determine if you can play for their team, and something they can’t do with international recruits.

Do you have any questions about soccer recruiting? Just ask us in the comments section below, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+!

International Students: Look at Junior College for Opportunities in the United States

International Students: Look at Junior College for Opportunities in the United States
Junior college can help international athletes come to the United States

No matter what country an athlete comes from, international students who want to play at a college in the United States face a task that can feel intimidating. For international athletes, simply getting a coach’s attention tends to require more effort than it would from an equally-skilled American student-athlete. That shouldn’t stop an international looking for a scholarship though; with some hard work, knowledge of the rules for international students, and making sure they are eligible, international students end up finding scholarships in the United States quite often.

For those international student that may have started the process a little later than normal, or those struggling to break through, junior college gives you a chance to continue your academic and athletic career at the college level. After one or two years, you can transfer to a 4-year school and complete a degree.

How Could a Community College Make a Difference?

Everyone in the world wants to play at an NCAA division I school, but only a small percentage of athletes get to do so. Attending junior college can increase your chances of playing at a division I school, but it will also open opportunities at schools that most international athletes have never heard of. There are hundreds, and possibly even thousands (depending on the sport), of schools that offer opportunities to student-athletes outside of the division I level. Playing at a junior college for a few years allows athletes to learn more about the options available in the US. Getting some experience in the US will help you prepare for the division I level as well.

One of the Best Options For Athletes Who don’t Speak English Well

To be eligible to play for an NCAA school, international students from countries where English isn’t the native language must pass the TOEFL exam. If you are unsure whether you can pass it, or if you have failed it, junior college provides an opportunity to improve your English before attending an NCAA school.

The One Downside

Junior college opportunities are still competitive. Within the last few years junior colleges have increased the rules for international scholarships. Most junior colleges are now allowed to have only three international students on scholarship. This rule was implemented so junior colleges could focus on helping more local students, but considering the tuition costs at junior colleges are so much lower, an international athlete could become a preferred walk-on and still pay less in tuition than they would at many four year schools, even with a scholarship.

Do have any questions about how attending a junior college can help you out? Just ask us in the comments section below, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+!

International Student Athlete Foreign GPA Calculator

international GPA calculator

The NCAA is placing an increasing value on academic standards for student athletes. One of the most confusing eligibility issues for prospective international student athletes is figuring out if they have a good enough GPA to satisfy the core course requirements.

The NCAA uses a sliding scale to determine athletic eligibility. The sliding scale correlates a student’s GPA in their core courses to either his or her ACT or SAT test score. Student athletes looking to compete at the NCAA Division I or Division II level must take either the SAT or ACT exam. Some students opt to take both exams. Many students also choose to take the exams multiple times because you can combine your best scores from each section of the exam (called superscoring). In addition, GPA and test scores high enough to be declared eligible do not guarantee admittance to a university.

The Academic Requirements are Different for Each Country

You can find the academic standards for your country here: NCAA International Athlete Eligibility Standards. Once you open the link, look for your country. For each country, it will list the appropriate certificate you should work toward. Make sure to also check out the Best Practices: Visas and I-20s section.

A great tool to help you figure out how your classes and grades will correlate to American standards is the Foreign GPA Calculator. Start by selecting your country. Next, choose the appropriate grading scale. Then, enter classes, credits or hours, and grades you received. Once you have entered all of your classes, grades, and credits, click calculate to see your equivalent US grade. The grading scale for the selected country is located below the actual calculator. You can find an explanation of how the GPA is calculated under the grading scale.

The NAIA is Different than the NCAA

Unlike the NCAA, the NAIA Eligibility Center does not consider any core course when reviewing eligibility. There are three main criteria to be eligible to play at an NAIA school: class rank, overall GPA, and standardized test score. Two of the aforementioned three categories must be satisfied. You must have at least a 2.0 GPA, graduate in the top half of your class, and/or score an 18 on the ACT or an 860 on the SAT.

Are you trying to get recruited but have eligibility questions? Leave your questions in the comments section below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+!

How International Athletes Get Recruited to Play College Tennis

International College Tennis PlayerNCAA Tennis Recruiting

Increase your tennis recruiting chances by stepping up and starting your own team research. Don’t get complacent and wait for college coaches to find you; start sending out e-mails and connecting with them on social media sites. Make your name noticed. The NCAA programs want to make their teams the best; the earlier they know who you are, the better.

What if You are Not in the Top 150?

Not all college sports teams are looking for outstanding tournament players; yes, college coaches want to win, but they also know that tennis is a sport where athletes sometimes develop later in their careers. College coaches are looking for junior players with the right type of skills, game plays, and attitudes that will be easy to coach and strengthen.

International Tennis Athletes by the Numbers

International tennis players who work hard developing their tennis game, attend US tournaments, and reach out to coaches will have opportunities to play at the NCAA college level. In a recent calculation of the current top 10 NCAA tennis programs, I discovered numbers that are favorable to both international and US student athletes looking to be a part of an NCAA tennis program. Keep in mind that these numbers are only from the top 10 champion teams in each division.


Men’s Tennis

Division I

Division II

Division III

Percentage of international players on top 10 tennis teams




Average number of international players

(per top 10 tennis teams)




Highest number of international players on a single team

6- Virginia


13- NC Wesleyan

Average Team size





Women’s Tennis

Division I

Division II

Division III

Percentage of international players on top 10 tennis teams




Average number of international players

(per top 10 tennis teams)




Highest number of international players on a single team

6- Miami



Average Team size





Quick Facts

All top 10 Division I teams for both men’s and women’s tennis have at least one international player per team. Out of the top 10 Division II teams, there were at least two international players per team; men’s Division II college tennis teams average the most international players with seven players, whereas women’s Division II averages six international players per team.

International students are welcomed into NCAA athletic programs because of the versatility they will be able to bring to college tennis programs. It can be a harder process for international students to get recruited to play any sport at the NCAA college level, especially if they do not have the opportunity to gain exposure at US tournaments or showcases, where college coaches tend to hang out.

All Tennis Players Will Have to Work Hard to Get Recruited

All tennis recruits will need to take the initiative and reach out to college coaches. Ask questions, research the college, and ask to meet the coach in person. Coaches who have heard directly from student athletes will be more willing to extend scholarship offers to student athletes they have actually met and have seen play.

Coaches are seeking athletes who will easily fit into their team and who exude well-rounded student athlete characteristics. Be that athlete.

If you have further questions about tennis recruiting, leave a comment below or connect with us on FacebookTwitter, or Google+!

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+!