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.