Score a goal with your financial aid and check out these soccer scholarships now. As soccer continues to grow in popularity in the U.S., so do scholarship opportunities for soccer players. Colleges and universities are looking for driven soccer players to join their teams. They are also on the hunt for hardworking and passionate individuals—a background in soccer can show schools that you’re one of these.
In the following article, we’ll examine the scholarship guidelines of each NCAA division, NAIA, and NJCAA. These establish rules for school-based soccer scholarships. We’ll also take a look at some scholarships for soccer players provided by third parties. Ultimately, you may be able to earn money from both your school, and an alternate program. Hopefully after reading this article, you’ll have a better idea of how to qualify for financial aid as a soccer player.
Jump ahead to…
- Soccer scholarships by NCAA division
- How to win soccer scholarships
- Resources for soccer players
- Frequently asked questions
- Additional scholarship categories to explore
Soccer scholarships by NCAA division
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is broken down into three divisions. Each has different rules for scholarship allocation, so we will take a tour of all of them.
NCAA Division I
Division I teams are the biggest and best of college athletics. They will be the hardest teams to make, and also the hardest to get money from. That being said, these programs do offer scholarships. To be exact, women’s programs are allowed to give up to 14 full ride scholarships, while men’s teams are capped at 9. However, coaches can choose to split these scholarships up, to spread out the scholarship money.
NCAA Division II
Division II schools tend to be smaller universities and private colleges. They are still allowed to offer soccer scholarships, but less of them. Both women’s and men’s teams can only offer 9 full ride scholarships. Similarly to Division I teams, coaches can divvy up this money to accommodate more players.
NCAA Division III
Division III schools are the smallest schools, and usually prioritize academics over athletics. For this reason, Division III schools do not offer sports scholarships. They confine their scholarship money to need-based and merit-based aid. This is not to say that these schools do not want outstanding soccer players on their teams. What they do want are outstanding soccer players who also excel in their academics.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is an alternative to the NCAA. It also offers scholarships for soccer players. Athletes who are more interested in earning a degree than pursuing a professional soccer career might find a home at an NAIA school. Both women’s and men’s teams can give out 12 full ride scholarships, with the option of splitting up the money.
The National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) oversees community and junior college athletics. NJCAA teams do offer scholarships, and can provide a productive environment for soccer players who want to keep playing while studying, but don’t feel ready to commit to a four-year college. Both men’s and women’s teams can offer 18 full ride scholarships, divided as the coach sees fit.
Related: Do college athletes get paid?
How to win soccer scholarships
Writing a winning scholarship essay is all about sharing what you’re passionate about and how that impacts you. Whether it’s 250 words or 500, telling your story is instrumental in showing you’re a worthy recipient of the scholarship you’ve applied to. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, so get kicking! Be sure to check out our guide to finding scholarships, so that you can apply to the ones that fit you.
Resources for students that play soccer
This organization is focused on offering soccer programs to underserved communities and helping them achieve their goals. One of their initiatives involved revitalizing parts of the community to provide a safe space to play soccer. The U.S. Soccer Foundation also has a number of grants that players can apply for and a mentorship program.
Even when the school year is over, you can still practice what you love! Joining a soccer camp like the U.S. Sports Camp is a great way to help you stay in shape and improve your soccer skills. Soccer academies also hold summer camps even if you don’t attend their school during the year, such as the IMG Academy.
Frequently asked questions
Do I have to apply for athletic scholarships?
Can I negotiate my athletic scholarships?
Additional scholarship categories to explore
- Top athletic scholarships
- Top scholarships for high school seniors
- Easy scholarships to apply for
- Top no essay scholarships
- Top scholarships for women
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