The D3 Recruiting Hub is dedicated to providing information about the soccer recruiting process at the NCAA Division 3 level for players and parents as they navigate the often murky waters of college recruiting. The assumption is that you are certain that you want to play soccer at the NCAA Division 3 level. At the D3 level however, coaches will often get phone calls from non-recruited players inquiring about playing soccer for their team.
What is it like? How hard is it? What is the time commitment? What do I have to do? In this week’s post we will answer some of those questions for those players on the fence about playing college soccer.
First, for the D3 college that you are attending, have you seen them play? You need to get a good mental picture of what the game looks like at that college and ask yourself—- can I play with these players? Am I good enough to play at this level? Am I fast enough? Am I technically skilled enough? (By the way, these are the same questions to ask yourself if you are considering D1 or D2.) If you are on the fence, be sure to go see the team play.
Second do I like working out on my own or without a coach? D3 college soccer is very different than high school or club soccer. One of the biggest differences is how much you practice (or don’t practice) with your coach and your team. Over the course of a 12-month calendar year, most D3 coaches get to work with their players from mid-August through November and then for a maximum of 15 days in the spring. (Compare this with most high level club teams that are training 10-months out of the year.) The burden of keeping yourself physically fit falls on the individual player. This can be difficult if you are not motivated to work out on your own.
Next is the time commitment in the fall semester. During the fall soccer season, you will be doing one of four things: 1) going to class/doing school work; 2) soccer practice/games/meetings; 3) eating; 4) sleeping. And generally speaking, they come in that order. In the fall season, your life at college will be about two things—going to class and soccer. That is pretty much it. Playing collegiate soccer is a big time commitment in the fall and you have to willing to make sacrifices to play.
Lastly you may have been a key player on your high school team—playing every minute of every game and never seeing the bench except when your team was winning by a wide margin. Guess what? All the other players at college were the best players at their high schools and played every minute of every game too. You as a player will no longer be the best player on the team; you may be in the middle of the pack or at the bottom; you may have to fight for playing time. How are you going to adjust to that psychologically? Are you going to work to get better and move up the ladder or will you be fine with just sitting the bench for four years? Or will this be such a shock to your system that you give up playing entirely?
The bottom line is this— going from high school/club soccer to NCAA D3 soccer is a difficult transition. It takes much more than just being a good soccer player to make that leap successfully. As a student-athlete, you need to be sure that you are committed to being both a student and an athlete in order to be successful. You have to ask yourself if you are ready to make that leap.
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