So you are a high school player who wants to play soccer at the collegiate level? Do you have a plan to get there? Do coaches at your target schools know who you are? If you answered no to any of these questions, you have come to the right place to get started! Don’t put off reading this article until later. Coaches want to get as many chances as possible to see you shine on the field, so the key is getting started on the process as early as possible. Like right now!

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Throughout your time in high school, your #1 priority should be academics. Coaches cannot play you or offer you scholarships if you are not academically eligible, so try your best in school. This is especially important as a freshman. You want to start off on the right foot, instead of playing catch-up for the next 3 years. In addition, you want to start thinking about what collegiate level you want to play at and have some ideas of which colleges you want to target. It’s still way tooearly to decide on a school, but if you want to play D1 soccer, make sure you’re putting in the work and effort to make that happen for yourself. This means playing as much soccer as you can. Attend showcase tournaments with your club team and college ID camps for the schools you would potentially be interested in attending. The point is trying to get better and exposing yourself to schools.

As you enter your sophomore year, make sure you are keeping up academically and start developing meaningful relationships with your high school and club coaches. They can become great people to have in your corner when it comes time to  persuade college coaches that you should have a spot in their program. Continue to get your name out there with showcase tournaments and ID camps, especially ones like EXACT Sports hosts where multiple schools are represented (but make sure these schools are ones that you are interested in). Talk with your school and get to know NCAA rules and regulations about what you need to have completed academically to be eligible. Start narrowing down some schools on your list and make visits to these schools.

Things will really start to pick up, as coaches will be able to engage in written communication with you the summer before your junior year. Make sure to stay on top of these communications if they come from schools you are interested in. Keep visiting schools and learning about how the college game works and how each team plays. Pay attention to see if they fit with your style. Ask questions, make sure you know exactly what each school expects from you (SAT or ACT? Both? Essays?). Make some videos to send to coaches of your play. Ask coaches what they want to see in these videos. Don’t forget about academics and keep doing your best on the field. You’re almost there.

The summer prior to your senior year, coaches can start calling you on the phone. Make the most of these conversations, as coaches might be limited on how often they can be in contact with you. Don’t let up academically or physically. By the late winter or early spring you should start receiving offers. Carefully make your decision, make sure you pick somewhere you will be happy for 4 years. Finish up your senior year strong and get ready to play at the next level!