Depending on which of the many extremes you subscribe to, college sports in the US can be anything from the pinnacle of athletic endeavor, to a driven results business. Playing sport at a high level can potentially decrease the amount of debt you will accumulate during your time in school, through scholarships and taking up your free time. For many people, academic scholarships or attending a public in-state university might be easier ways of saving money; but for some players their heart is set on playing soccer at Stanford or North Carolina and your job as a coach is to advise them as best you can.
There are more than 4600 Title IV universities currently operating in the US, ranging from small two year schools to massive public institutions with tens of thousands of students. Many choose to have soccer programs for the more than 13 million full time students. The average cost at a community college is around $3,000 per year, whereas a private four year school is closer to $30,000, with many now costing over $50,000 per year. For some schools, athletics can make money but for most it is a loss-making enterprise. Of the 202 Division 1 colleges, only 12% made money from their program. The majority of income comes from American Football revenue, which is frequently used to subsidise the other sports. Having athletes at your school can be expensive though, with each student costing on average six times more than a non-sports student.
The situation for students can be daunting too. Currently there is over $1 trillion dollars owed in loans by 40 million debtors, averaging over $25,000 per person. Although the number of contact hours players can have during the year is heavily restricted, during the season players are often required to travel and train throughout the week, limiting their work and social time. The NCAA are proposing to extend the men’s program to be year-round but it is unclear whether this will happen. If it did players would get more training hours which might address some concerns about players missing out although with the creation of Development Academies it is unlikely that the highest level players will continue to play soccer at universities.
Our website includes a whole section dedicated to helping coaches get players into college, and how to keep things realistic along the way. Read more here.
We have interviews with college coaches at various levels, including Danny Sanchez (D1 – University of Colorado), Mike Frietag (D1 – Indiana), Bobby Fisk (D1 – NJ Institute of Technology) Tony McCall (D2 – Regis University). Ged O’Connor (D2 – St Leo University), Matt Fannon (D3 – Wittenberg University), David Saward (D3 – Middlebury College), Roy Dunshee (D3 – Washington College)
And interviews with current and former college players at all levels, including Caitlin Updyke (D1 – Louisiana Tech), Martin Maybin (D2 – Regis University), Dylan Thompson (D3 – Juniata College), Jen Buczkowski (D1 – Notre Dame), Ella Masar (D1 – Illinois), Nikki Marshall (D1 – Colorado), Brian Contreras (D1 – Loyola), Lauren Meehan (D1 – Northeastern), Wes Knight (D1 – College of Charleston)