Where to Start

One of the most important aspects of Birmingham United’s programming vision is the support we provide our players as they strive to reach their personal goals. As you can see from the list below, for many players those goals include playing soccer in college. If you have the goal of playing college soccer, you’ve found the right place to start! BUSA’s College Placement Program has all the information and resources needed to make this dream come true!

Refer to the menu on the right hand side of this page of all the information you need about the recruiting process, roles and responsibilities of individuals, important things to consider in choosing a school, and timelines to follow that will increase your chance of having an awesome college soccer experience.

Click here to see where former BUSA players are playing College Soccer in the U.S.

WHAT DO YOU AS A PLAYER NEED TO DO TO PLAY COLLEGE SOCCER? (What is your role in the process?)

  • Be proactive and take responsibility of the process!  This is your dream!
  • Follow the recruiting timeline to stay ahead of the game.
  • Follow through with your communication!  This is one thing that tells college coaches (your club coaches and parents too!) how much you want to really play!  Stay on top of this!
  • Keep the recruiting process to yourself – there is no need to brag about the schools you are talking to or visiting.
  • Beware the negative effects of Social Media! If you have any hesitation about posting something on social media, DON’T!!  College coaches do their research!  Once something is posted, you never know how has seen it!
  • Maintain your grades – academics & athletics go hand-in-hand!


WHAT DO PARENTS NEED TO DO TO HELP THEIR CHILD PLAY COLLEGE SOCCER?

  • Enable your child to take responsibility of the process – do not do it for them!
  • Provide oversight and stay in communication with players and club coaches.
  • Keep your child realistic about school choices – you know them better than they know themselves!
  • Let the kids communicate with college coaches.  The coaches want to know the kids really want to play!


WHAT DO YOUR CLUB COACHES DO TO HELP IN THE PROCESS?

  • Follow up with players, parents, and college coaches regarding things are in the recruiting process.
  • Give players playing time at showcase events so they are seen by college coaches. The score in games only provides college coaches context for what they are watching!  Always compete no matter the score!
  • Help ensure Team Profiles are up-to-date and accurate for games and events.
  • Be HONEST with players and college coaches – our credibility is on the line!

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS!

SOCCER ISN’T THE ONLY THING TO THINK ABOUT WHEN CONSIDERING SCHOOLS:

School Size – the number of students both full-time and part-time is something to keep in mind.  Do large crowds energize you?  Would you prefer a classrooms to be large and stadium style or would you prefer a smaller number of students in each lecture?  Want to get to know your professors on a more personal level?   Check out the student:faculty ratio to get a better clue as to what your classes will be like.  See how many students live on campus to get an idea of the campus life atmosphere

Social Life – can go hand-in-hand with school size.  Explore the local town or city to see what life is like outside of the classroom and off of the field.  Maybe you need an escape from time to time or maybe you prefer to have fewer distractions.  Sororities and Fraternities aren’t at every school and may not be something that strikes your fancy!  After all, you have a family with your soccer team!  Look into the campus life section on the school website for more info.

Spiritual Life – Would you prefer attending a school with a religious affiliation?  If the school you are considering has a religious affiliation, look into the requiremtns the school has in place.  Some schools are more rigid than others in this area and it is important to know what you must fulfill each semester to graduate.

Climate & Weather – what type of weather do you like and dislike?  If you are intolerable of cold weather, you probably should cross off those schools in the northeast!  Likewise, if you can’t stand the heat, Arizona may not be for you!

Distance from home – want to stay close to family or would you prefer to expore new places?  How long will it take you to get home for holidays and what type of travel is required (flights, long drives, etc.)

Cost to attend & scholarship opportunities – May seem obvious, but sometimes people forget to take a comprehensive look at the financial requiements and opportunities availalbe.  College is very expensive but there are plentiful ways to get financial assistance, outside of the soccer field

Admission requirements – academic requirements may be one of several areas you need to know about.  Some schools require letters of recommendation, while others require less.

Athletics – last but not least, what type of program are you looking for?  Are you okay waiting your turn to play or do you want to make an impact right away? These are important questions to ask the coaches so you know where you stand before you arrive on campus for preseason.  research the number of graduates the program will have the year before you enter as a freshman.

Girls Recruiting Timeline

The following timeline for GIRLS serves as a guide to making your dream to play college soccer come true.  Following this timeline provides a surefire way to stay on top of the recruiting process, which can be a daunting task!  Start early and stay ahead!

FRESHAMN YEAR

  • Begin a list of schools you are interested in & research them
  • Make sure you are taking the correct classes (NCAA approved courses)
  • Begin positive road in academics!!
  • Participate in extracurricular activities at school, etc.
  • Early discussion between players, parents, & coaches on recruiting
  • Begin introcudtory emails and communication process
  • Begin creating Soccer Resume/Profile
  • Attend College I.D. Camps – BUSA Camp to gain experience in the recruiting process

SOPHOMORE YEAR

  • Meet with School guidance counselor – set academic plan for the year
  • Begin to narrow down your list of schools
  • Early Standardized testing (Take PSAT)
  • Meet with respective program director about recruiting process
  • Keep grades up, update profile & resume, participate in extracurricular activities
  • Attend BUSA College I.D. camp to gain experience in recruiting process
  • Attend showcase events with your teams (CASL, Disney, Etc.)
  • Can begin visiting college campus

JUNIOR YEAR

  • Meet with School guidance counselor – set academic plan for the year
  • Register with Eligibility Centers
  • Take ACT & SAT (Send to eligibility centers)
  • Narrow down your list of schools to 10
  • Maintain grades, update profile & resume, participate in extracurricular activities throughout the year
  • Continue unofficial visits to schools – communicate with Club coaches to arrange
  • Attend College I.D. Camps
  • Attend Showcase events
  • For some, verbal commitments will take place

SENIOR YEAR

  • Meet with School guidance counselor – set academic plan for the year
  • Maintain grades, update profile & resume, participate in extracurricular activities throughout the year
  • Retake ACT/SAT if necessary
  • Send mid-year and final transcripts to eligibility centers
  • Apply to colleges and universities on top 10 list
  • Make official visits
  • Narrow down list to final decision
  • Make commitment
  • Sign National Letter of Intent (February)
  • Attend BUSA College I.D. Camp & Showcase events to maintain competitive edge
  • Finish your soccer year strong to be prepared for college soccer

Boys Recruiting Timeline

The following timeline for BOYS serves as a guide to making your dream to play college soccer come true.  Following this timeline provides a surefire way to stay on top of the recruiting process, which can be a daunting task!  Start early and stay ahead!

FRESHAMN YEAR

  • Begin a list of schools you are interested in & research them
  • Make sure you are taking the correct classes (NCAA approved courses)
  • Keep grades up!
  • Participate in extracurricular activities at school, etc.
  • Begin creating Soccer Resume/Profile
  • Attend College I.D. Camps – BUSA Camp to gain experience in the recruiting process

SOPHOMORE YEAR

  • Meet with School guidance counselor – set academic plan for the year
  • Begin to narrow down your list of schools
  • Take PSAT
  • Meet with respective program director about recruiting process
  • Keep grades up, update profile & resume, participate in extracurricular activities
  • Attend BUSA College I.D. camp to gain experience in recruiting process
  • Attend showcase events with your teams (CASL, Disney, Etc.)
  • Can begin visiting college campus

JUNIOR YEAR

  • Meet with School guidance counselor – set academic plan for the year
  • Register with Eligibility Centers
  • Take ACT & SAT (Send to eligibility centers)
  • Narrow down your list of schools to 10
  • Maintain grades, update profile & resume, participate in extracurricular activities throughout the year
  • Continue visits to schools – communicate with Club coaches to arrange
  • Attend College I.D. Camps
  • Attend Showcase events

SENIOR YEAR

  • Meet with School guidance counselor – set academic plan for the year
  • Maintain grades, update profile & resume, participate in extracurricular activities throughout the year
  • Retake ACT/SAT if necessary
  • Send mid0-year and final transcripts to eligibility centers
  • Apply to colleges and universities on top 10 list
  • Make commitment
  • Sign National Letter of Intent (February)
  • Attend BUSA College I.D. Camp & Showcase events to maintain competitive edge
  • Finish your soccer year strong to be prepared for college soccer

Communicating with College Coaches

YOU’VE IDENTIFIED A SCHOOL YOU ARE INTERESTED IN AND WANT TO REACH OUT TO THE COACHES… NOW WHAT?

First, make sure you are aware of the rules regarding communication with the coach you are reaching out to.  This will let you know what you can expect in return and is a good place to begin your communication.  NCAA Division each have their own rules and NAIA and NJCAA are also different.  Know who you are talking to – research, research, research!!

Now that you’ve done your research, you may need to send an email.  In doing so, its important to know college coaches get hundreds of these emails each week!  You can differentiate yourself by keeping it short and simple.  If your email is too long or it is clear you haven’t done your homework on their school and program, expect the coach to hit “delete.”  Here are some general rules to follow to ensure they read your email and get the necessary info:

  1. When sending the first, introductory email, let them know what you like about their school & program and why it would be a good fit for you. Include quick items like your GPA and test scores.
  2. Give them a quick overview of your upcoming schedule especially showcase events you are attending.
  3. Let them know how to reach you and your Competitive Coach
  4. Keep your communication regular, but not overbearing.  Before and after events or games the college coach is attending is sufficient.

As always, if you have any questions contact your respective program director!

Player Profile Sample

NCAA Recruiting Resources

Is the school your are considering part of the NCAA?  If so, see below for links to important information about the NCAA and recruiting.  And remember, there are three divisions in the NCAA!  Make sure you know which one your school is a part of as each has their own rules!

  • Need the NCAA Eligibility Center, Click Here
  • Have questions, visit the FAQs on the NCAA, Click here
  • Want the NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete, Click Here
  • Visit the NCAA Home Page, Click Here
  • NCAA Initial Eligibility Brochure – Road Map to Initial Eligibility, Click Here

NAIA Recruiting Resources

Does the school you are looking at belong to the NAIA?  If so, look below for links to important information!

  • Want more info on the NAIA, Click Here for the NAIA Home Page
  • Need the NAIA Eligibility Center, Click here
  • Click Here for the NAIA Guide for the College Bound Student Athlete

NJCAA Resources

The National Junior College Athletic Association may have the best choice for you to begin your college soccer career.  For more info, see below!

For the NJCAA Eligibility webpage, click here
For the NJCAA Home page, click here