Which NCAA College Soccer Division Is Right For Me?

Are you a Division I college soccer player? Perhaps a better question to start with is, do you want to be a Division I college soccer player?

The goal of your college recruiting process should be to find the best possible fit for you (see our Where to Begin post). You see, everyone has a range of college programs that will recruit them.

The Range Of NCAA Divisions And Your Range

Not all NCAA Division I programs are better than every NCAA Division II program. And not every NCAA Division III program is less talented than every NCAA Division II program. The reality is that each division overlaps the other two.

Some NCAA Division II programs could compete at the highest level of Division I. The top Division III programs would fall somewhere in the top half of Division I.

On the flip side, the bottom Division I programs would struggle to compete in both Division II and Division III.

Like each division, you have a range of programs at which you could play.

At the top end of your range, you would play for the best possible program, or at least be on the roster. Playing time would not be guaranteed, and you might even get cut at some point during your career.

At the bottom end of your range, you would step onto campus as one of the best players on the team. You would start immediately and have a huge impact throughout your career.

So, which option is better? Only you can answer that question because it depends on what you want out of your college experience. If you don’t yet know what you want, complete Step 1 of The 7 Steps Along the College Recruiting Pathway.

Follow these steps to hone in on the range of NCAA programs that fits your level of play

  1. Seek input from someone with perspective that has seen you play at least a few times. The more a person has seen of the different levels of college soccer, the more he/she is equipped to give you meaningful advice.

  2. Go to an ID camp/clinic (find the best one for you) and seek feedback from the college coach(es) on staff. To give yourself the best opportunity to get quality advice, go to one with 30 participants or less. A one-day clinic put on by a single college is usually a good option.

  3. Watch various levels of college soccer (in person, preferably) and imagine yourself on the field. How would you do? Be brutally honest with yourself.

  4. Watch older youth teams play. Is anyone on the field committed? Where are they going to school? How do you compare to them?

  5. Discover the differences among NCAA Division I, II, and III, as well as NAIA and NJCAA, and understand that they overlap as far as level of play.

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