Soccer Recruiting Guidelines

There are nearly 1,250 men’s college soccer programs out there. Knowing exactly how you stack up against other soccer recruits can help you decide what level of competition you’re best suited for. And knowing that can save you plenty of time when looking for a soccer scholarship.

NCSA’s recruiting guidelines explain what coaches at every collegiate level are looking for in a soccer recruit. The guidelines also give a soccer recruit an overview of exactly how many soccer scholarships and college soccer programs are out there to choose from (in the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA).


Grades: 3.0 GPA + 24 ACT + 1000 SAT (out of 1600)


Very few positions are viewed as needing to be a certain size (GK and center-back usually being the only 2, and there can always be exceptions), and it's really up to each individual coach and their style of play as to what they prefer. Stats also aren't usually determining factors as unless you know the level of competition, their exact worth can be hard to measure.  Also, with so many positions that typically don't register many stats, they're weighted less in general. Tier 1 traits are noted and each tier down would be a little bit less of certain aspects. Again though, which of those traits drop a recruit on a coach's list really has to do with each specific coach and their personal values.


Tier 1 Goalkeeper

Physical Measurables: 

  • 5'11"+

NCSA Expert Notes:

Extremely athletic, taller than avg., can out-jump opposing forwards, covers most of the goal-mouth when diving, catches everything when able to get 2 hands on the ball, is able to consistently catch crosses, punts significantly past mid-field, goal kicks past to midfield, is able to throw balls to teammates on a line 35-45 yds away, is vocal in communicating with teammates, calling out marks, calling for the ball



Tier 1 Outside Defender

NCSA Expert Notes:

Speed, makes smart passes and always looks to keep the ball as opposed to just randomly kicking it, looks to get involved in the attack and dribble up the wing, defends 1v1 well and clearly looks to force the ball one way or the other, tackles smart and well.



Tier 1 Center Defender

Physical Measurables: 

  • 6'0"+

NCSA Expert Notes:

Speed, ability to win headers, consistently good positioning (in position to help support other defenders in case they get beat), vocal communicator to other defenders and mids, controls the team's back line with regard to pushing up and dropping back, always makes smart passes, solid and smart1v1 defending



Tier 1 Center Midfielder

NCSA Expert Notes:

Very comfortable with the ball at your foot, consistently has a great 1st touch no matter how good the pass is (hard, soft, in the air, bouncing, etc.), connects a LARGE majority of your passes, has vision to see and make passes that others can't, looks to switch the field of play away from pressure, totally comfortable using both feet, can take deep shots, strong in the air winning headers on goal kicks and punts, strong defending either stealing passes or making strong tackles.



Tier 1 Outside Mid/Wing Forward:

NCSA Expert Notes:

Speed and endurance, ability to consistently serve a cross that is driven (not looped) into dangerous areas of the box, ability to get up and down the field (attack and defend), ability to make combination plays (give and gos, etc.), desire/vision to go to goal and take shots if opportunity presents itself (not be content to stay on the wing



Tier 1 Forward:

NCSA Expert Notes: 

1v1 ability more than just speed (multiple moves to beat defenders), power and accuracy of shot, ability to win headers on crosses, use of both feet equally, ability to receive ball w/back to goal and then turn to attack goal, knowledge of when to make runs to receive ball to attack goal w/o being offsides




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