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Recruiting Guidelines for Women’s Soccer: Am I Good Enough to Play College Soccer?

“Am I good enough to play college soccer?” is a common question for us here at NCSA. It’s important to remember that there are nearly 1,600 women’s college soccer programs out there, and the athletic requirements to play on each team varies wildly, sometimes even within the same division level. However, understanding the basic body type requirements (coaches look at height more than weight), skill level and experience that programs are looking for can at least help athletes target the level of competition that’s best suited for them. What about soccer recruiting in college? In this section, we’ve outlined some NCAA soccer recruiting guidelines for D1 women’s players to help readers get an idea for what top-level recruits look like.

D1 goalkeeper

NCSA Expert Notes: Extremely athletic; taller than average; can out-jump opposing forwards; covers most of the goal-mouth when diving; catches everything when able to get two hands on the ball; is able to consistently catch crosses; punts and drop kicks past mid-field; goal kicks to center circle; is able to throw balls to teammates 35-45 yards away; is vocal in communicating with teammates, calling out marks and calling for the ball.

D1 outside defender

NCSA Expert Notes: Fast; great first touch; 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 one-on-one well; clearly looks to force the ball one way or the other; tackles smart.

D1 center defender

NCSA Expert Notes: Fast; great first touch; 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 midfielders; controls the team’s back line in regard to pushing up and dropping back; always makes smart passes; solid and smart one-on-one defending.

D1 center midfielder

NCSA Expert Notes: Very comfortable with the ball; consistently has a great first touch no matter how good the pass is (hard, soft, in the air, bouncing, etc.); connects a large majority of 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.

D1 outside mid/wing forward

NCSA Expert Notes: Fast; good endurance; one-on-one ability; 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 go, etc.); ability to get in behind the back line; desire and vision to go to goal and take shots if opportunity presents itself (not be content to stay on the wing).

D1 forward

NCSA Expert Notes: One-on-one ability; more than just fast (has multiple moves to beat defenders); good power and accuracy of shot; good shot placement and selection (knows when and where to put the ball); ability to win headers on crosses; uses both feet equally; ability to receive ball with back to goal and then turn to attack goal; ability to get in behind the back line; knowledge of when to make runs to receive ball to attack goal without being offside.