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Everything You Need to Know About Women’s College Soccer Scholarships

Women's soccer dribbling

Getting a women’s soccer scholarship is an incredible opportunity for a student-athlete to finance their education while continuing to play the sport they love.  College soccer scholarships are given to elite athletes who have demonstrated that they have the potential to compete at the highest level, and they can cover a big part-or all-of a student-athlete’s tuition. However, most scholarships are one-year agreements that must be renewed each year, and for NCAA schools, a scholarship offer does not become official until a student-athlete signs the National Letter of Intent (NLI).  Of course, student-athletes first have to go through the recruiting process in order to secure their roster spot and get a soccer scholarship. What are the differences between men’s soccer and women’s soccer in college?

Insider tip: For athletes who are really interested in a school that isn’t able to give them an athletic scholarship their freshman year, there may be an opportunity to earn one their sophomore, junior or senior year. (This is called a recruited walk-on offer.) Learn more about different kinds of scholarship offers.

Number of women’s college soccer scholarships by division level

In 2017, approximately 1,571 colleges sponsored women’s soccer teams. Here’s how the numbers shake out for the major division levels.

Division LevelNumber of TeamsAverage Roster SizeMax Scholarships Per School

The NCAA D1 Council adopted legislation that loosened regulation regarding need-based aid and academic scholarships that are not tied to athletic ability. Beginning August 1, 2020, soccer teams will not have any athletes’ need- and academic-based aid count against the maximum athletic scholarship limit. Prior to this update, athletes had to meet certain criteria for their additional aid to not be counted against a team’s athletic scholarship limit.

Soccer teams will still have a maximum athletic scholarship cap, but student-athletes can seek to add as much need-based aid and academic scholarships as they qualify for. With school and family budgets being impacted by the coronavirus, this rule change should allow soccer programs that have the funds to extend more money to families and athletes that need it—especially at pricier private colleges.

Are athletic scholarships available for women’s soccer?

Yes! There are athletic scholarships available for women’s soccer at the NCAA D1 and D2 levels, as well as at NAIA schools and junior colleges.

Average women’s college soccer scholarship amount

Many families ask how much the average women’s college soccer scholarship is. Unfortunately, that’s pretty difficult to pinpoint. Women’s soccer is an equivalency sport, meaning that coaches are not required to give out full scholarships to their athletes and can instead break them up however they want. So, for a D1 team with 28 roster spots, a coach could give out 14 full-ride scholarships, or 28 scholarships that cover half the tuition.

Additionally, the cost of tuition at each college and university is going to vary. An in-state student at a public university could pay close to $10,000 a year, while an out-of-state student at a private university could pay $60,000 a year. Trying to find an average women’s college scholarship amount doesn’t account for those differences in tuition. Furthermore, not all athletes receive scholarships all four years of their college women’s soccer career. Instead of trying to determine what the average scholarship amount is, we recommend families first figure out how much they are willing to pay for four years of college. Then, while going through the recruiting process, student-athletes can compare offers based on their family’s expected contribution-the amount they will pay out of pocket after factoring in all scholarship dollars.

What are my chances of playing women’s soccer in college and getting a scholarship?

Only the top high school athletes make it to the level of playing women’s soccer in college. During the 2016-2017 school year, there were about 388,339 high school women’s soccer players and about 38,873 college women’s soccer players. Of these college players, 1,155 were international recruits. This means that about 9.7% of U.S. high school women’s soccer players ended up competing in college across the Division 1, Division 2, Division 3, NAIA and junior college levels. Only about 2.3% of high school women’s soccer players went on to compete at the NCAA Division 1 level.

Insider tip: Athletes who aren’t able to get the women’s soccer scholarship they’re looking for should try searching for schools one level lower. Top athletes at every division level will always receive more scholarship money than those who are role players on their team.

What percentage of high school athletes will play at the college level?

Only about 9.7% of U.S. high school women’s soccer players will compete at the college level, and approximately 2.3% will play Division 1 ball. About 3% of college women’s soccer players are international recruits.

How many scholarships do D1 women’s soccer teams give out?

D1 women’s programs can give out a maximum of 14 soccer scholarships a year. These can be a mix of full-ride scholarships and partial scholarships. Bear in mind that 14 represents the maximum number of scholarships, but some D1 women’s soccer programs might have a smaller number of scholarships available due to budget limits.

Can D2 schools offer full-ride soccer scholarships?

Yes, D2 schools can offer full-ride soccer scholarships. However, because women’s soccer is deemed an equivalency sport by the NCAA, schools are not required to give out full rides. It’s up to the coach to determine how much money they want to give to each athlete on the team.

How D3 athletes still get college scholarships

While D3 schools don’t offer athletic scholarships, most D3 athletes do receive other forms of financial aid. Student-athletes interested in competing at a D3 school shouldn’t let the lack of soccer scholarships deter them. For those who have good grades and test scores, there’s a good chance they’ll qualify for an academic scholarship. Student-athletes who have been involved in extracurricular activities and their community may be able to find a merit-based scholarship. Families can also take advantage of need-based financial aid, which is awarded based on factors like household income.

The bottom line is that soccer scholarships aren’t the only way to pay for college. There are many other forms of scholarships out there, and if a D3 program wants someone on their team, they can be extremely helpful in finding scholarship money from other sources.