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Should I play D1 or D3 soccer?

fish45fish45 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
Ive been having a really tough time trying to figure out what to do for college. I am a senior and have 2 weeks to decide where to go. I could go to a good d3 school where I would probably play a lot or go to a d1 and who knows if I would play. The d1 school is a fantastic, legendary soccer school that got a new coach and they are re-doing their whole program so this would be probably the only time for me to have an opportunity to play there because the program is going to get better and will get better recruits. I am worried about all that d1 would require and I know that I would constantly be having to prove myself because they might bring in better players while I would be there. Playing at d1 would push me to be a great soccer player but Im not sure if I would get burnt out or not. I am also unsure because what if I go to d3 and dont feel fufilled playing there. I dont want to go to d3 and feel like I am putting a cap on my ability to be the best player I can be. Everybody keeps asking me if I want to be "a big fish in a little pond or a little fish in a big pond" and I dont know! there is so much pressure from my club and my coaches/trainer to play at the highest level. I just dont want to make the mistake of going to d3 and wondering if i should have gone to d1 because you can always go from d1 down to d3 but I dont think very many players go from d3 up to d1. Anybody go any advice for me?

Replies to: Should I play D1 or D3 soccer?

  • BKSquaredBKSquared Registered User Posts: 1,000 Senior Member
    edited April 16
    While you must be very accomplished in and passionate about soccer, what is the bigger picture here? I don't get the sense you are "national team" quality or are contemplating a professional career. If that is the case, where do you think you will fit in better academically and socially -- where will get the better total college experience? A D1 program for a "legendary soccer school" probably means that soccer will take precedence over academics (and social life) in the eyes of the coach. Also, are there financial considerations for you and your family in terms of net costs (after scholarships and FA, if any)?

    By the way, a lot of club coaches have a "dog in the hunt". Most clubs actively market the "name schools" their players matriculate to. They don't necessarily have the longer term interests of their players top of mind.
  • LeastComplicatedLeastComplicated Registered User Posts: 968 Member
    Are there other factors, aside from athletics, that would help you make your decision?

    What will you be studying?
    Are both schools a good fit for your academic goals?
    Will your curriculum be rigorous and time consuming?
    Which school has the better academic opportunities?
    What type of student are you? Well prepared for college or one that will need to work hard to keep up?
    Do you feel comfortable, re social fit, at both schools?
    How do they compare financially - or does that matter?

    Maybe these questions will help you sort out what school would be the best choice - all things being considered.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 19,304 Senior Member
    Which school is stronger academically? Pick that.

    Also, are you sure you have a spot on either team as it appears you did not go through a recruitment process since you are still deciding on a school?
  • sushirittosushiritto Registered User Posts: 2,259 Senior Member

    The question you have to ask yourself is, if you decided to quit soccer or become injured, then which college would you rather attend as a non-student athlete? And a second question, how passionate are you about soccer?

    D1 soccer is a huge commitment of time, especially in a Power 5 conference. Lots of travel involved. Take UConn for example, they travel around the country.

    I'm going to take an educated guess and say that your club coach(es) and trainer want you to commit to a D1 school because it enhances the reputation of the coach(es), trainer(s) and the club. Personally, I'd tell them to keep their mouths closed. That's me trying to be polite. Your life, your decision.
  • rofikicaferofikicafe Registered User Posts: 147 Junior Member
    Also, if a D1 is offering, club coach could still tout that you were recruited to a D1, but chose an academic path instead.
  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 3,684 Senior Member
    The D1 Men's Soccer programs we know said, "as a D1 athlete, there are classes, your sport, and your friends/social life. A D1 athlete has to pick 2." Depending on the D1 program, expect to spend 40 hours a week, with travel, watching tape, meetings, plus training, lifting etc. in season. D3 is probably 25 hours a week in season, depending on the conference.

    While the level of play at top D1s will be much higher than D3 schools, the lower ranked D1s may not be much different than the top D3s (those D1 guys will likely still be bigger and faster because of the training commitment though).

    Don't get caught up in the "prestige" factor of D1. As my kid went through the recruiting process, he was told time and again -- "imagine you have a career ending injury on the first day of freshman preseason -- putting aside the loss of soccer, are you still happy to be at that school?"
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 19,521 Senior Member
    I think the team becomes your social life, your friends. You aren't really choosing 2 of the 3, you are just combining them. My daughter was even able to combine her academics with sports. Her school required study tables her first year and she studied with other athletes (not from her team). She and a soccer player covered class notes for each other if one had to miss a class (he missed many more than she did) and they'd review the problems together. Her second year she lived with a softball player who had the same major so they overlapped in classes too. They are currently working for the same professor.

    Those 40 hour weeks are not every week, all semester. My daughter has about 3 of them per year, including spring break. She takes 16 credits, works 10-12 hours for a professor, is a member of a sorority (admittedly, does very little with the sorority), is a captain of her team, belongs to a few engineering societies, and is what I consider a very balanced college student.

    Thousands of student athletes do it every year.
  • StPaulDadStPaulDad Registered User Posts: 258 Junior Member
    Lots of choices, and none of them should be news:
    D3 you can study abroad, but in D1 you may not be able to.
    D1 that loves you as an athlete may not offer the academics you want. You have more power to choose your school when D3 is not paying your way.
    D1 you will travel for games, but in D3 it will likely be less frequent (and more buses.)
    D3 scholarships are dependent on academic performance (so keep your grades up), but in D1 you have to stay on the team (so stay healthy and keep progressing.)

    Broadly speaking, D3 allows lots more normal college stuff like picking your own major, enjoying a summer, holding jobs and playing a second sport or intramurals. D1 takes a lot of those away in exchange for better training, better competition and lower tuition. As was said above, thousands of people do this each year (and hundreds really hate their choices.) But you're not any of those people, you have to throw your own darts. Know yourself as a person, know your level of play, be honest with yourself, then see what sort of trades you'd be happy making. Good luck.
  • kdutchkdutch Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Also, what BKSquared said is very true regarding your club coaches. They will use you as a marketing tool saying "___ went D1 from our club" and plaster it all over their website. You should not feel obligated to appease them. You've done enough to help their club as a great player, you don't have to become their marketing tool if you don't want to.
  • takeitallintakeitallin Registered User Posts: 3,378 Senior Member
    Great post @kdutch! You seem to be very well balanced and realistic about your whole experience. This is a great post for any potential college athlete to read! Best of luck with your next chapter in college!
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