Full Send or No Send Soccer?

Have some fun with your life and play soccer. Stop worrying so much about “top colleges”. There are lots of very good schools in the US where you can go if you have decent grades and participate in extra curriculars. You’ll have a better time in HS and have better memories than just grinding for grades 24/7.

Go for it your first year and see if you can keep up academically. Reassess after one year. You have plenty of time to adjust.

Alright, thanks a lot guys. I’ll probably going about being one of the top players on varsity next year as a sophomore and then playing for the academy team in the spring, and we’ll see how that goes. Two of my classes are online, so that will give me a lot more lenience. I’m really, really bad when it comes to stepping out of my comfort zone…I played one game this year with academy against a much better team as a test and I scored our only goal. The coach really liked me, but soon I got too bogged up in my schedule and I never heard from him again. I’ll try again next year.

@sushiritto you are quite right that I lack the “it.” Throughout my entire life I’ve genuinely had a passion for the sport, but I was never the one who would push myself long, hard hours to improve. All my skills were handed down from my father who taught me well. Perhaps my lack of inner drive has to do with this, or it’s a somewhat innate characteristic.

What year in school are you? Your prepubescent performance is irrelevant for college recruiters. Not really sure if it is possible to know your tracki to a number of AP classes and be young enough to still get on recruiters radar.

@Eeyore123 I’m graduating high school 2022…

What do you mean by “to know your tracki to a number of AP classes and be young enough to still get on recruiters radar”

Also ask in https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/athletic-recruits/

“If I don’t focus on soccer, my most likely bet is to get into one of the top state schools for CS such as UIUC.”

I wouldn’t take that bet. UIUC accepts only about 10% of computer science applicants. Michigan, U Washington, and Purdue’s CS departments are similarly competitive. The acceptance rates you see publicized are for the university as a whole (all majors and undecided candidates). In fact, these “public ivies” rank higher for CS than most of the ivy league and a fair number of the T30 schools.

Soccer may help you get into a great school, but you’ll need very, very strong academics to get into a highly-ranked CS department.

@Groundwork2022 I acknowledge that these top CS programs are very selective; UIUC stands out to me because they recently started a CS + Geography program that I feel like I would suit me the best. They are looking for students in the program, and I came top ten in the nation in the geography bee last year and if I choose to do the International Geography Olympiad, I could probably come top 20…CS is my main focus in HS and if I combine the two and show lots of interest to the program, then I say I have a high chance.

^In your first post you weren’t sure you could balance two things (academics and soccer). Now you’ve added a third: geography. That still doesn’t convince me that a public ivy for CS is a viable backup plan. No college will care how you place in geography competitions unless you also have the right grades and test scores. My point is, as other posters have mentioned, for a top college - and especially for a top CS program - you need to have the whole package. It is not an either/or choice.

What brings you joy? Most of the successful ivy college recruits I know had so much passion for their sport that you couldn’t keep them off the practice field. Yes, their grades might have suffered (slightly). It doesn’t mean they weren’t still academically qualified. Pursue what you are passionate about - your happiness matters.

@Groundwork2022 My grades are still up there…I don’t spend time on geography anymore. That was just a middle school thing. My test scores will be fine; and my grades are stellar.

Pursuing college soccer is extremely demanding. First, you will have to play at a high level, which means club or academy soccer, or possibly ODP though I know nothing about that.

It sounds like your level of play has declined (not staying on varsity is a red flag) so you will want to practice, hitting a ball against a wall, finding YouTube videos on soccer skills and then doing the drills, finding pick up games on your own time, in addition to playing club. To make up lost ground you would practice every day, ideally.

I would guess this would take 8-15 hours a week, at least.

The biggest predictor of success is not talent, but drive. If you don’t have that drive (and nothing wrong with that!) I would not try for soccer to help with college.

As an aside you have to be a strong D1 level player to be recruited to the Ivy League, it is not easy to achieve that level, and 99% of soccer players out there don’t.

Also PS your Dad is right about those camps. Although, you could pick one that is known to give evaluations and this would tell you where you stand regarding recruitment, so that probably would be a valuable first step.

This discussion was created from comments split from: Soccer Conundrum.

Coming from the perspective as a parent of a D3 soccer player – the kids we know who were recruited to play their sport are the kids who pushed themselves on and off season in terms of skills, cardio, strength. Plenty of talented high school athletes talked about an interest in competing in college, but other priorities took over during high school and they just didn’t put in the work.

From your posts, it sounds like you are interested in soccer for the doors it might open in terms of college admissions, not because you literally cannot imagine a day when you are not playing. As a parent, the advice I would generally give to a high school student is, your ECs should be activities which bring you pleasure, not ones you are doing for the sake of college admissions.

College soccer recruiting at top 20 D1 universities and top 20 D3 LACs (plus Chicago, Brandeis, NYU, Emory which are D3) is tough. Most recruits have been playing Academy throughout high school, playing national recruiting tournaments etc. While there will be those hidden gems who didn’t get on coaches radar through those means, that is probably more of the exception. Once in school, the D1 soccer players we know describe soccer as close to a 40 hour a week commitment in season, then about 20-25 hours out of season, between lifting, film, etc. My D3 kid’s experience is about 25-30 hours a week in season and about 10-15 hours out of season. Those hours only make sense if someone loves what they are doing whereas, in your posts, you sound more excited about your academic interests – which is great, but signals to me that trying to redouble your efforts at soccer in order to improve college outcomes is not the best direction.

Here’s what I’m thinking…you’re not sure that you can balance soccer and academics in high school. Yet if you “use” soccer to increase your chances at an Ivy, and it works, you then have to play soccer in college…a world where balancing academics and sports is much, much harder, at an Ivy no less. Your current concerns should show you that playing soccer at an Ivy is not a great fit for you. So play soccer if you want, but not solely to help you get into an Ivy, and seriously consider 1) If an Ivy is a good match for you and 2) if you could handle soccer and academics in college, if it is tough now.

Lots of thoughts bouncing in my head, here are a few. Also, I don’t know men’s soccer specifically. My comments are for college athletes and hopefuls generally.

If you are truly recruitable, you get some slack cut on your academics. Not a lot, but a legit D1 starter with a few B’s gets the Ivy coach’s slot over the 1600 SAT, 4.0 student who is a solid off the bench player. I don’t know exactly where the line is, and soccer is a sport with lots of smart kids. But I know my kid was recruited hard in a different non-helmet sport by several Ivies with a sub 30 ACT and a few B’s. Without coach help it would have been a waste of money to apply, he isn’t even a 1% chance, he is an automatic deny. All of the coaches basically said that the better you are, the less academics matter, within reason. All also had some absolute floors they couldn’t go below, no matter how athletically talented you are. My point here is if your academics suffer but just a very little bit, you are probably ok.

A smart Asian kid interested in CS is a brutal demographic to apply with if you don’t have a hook. The reality is that every Ivy could fill up a class with that demographic and still turn talented kids away. I’m not saying that you couldn’t get into a top school, many do. But you are competing for a limited number of slots with a large group of very talented and accomplished peers.

If you don’t love it though, it probably isn’t worth it. Your sport will consume your life to an extent, both is HS and college. My S couldn’t conceive of a different way to do it. But 99% of people (including me) couldn’t handle that lifestyle. There are MANY sacrifices that will be made.

My understanding of CS is that it is a very “results” oriented field. If you are from podunk Community College but you can code, you can get a job over a Harvard grad.

Good luck.

As I type this I’m sitting in my truck at my son’s Development Academy practice. Academy soccer requires a great deal of your very valuable time, it’s not for everyone. As a previous poster noted, if you don’t live and breath soccer you’ll end up taking a back seat in the recruiting process to those that do.

My son is the same age as you and on a similar academic track, but most likely won’t crack the top 5% in his class. Here’s what a typical week for him looks like (he wakes up at 5:50 a.m. for school & arrives home at 2:45):

Monday: School > home > 30 minutes down time > homework until I pick him up on the way home from work > 1 hour ride to practice > team practice 6:30 - 8:30 > 45 minute ride home > shower then homework until 1 a.m.

Tuesday: School > home > 30 minutes down time > homework until I pick him up on the way home from work > 1 hour ride to practice > goalkeeper practice 6:30 - 8:00 > 45 minute ride home > shower then homework until midnight.

Wednesday: School > home > 30 minutes down time > homework until I pick him up on the way home from work > 1 hour ride to practice > team practice 6:30 - 8:30 > 45 minute ride home > shower then homework until 1 a.m.

Thursday: School > home > 30 minutes down time > homework until I pick him up on the way home from work > 1 hour ride to practice > goalkeeper practice 6:30 - 8:00 then team practice from 8:10 until the field lights go off at 10:00 > 45 minute ride home > shower then homework until 1 a.m. or later.

Friday: School > home > day off but he jogs to the gym for 60 minutes of fitness training > time with friends.

Saturday: Game anywhere from 45 minutes to 5 hours away > distant games require team bus travel so he’s gone all day because multiple teams travel together so there are multiple games > closer games = a little more down time with friends.

Sunday: Up early to volunteer > downtime around lunch but usually meets high school friends to kick a soccer ball around > homework from 6:00 - 10:00 if necessary > hopefully asleep at a decent hour.

That basically repeats itself over and over again for 10 months a year. He loves it. I hate it. Keep in mind that it wouldn’t only disrupt your life…someone needs to drive you to all of this madness until you get your license. This would have to be a family decision.

My recommendation would be to concentrate on your studies, enjoy soccer in high school and find a less time consuming EC that relates to your intended major.

Good luck.

@GKUnion I really appreciate your reply. I’m not sure I could do that for so long…4 hours of sleep just isn’t healthy. Transportation is not an issue; my dad stays home. It’s all about whether or not I have the dedication to do so, and I’m not sure I have it.

I have a D1 athlete in her first year at an academically selective U. Here’s what I tell everyone who thinks they/their kid should do a sport “to help with college admissions”. If that is the sole or primary reason you are doing/encouraging your kid to do the sport…stop.

Because what if, in the Fall/Spring of your Senior year in HS, you haven’t been recruited to the schools you have been targeting? Or at all? What if doing that sport hasn’t made a difference in your college admission results? Will you have considered all the time and money spent on it over the past few years a waste? I would hate to think that.

As others have chimed in above…you have to do it because you love it.

I agree with @SevenDad’s advice. If the sole purpose of playing is to get into college, stop.
I have seen parents and kids put too much into specialization and club teams that they gave up and lost out on other benefits and memories from HS. They may end up playing in college and feel good announcing the commitment but the school is often a school they could have got into even without the sports and sometimes could even have walked onto the team.
Your college opportunities including for playing a sport are exponentially increased if you have good grades.

Very good advice at the end from @GKUnion too.
Side note, not sure how to put that genie back in the bottle but what @GKUnion describes I feel this is of one of the problems with youth sports and confirms my feeling that soccer is one the worst culprits My experience is that soccer coaches and the soccer community often promote and encourage soccer players to specialize in just soccer. I even question how much measurable impact playing soccer 10 months a yr. makes vs.playing in-season and mixing in some lighter off season league or training.
I may be old school and I understand each sport is different but I feel a lot of coaches notice the naturally gifted athletes (some even like multi-sport athletes) and they can coach up the skills but can’t coach athleticism.