Is it easier to get into college via soccer or lacrossse?

I have a young soccer player. A relative of mine is convinced that I should have him switch to lacrosse because he’s more likely to get recruited.

Even if that was true, I probably wouldn’t switch him, but it makes me curious. Anyone know if this is true?

Your son should play the sport he loves the most, full stop.

To get recruited an athlete has to really want it, and really want it for years. You don’t get that kind of drive unless your heart’s really in it.

Also compare the number of men’s lacrosse programs vs number of men’s soccer programs. I have no idea how they compare, but I would be surprised if there were more lacrosse programs out there.

Also, you are getting a little ahead of yourself. There is no way to know if your son at this age will be recruitable in any sport until after puberty.

Yeah my goal is more to find some statistic to shut this relative up. I am asking out of pure curiosity. Kid has never played lacrosse, and this relative is pushing hard.

I am on here for an older sibling and it has made me curious about a lot of things, so I ask questions.

Your relative needs to shut up and sit down.


No worries, I also have a soccer player, who just graduated from high school. When I look back at u12, u13 from this vantage point I see things very differently!

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I’d be curious to hear the lessons learned, not so much from a college standpoint as from a life standpoint.

Lacrosse. Soccer is the number one sport worldwide. Lacrosse has expanded but it’s still much less common than soccer.

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When I have time tomorrow, I’ll write more. I am ALWAYS happy to talk soccer!!

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I’m going to say fewer kids play lax and the rosters are bigger. But having had a kid who played both in high school, I would let them play both and see how they felt about each. My kid always loved soccer more. His best friend always loved lax more. I think ultimately one just calls your name!

Fwow, I have watched kids very successfully switch sports. The soccer player who switched to football in high school and made a D1 team, the gymnasts who became pole vaulters, etc. What they all had in common was that they are all great athletes and hard workers.


Lacrosse players that I have known were tall. Soccer players tend to be average height or short.

Of course, there are exceptions, but I have never met them at the collegiate level.

P.S. Googled average height. Closer than expected. Just over 0.5 inch difference among pros. My experience with college players was quite different.

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My kid’s tall, but he likes to play GK in soccer, so height works for him there too.

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[quote=“gardenstategal, post:9, topic:3534535, full:true”]
I’m going to say fewer kids play lax and the rosters are bigger. But having had a kid who played both in high school, I would let them play both and see how they felt about each. My kid always loved soccer more. His best friend always loved lax more. I think ultimately one just calls your name! [/quote]

Multiple sports gets expensive and time consuming fast though, especially for those of us with multiple kids.

Yeah he’s young, and he’s still at the stage where he plays lots of things. Just not lacrosse.

This table shows the percentage of high school athletes who go on to play in college, in any division.

Soccer - 5.6%
Lacrosse - 12.8%

Soccer - 7.2%
Lacrosse - 12.5%

What stands out to me is that the percentage of high school players who play any sport in college is very low.

Here is my “Lessons Learned” from youth sports, YMMV. Our three kids all played soccer, and between DH and myself, we also coached three teams and untold numbers of players for twelve years.

  1. The kid has to have inborn talent and drive to play in college. Without it, no amount of effort, year-round play, private coaching, special camps, etc. will turn out a recruitable player.
    (It was obvious that our kids did not have enough talent, so they played for the joy and camaraderie of it—never more than two seasons a year.)

  2. Even if the player has natural talent, they most likely do not need everything club soccer trainers will tell you they need. For the trainers, it’s their livelihood, so of course they want your kid to be all soccer all the time.

  3. The social aspect, coach, and atmosphere of the team mattered more to our kids than the sport. Our son switched from soccer to running in high school because the cross-country and track kids were more his crowd.

  4. Playing a different sport in off seasons, or taking a break to play something else can be very positive.


Darn, I hope my relative doesn’t read this site!

Those are actually higher than I expected them to be. I’d only seen stats about how many kids who play at all go on to play, and of course those stats are much lower.

By those standards we’re doing OK. We aren’t focused on college as an outcome. Just raising a kid who is happier when he’s moving a lot, and spending time with other kids a lot, and is moving into middle school when being busy after school while parents are at work is a good thing. He plays select, not club/travel.

I would ask the relative to buy you a swimming pool and a horse. There are fewer water polo players then lacrosse players and a lot of prestige schools have teams. :grinning:

Reality is the playing of sports for anything other then the love of the sport will likely result in disappointment. Both/all sports at the division 1 level are extremely competitive. To receive a scholarship requires God given talent, luck perseverance, coaching and fit. Scripting a kids activities doesn’t increase the likelihood of all these things coming together.

Good luck and follow your heart and passion!


What uncle?

The relative you were inquiring for. It was intended as tongue in cheek.


Youth lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the US, but that is because soccer had its growth many years ago and therefore the soccer programs are well established and numerous. Lax is moving west at a fast rate, but it is is huge in the NE and Atlantic states, and has been for many years. The #1 woman player in college this year is from Texas, and that’s very rare (plays at BC though, not at a Texas school). If you look at any college roster, most of the players will be from the east coast because that’s where the best coaching is found. Even at schools in California, most of the players will be from the east.

There are a lot of foreign soccer players on college teams, but not so many lax players (mostly Canadians), so when competing for a spot in college, soccer players are completing with the world while the lax players are mostly competing with US kids. At my daughter’s college, with soccer and lax teams of equal size, the lax teams were all US students and the soccer teams were about 1/3 foreign students.

In lax, you get to hit people with sticks. Some think that’s pretty fun. Maybe you should ask your relative if your son can practice hitting him to see if son likes lax?


LOL, relative is an old lady. Probably making the news for beating up old ladies wouldn’t be good for my kid’s college prospects. Otherwise . . .

We’re in lax country, but even here, playing lacrosse is more complicated than things like soccer and basketball that the kids learn at p.e. recess and can play on a team that practices at the park down the street.

Honestly, the kids playing soccer in PE or rec league aren’t getting into college off soccer. In lax, you can wait until 13-14 years old to start playing in club tournaments and still have a chance.

I just saw an ad on our Next Door by a dad looking to ‘fill out’ his team of 9-10 year olds for soccer. $325 plus $40 for a uniform for the fall (about 8 weeks), and that’s more than that age group would pay for lax for the main season in the spring. All the rec leagues and lessons were cancelled because of covid and not sure when they’ll be back as that age group cannot be vaccinated. The private groups are back on the fields.

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