NE Boys Prep/Private School Soccer

We live a an area that is geographically isolated and are interested in exploring the New England private schools with solid academics, as well as a solid boys soccer program(preferably a coed school). Are there any parents or experienced members who can share any information with the NE Prep schools? And I realize this could be a loaded question, but I’m hoping for some brave responders! General impressions, experience, reputation, types of students that attend… (If you are a parent at one of these schools, please don’t be offended- it’s just a view point.)

Background: We live many states away, we have a daughter in college in MA and son spent a good bit of time there this summer attending college clinics- and enough time to appreciate how strong the soccer is in the E/NE and how much he likes the area. He is currently a 10th grade student, plays varsity at HS and an ECNL team. He is a solid player with strong academics, interested in top academic D3 schools (mostly NESCAC) and possibly 2-3 lower level D1 schools. He has no intention on going pro or playing in the MLS. Not knowing how things could turn out, solid academics is first priority followed by quality coaches, opportunities, and exposure to top D3 schools.

If there is a school not on the list, feel free to include. These I found by combing thru NESJ.
Taft
Loomis
Milton
South Kent ( all boys)
Northwood
Worcester
St. Pauls’s
Phillips Exeter
Berkshire School
Northfield Mount Hernon
Williston Northhampton

1 Like

My son plays for an MLS Next club team and has current, and former teammates that attend Milton Academy. It’s hard to beat Milton in the eastern MA area for strong soccer and quality academics.

2 Likes

#gkunion. Thanks for the feedback!

calling @cinnamon1212 whose son played soccer as a student at east coast boarding school, went through college recruiting and is playing D3 soccer with a top academic and soccer program!

1 Like

I have two kids who play sports at Exeter, including one who plays soccer. I wouldn’t say kids really seek out Exeter for athletics, but my kids have had good experiences there. It is a lot to balance, though, and definitely not for everyone.

That said, they have a lot of school spirit (my kids are still on a high from Exeter’s big win over Andover win in football over the weekend) and many kids go on to play their sports in college, particularly at NESCACs. My oldest is a senior and would have great college prospects based on academics, but is being recruited by top NESCACs plus a hyper-selective D1 school for their sport. For Exeter, your son would have to decide if the intense academic environment is a fit and then figure out if he likes the soccer culture there.

1 Like

My experience from my oldest’s team playing against almost all of these schools is that South Kent has the best soccer program. They had a number of very talented players from Western Africa on their roster and their level of play was very strong. Not sure if that’s still the case or how the other features of the school compare.

2 Likes

I’m here! The OP and I have been PM-ing :slight_smile:

There are a few general points for anyone in his situation. The first thing is one has to determine what’s driving the bus, academics or soccer (or both). Because kids can get recruited out of weak soccer programs if they are talented enough. So that opens up all the prep schools, and one would hone in those that are best academic/vibe fits, and figure that the soccer will take care of itself.

On the other hand, if soccer is driving the bus, then one would focus on the soccer powerhouse schools, e.g. South Kent for sure as well as Berkshire, NMH, Taft, Loomis.

Both paths can lead to the same place – playing soccer at a top academic school.

Another consideration is just how strong a soccer player the student is. Because many of these schools have miniscule admission rates, especially for upperclassmen. Now, if the player is an impact one then the odds of admission go way up. But if they are averagely strong, i.e. they’d be on varsity but not a starter, then I don’t think soccer really helps with admission.

5 Likes

The admissions rates for some of these schools is frightening! Playing in ECNL, I would say that he is above average; however, within ECNL, I would say he is average. Although he was/is a 9th and 10th grader varsity starter for his high school team, I don’t think it translates the same as a freshman starter in NE. Hope that makes sense.

He plays as a CB and these are not always the flashiest players for coaches watching on the sidelines… He’s big, physical, smart on the field, consistent, willing to work, and keeps the team calm and organized- but he is not a kid that is going to skip the admissions line at an Elite prep school based on his soccer, if they are a soccer powerhouse.

Colleges like Tufts and WashU would be target schools for him academically without soccer. Because of this, I think the academic side is his edge with D3 colleges?

For prep school purposes, I’d like to identify schools that academically are strong in their teaching, whose students routinely go to colleges like the ones he’s interested in. That being said, I am not looking for a prep school whose academic rigor equates to 3-4 hrs of homework 5-6 days a week. Been there done that I’d prefer a more balanced approach. :slight_smile:

From a soccer standpoint. I’d like to identify prep/private schools with good connections to the D3 colleges and where he is a good fit for the team. Riding the bench while watching the top D1 seniors in the country play, isn’t going to do him much good.

Based on the above, admissions rates, and how elite the players are attending- What schools would you take off the list? I read about 1 of the prep schools on the “prep school admissions” board and it sounded like college admissions 2.0!! No thank you- this is my last kiddo and I just went thru the college admissions process last year! I’m willing to do what we need to do, but there were some that we couldn’t get prepared for before he graduates!

Ok. The not wanting 3-4 hours of homework is setting off alarms for me. That pretty much knocks out all the ne boarding schools. I think you’re going to have a really hard time finding a school that routinely sends kids to the top nescac/d3 schools but doesn’t have 3-4 hours of homework. Maybe I’m wrong and that unicorn exists but I think you’re going to end up with more “soccer” bs and those aren’t going to be academically as rigorous as you seem to want.

3 Likes

Yeah, my freshman daughter rooms with a girl who is on the varsity soccer team and both of them study a minimum of 3 hours a day (2 of that during structured study hall), often more, plus catchup on Sundays. A lot of it depends on how efficient your son is with homework.

1 Like

Maybe it would be better to say that we need a academic program that works with a club training schedule. He has been at a rigorous (day) school and it is tough to fit in 3-4 hours of homework a night and train 4 x a week with games on Sat/Sun. Currently, we live 45 min from practice, so he gets home from school at 4:30, eats at 5:30, leaves at 7:15 and gets home at 10:45. During the club season, he also has HS practices every other day, during the last period of school and running 2 x week before school. With his current schedule, he couldn’t fit 4 hrs of HW in every night. He’s able to balance it, by focusing on advanced level classes in the subject areas he’s interested in (math and science) and taking on-level classes in the subjects he’s less interested in (and that don’t count towards his GPA calculation).

What I don’t know is what the school day looks like in the NE and how club soccer is incorporated. How long is the school day, when does HS practice (during school or after), do the schools partner with a club during the club season or do players pursue a club team on their own?

Study time during school is a huge help and the HW and schedule you listed is manageable! My concern was having 3-4 hours of hw after school, on a regular, daily basis.

@hillcountryview Prep school players do not play club during the high school season. It’s all high school, all the time.

Prep players return to their clubs after the season.

1 Like

It’s the same here. Not sure if the NE does this, but our HS varsity players have soccer as a class on their schedule. During club season, they practice every other day as part of the school day. Then when club ends for the fall, HS alternates in school/after school practice and club practice is optional, pool training 2 x week.

Boarding schools have a fairly rigid schedule. Classes from 8 or 8:30 am until approximately 3 pm. A student may or may not have free periods during this time. Then required sports from approximately 4-6. (Or, other required activity, like theater, or work on a farm – this time period is not open for any student). Dinner, then club meetings (between 6:30 -8) and then study time (some schools have required study hall for younger kids between 8-10). Then free time between 10-11, and lights out at 11 (again, for younger kids). I’m sure not every school follows this schedule, but this gives you an idea of what a typical day looks like.

Practice or games 6 days a week. Games usually on Wednesday afternoon (which is a half day) or Saturday afternoon. My sons’ schools both had Saturday morning classes.

No club soccer at all in the fall. In the Spring, when other sports were required, my son did his Spring (or winter) sport in the afternoon, and then had club practice from 7 -9, once during the week, and again on Sunday when there are no school requiredactivities(as a rule). His soccer club was designed for prep school players and so accommodated this schedule. The team did not play in a league, but only went to a few tournaments as well as holding it’s own college showcases, which drew an impressive array of academic schools.

3 Likes

My son doesn’t attend a prep school, but as I said, he has teammates that do. His club practices at least 3x per week from 8-10pm. Once the prep season is over those players are expected at every practice. They have 1 game on the weekend, but those games can range from Canada to NJ/PA.

1 Like

@hillcountryview
I have mentioned in other threads that I don’t think playing an outside of school sport while at BS is a good idea. It is a HUGE extra issue to deal with. I don’t know of any BS that allows a freshman to opt out of their after school activity because they are playing a club sport. So your son may be doing double sports all spring + homework.

Generally BS + club sport is only for kids who are insanely academically motivated or already at the top of their sport so that missing a lot of club won’t be held against them because they are the star. It is hard, I realize what you are doing now also feels hard. I think the BS school hard is harder unless you drop down academically a fair amount.

I think it is so hard that if I had it to do over again I would not and we also played at a club that was 45 minutes to 90 minutes away depending on traffic.

That 3 hours of study is outside of regular school hours (8-5:30). I expect that number to go up as she progresses to her sophomore and, in particular, her junior year. She’s at a school with Saturday classes and a required afternoon activity … her fall sport didn’t end until 5:30 or 5:45 every day; later on Wed/Sat game days. Study time from 8-11 most days with some nights going later. Admittedly, she’s not the most efficient worker so there’s probably 25% time wastage in there.

She’s also on a high level softball club team. In the fall, there were tournaments 5 out of 7 weekends and practices twice a week. It was brutal and, for my daughter, not sustainable. She got through it but isn’t looking forward to next fall and may change to a less aggressive softball club.

There are some good responses here that address the reality of playing a club sport while at BS. Have a frank conversation with the schools you’re considering and have your son talk to another club player on the BS soccer team to see what that person actually experiences … is the school supportive of missing classes and assignments, what about checking in late for evening study hall, etc.

@one1ofeach
I’m coming from ground zero and and you hit on one of my questions and it is the key factor in determining if the hw load is manageable.

It was mentioned previously that there are some prep schools who have an arrangement with a club and the boys play with them during the club season. I don’t remember which school, but there was one whose boys played with Black Rock FC during the club season.

Specific to prep schools known for boys soccer (South Kent, Milton, Taft, Millbrook, Brooks, Loomis…), Can any generalization be made about what happens when the prep season is over?

Do they practice and play with their prep school team for the entire school year?
Do they play club when the prep season is done? If they do play club, is it coordinated with/thru the school?

If they want to be recruited, they have to play club.

No, the school soccer season ends in November, so no practicing all year. Actually, that may not be true at South Kent, but they are an outlier.

No, the schools don’t do anything with regards to club soccer (again there may be 1 or 2 that help, but that’s very much the exception).

3 Likes