This thread has been so helpful and really appreciate the depth as well as breadth of BS options specific to soccer.
Our son is a rising sophomore at the Singapore American School and made Varsity his freshman year. He also plays for an elite club out here in Singapore.
His biggest concern is getting the right level of exposure out here to get into a D1 college program.
He’s been working with Tiro Sports and recently attended their ID camp at Loomis Chafee. And will continue to do these. Although this may not compare to having year round exposure while being based state side.
Hence we have been exploring options back in the US for him. Shattuck and Montverde came highly recommended but we have dismissed them for various reasons. IMG was a non starter since it didn’t have the academic rigor plus it really focused on kids going pro (like Monteverde).
Hence we have focused on looking at New England boarding schools. Or perhaps private day schools in and around Boston (where our daughter attends university). The latter would require my wife and I to relocate back to the US for two years but we have the flexibility to do this.
Would appreciate any feedback/thoughts/insights. Specifically, around a)do kids in BS have the opp to play on club team in the off season if they don’t have family to drive them to these commitments and b)if we elect to do Boston are there any good schools that have strong soccer programs and good academic standards. Thanks in advance!
My neighbor just did a PG year for soccer at South Kent - and their coach of 18 years has just left the school. It looks like the school was no longer going to support a year round soccer program there, so he left for Woodstock Academy (also in CT). If you think you might look at South Kent seriously, PM and I can put you in touch with recent grads.
Edited to say I just realized this original post is several years old - for some reason it popped up as new in feed. sorry.
Re boarding schools and playing club – you’ll have to reach out and ask each coach. A club called Black Rock used to have prep school teams, but they’ve stopped. Traditionally, some strong soccer schools have been Taft, Northfield Mount Hermans, Berkshire, South Kent. But the schools aren’t how your son will get to playing D1, that’s through playing club, or by attending on campus ID events.
Why d1? Because it’s the highest level? Does your son want to go pro? How important are academics? Aiming at the Ivy league?
Would another route be finding some kind of agent that helps place international kids on college soccer teams? It looks to me like there’s a bit of a pipeline between certain schools and certain countries, and I think the players are working with paid advisors. I definitely don’t know for sure, but Amherst seems to be able to find kids from London and recruit them.
If D1 is not set in stone, you might consider d3, as top teams also play good soccer.
Thanks @cinnamon1212 @ssdh25
He’s not set on D1 and if anything he’s come to understand that there are some excellent schools in D3. And given he is doing well academically, I think D3 could be a good choice.
We are working with Tiro Sports already to help him get the exposure via their ID camps.
But will speak to the BS coaches as we explore this route to understand how they can also play for a club as otherwise it’s a limited season and frankly that feels like too little soccer/training versus him doing it here year round.
Alternatively any thoughts around doing a day school in Boston and have him tryout for an MLS Next team….although I hear that’s a very hard route to take as it’s hyper competitive to get a spot on an MLSNext team.
As for South Kent…yeah would love any details so I can follow up with them.
South Kent is not highly regarded academically, so if other residential academies don’t appeal then it’s unlikely South Kent will. (Though it may be a notch above those academies, I don’t know the nuances). Northwood is another soccer intensive school not known for it’s rigorous academics.
If your son is that good, why not have your family plan a trip to the US next summer where he can attend some on campus one day ID events? That can be how some kids are identified. (He would email the coaches ahead of time, with a highlight tape, so they could be looking out for him).
Below are the ISL soccer standings for 2022. Milton, BB&N and Nobles are all very good Boston area schools with traditionally strong soccer programs.
I have looked into MLS Next in my state and concluded that its demands are incompatible with a strong focus on academics. Specifically, the training in the fall and spring is four days per week (three days weekly during winter), likely for at least 90 minutes each session. Adding in matches, travel times and a typical boarding school academic schedule and other requirements, and I don’t think it would be doable.
Thanks all. Very helpful. Especially the perspective on Boston schools @GKUnion. Will do a deeper dive into this.
@cinnamon1212 Yes we are planning on doing the college ID camps in the spring and summer of next year.
Awesome to have all this perspective and help as we get through the next few years.
Another way to research options would be to take a look at rosters of potential D1/D3 schools over the past few years. See where their players are from. My kids play a different sport, but it’s possible to see where college kids played before school, both club and special teams. You start to see some themes.
Heck, if you’re considering relocating for day school options, you might as well consider relocating to a top ranked public school district and enroll in public school (Lexington, Weston, Brookline, Newton North…), as you’d have the advantage of academic rigor and the flexibility of participating in sports clubs.
While historically some boarding schools were known as feeders for certain selective colleges/universities, this has become increasingly less and less the case.
Several of my son’s MLS Next teammates managed it with no issue, eventually committing to Boston College, Brown, Harvard, Northwestern and UVA.
In the Boston area you have 2 Massachusetts MLS Next teams within “close” proximity to the city, so coordinating rides is manageable. Additionally, many prep school players are granted waivers that allow them to skip all fall MLS Next practices and games to focus 100% on their school team.
That’s very interesting. Here, the MLS Next says its players are not even allowed to play on their high-school teams.
Here the waivers are only extended to prep school players. Public school players fall under the same MLS Next rule you’re familiar with.
Thanks so much, GK. How is it handled with spring sports?
In the spring MLS Next takes precedence over any school sport.
But do the boarding schools allow this? My understanding is they all insist on a spring sport, or at least conditioning/strength training on campus during the designated times after school.
My son didn’t attend a prep school, but his teammates that did never missed a spring practice, or game. I have to believe they were excused from school spring athletic requirements.
@stalecookies Yes this is a path we are considering and so will look at these areas as I agree with your point. If we do the day school route we would want to maximise both the academia and my son being able to play year round competitively.
Incidentally as I got deeper into the prep school rabbit hole there was a theme playing out purely from an academic standpoint ie. there are only four schools that really are feeder schools ie index disproportionately against getting into top universities - Andover, Exeter, Groton and St Paul. This came back over and over again. Which I found interesting.
I don’t know that I would call them feeder schools, in the sense that the term has traditionally been used. Selective schools are trying pretty hard to get away from admitting prep school kids, feeling they’ve already received tremendous advantages. Many of the admitted kids you are seeing are hooked; many are likely faculty kids, e.g.