Securing a women's soccer scholarship is an incredible opportunity for a student-athlete to finance their education while continuing to play the sport they love. College soccer scholarships are given to elite athletes who have demonstrated that they have the potential to compete at the highest level, and they can cover a big part-or all-of a student-athlete's tuition. However, most scholarships are one-year agreements that must be renewed each year, and for NCAA universities, a scholarship offer does not become official until a student-athlete signs the National Letter of Intent (NLI).
In 2019, approximately 1,571 colleges sponsored women’s soccer teams. Here’s how the numbers look for the major division levels:
Yes! There are athletic scholarships available for women's soccer at the NCAA DI and DII levels, as well as at NAIA schools and junior colleges.
Many families ask how much the average women's college soccer scholarship is. Unfortunately, that's pretty difficult to pinpoint. Women's soccer is an equivalency sport, meaning that coaches are not required to give out full scholarships to their athletes and can instead break them up however they want. So, for a D1 team with 28 roster spots, a coach could give out 14 full-ride scholarships, or 28 scholarships that cover half the tuition.
Additionally, the cost of tuition at each college and university is going to vary. An in-state student at a public university could pay close to $10,000 a year, while an out-of-state student at a private university could pay $60,000 a year. Trying to find an average women's college scholarship amount doesn't account for those differences in tuition. Furthermore, not all athletes receive scholarships all four years of their college women's soccer career. Instead of trying to determine what the average scholarship amount is, we recommend families first figure out how much they are willing to pay for four years of college. Then, while going through the recruiting process, student-athletes can compare offers based on their family's expected contribution-the amount they will pay out of pocket after factoring in all scholarship dollars.
Only the top athletes make it to the level of playing women's soccer in college. During the 2016-2017 school year, there were about 388,339 high school women's soccer players and about 38,873 college women's soccer players. Of these college players, 1,155 were international recruits. This means that about 9.7% of U.S. high school women's soccer players ended up competing in college across the Division 1, Division 2, Division 3, NAIA and junior college levels. Only about 2.3% of high school women's soccer players went on to compete at the NCAA Division 1 level.
DI women's programs can give out a maximum of 14 soccer scholarships a year. These can be a mix of full-ride scholarships and partial scholarships. Bear in mind that 14 represents the maximum number of scholarships, but some DI women's soccer programs might have a smaller number of scholarships available due to budget limits.
Yes, DII schools can offer full-ride soccer scholarships. However, because women's soccer is deemed an equivalency sport by the NCAA, colleges are not required to give out full rides. It's up to the coach to determine how much money they want to give to each athlete on the team.
While DIII colleges don't offer athletic scholarships, most DIII athletes do receive other forms of financial aid. Student-athletes interested in competing at a DIII school shouldn't let the lack of soccer scholarships deter them. For those who have good grades and test scores, there's a good chance they'll qualify for an academic scholarship. Student-athletes who have been involved in extracurricular activities and their community may be able to find a merit-based scholarship. Families can also take advantage of need-based financial aid, which is awarded based on factors like household income.
The bottom line is that soccer scholarships aren't the only way to pay for college. There are many other forms of scholarships out there, and if a DIII program wants someone on their team, they can be extremely helpful in finding scholarship money from other sources.