Often in youth soccer I see clubs and organizations advertising that they can help produce college soccer scholarships for their players that choose to play with them. Given the statistics with regards to the percentage of players that actually get NCAA Division I soccer scholarships, I view this type of self-promotion to be unsavory.
The truth is that only 1 percent of the players from any given locale will receive tangible credit towards their college education through a NCAA Division I soccer scholarship. There is only a 5 percent chance that they will actually make the team!
The real reason clubs and organizations make these statements about soccer scholarship is to get parents to fork over exorbitant team fees. They run their clubs like businesses rather than like community not-for-profits. A good businessman will tell you to save the difference in monies from these clubs and put them in an equitable 529 plan. Now there’s your scholarship!
I will encourage parents to look for non-profit organizations who try to minimize the expenses by using mostly volunteer coaches, but still stress the importance of teaching good skills, providing good competition and promoting friendship between the players.
I encourage parents to find the situation that will inspire their child to enjoy playing the sport of soccer and help them learn the valuable life lessons that come from competitive sports. It’s not easy! A good sign is when you see your child kicking the ball around, on his or her OWN accord, quietly off in a corner somewhere. Just the sight in of itself, is golden.
Dr. Gabriel Nigrin is a retired Pediatric Endocrinologist for St. Vincents Hospital Manhatten, NY & founder and board member of 40 years of the Silver Lake Soccer Club / Academy on Staten Island.