Becoming a professional soccer player – who wouldn’t want that? It’s the dream of almost every boy or girl when they start playing soccer. Playing at Camp Nou, Santiago Bernabeu, or Old Trafford, alongside or against your idols. However, professional soccer is only attainable for a small number of players, and in countries like the Netherlands and Belgium, you often have to make significant sacrifices, such as putting your education on hold or even dropping out of school entirely.

In America, they have the perfect solution for this: college soccer. Here, you play soccer at a high level while also studying; you play and study for the university. This creates an optimal combination. You train like a professional: at least five times a week, both on the field and in the gym. During the season, you even play two matches a week and travel to away games by team bus or sometimes even by plane. There is a full-time staff dedicated to building the best team in America and helping the players develop optimally. In short, you are thoroughly prepared to become a professional soccer player while also being well-guided towards a career outside of soccer through your studies.

How do you become a professional soccer player?

From college soccer, there are several paths you can take to become a professional soccer player. The first option is the MLS SuperDraft. This allows MLS teams to select standout players from their college careers. These players are often invited to an event called the ‘MLS Player Combine,’ where the selected players showcase their skills and abilities. This helps MLS teams get a better understanding of the players.

Another option is to attend try-outs and showcases held by professional teams, where you could potentially join an MLS or another professional team. A third option is to go international from college. College soccer players are highly valued by international professional clubs due to their dedication and experience with extensive training, playing matches, and traveling.

Examples of college soccer players who became professional soccer players:

Jordan Morris won the MAC Hermann Trophy as the best college soccer player in 2015 and signed with Seattle Sounders FC in 2016 as a Homegrown Player. Since then, he has played a significant role for the Sounders and the US national team.

Jack Harrison as a college player for Wake Forest

Another great example is Jack Harrison. Harrison was chosen first in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft by Chicago Fire but was immediately traded to New York City FC. After two seasons in the MLS, he moved to Manchester, where he was loaned out and eventually sold to Leeds United, with whom he now plays in the Premier League.

Cyle Larin also belongs in this list. Larin was selected first overall in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft by Orlando City SC. He had a successful period in the MLS before moving to Beşiktaş, after which he continued his career in Europe in La Liga.

Finally, our own Wouter Verstraaten. Wouter exchanged the PSV Eindhoven youth academy in 2016 for college soccer in America through Slamstox. He played for the Wright State Raiders men’s soccer team and was named the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year. After his time in American college soccer, Verstraaten returned to the Netherlands. In 2020, he signed with Pacific FC in the Canadian Premier League (CPL). Following his stint at Pacific FC, Verstraaten moved to England and signed with South Shields, a club competing in the Northern Premier League. Currently, he has shifted his focus to his professional career and is employed at ABN AMRO Bank.

Wouter Verstraaten during his time in college

In short, if you want to play soccer at a high level, be prepared for professional soccer while also pursuing an education, or simply have an amazing time in America combined with soccer, fill out a form and our soccer specialists will gladly assess your options.