Anyone who is a little familiar with the world of women’s soccer also knows that the absolute superpower in this world is the national women’s team of America. Of the 8 editions of the World Women’s Soccer Championship, America has won the title of world champion 4 (!) times. Names like Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan are known all over the world. But why is it that America is so lonely at the top?
Whereas in the Netherlands, and other parts of the world, women’s soccer is often a neglected child, in America it is the complete opposite. For more than 30 years, young girls have been mentored and prepared for college soccer. Playing for their school is a greater pride for these women than playing soccer for a professional club; they grow up with a focus on playing college soccer.
There are more than 1,600 women’s college soccer teams in America. There is something for every level of player, but at every school, you will be treated like an elite athlete. You have full-time coaches who are always there to help you with whatever you need, a strength coach who supports you in your development, you travel across America a lot to away games which means you see the whole country, and with far away games you often go by plane.
During the season, you play against different colleges in your “conference.” At the end of the season the top 5 playoffs are called the conference tournament. The winner gets to call himself conference champion and qualifies for the national tournament where all champions fight for the national championship. This is a knockout tournament, so if you lose your match, the season ends. You can imagine that there comes a lot of pressure with it, but these are the matches where most supporters come to watch and where you will be on TV. For example, the game for the national championship between University of North Carolina and University of Notre Dame had 14,410 spectators!
Over the years, many top players have represented college soccer teams. The best soccer star of all time, Mia Hamm, played 4 seasons for the University of North Carolina where she scored 103 goals in 95 games and became a national champion 4 times!
Two of the best-known players today are American Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan. Rapinoe played for the University of Portland where she became national champion in 2005. Morgan played 4 seasons for the University of California. Meanwhile, together with the U.S. national team, they won 2 world championships and a gold medal at Olympics.
Dutch players have also caused a furor in America, for example, Merel van Dongen played at the University of Alabama, and success coach Sarina Wiegman played for the University of North Carolina (along with Mia Hamm).
Fun fact! Our field field hockey specialist Eva Smolenaars lived with Alessia Russo at the University of North Carolina. After 3 years of college soccer, Alessia signed a contract with Manchester United, and last summer she won the European Championship with England where she scored with an amazing goal through the legs of the Swedish goalkeeper in the semifinals.
It’s clear that college soccer is one of the best stepping stones to a professional soccer career as a women’s soccer player. So are you a soccer player, and have you become curious about playing college soccer in America? Fill out the form on this page and we will contact you as soon as possible!