Turning Pro in the USA

First of all, it should be noted that playing professional soccer is a career for very few players. Even if you sign a contract, chances are that it’s going to be a short-term job and not a career that will support you for the rest of your life.

Amateur soccer

Everybody is looking for shortcuts. The most realistic approach is to start from your local amateur league and work your way up the ladder. It’s important to make friends and listen to your coaches because these are the people who will help you advance. Your teammates and your coaches have connections and can direct you when there are opportunities and tryouts in your area.

College soccer

If you’re still young, then playing in college is certainly the best option for a number of reasons. First, you’ll earn a degree which is important considering that life goes on after your playing days are over. Secondly, you may be able to receive a partial or full scholarship. It should be noted that only NCAA Division I and II schools are allowed to give out scholarships. Lastly, playing in college is often the best way to get drafted by a professional team.

“It was never really a choice not to study with Ajax. Actually if you didn’t study well you weren’t playing, so I think they can go hand in hand. I think the American system is a perfect example of how sports can be completely integrated with the educational system.” Clarence Seedorf

Professional soccer

The top divisions in the States are: MLS, USL and PDL. There is also the NASL which was formed recently. These leagues include teams from both the US and Canada where most of the players are drafted or selected from college. The best way to get into any of these leagues is by making yourself known at the collegiate level. Therefore, your first priority should be to enter a college with a good soccer program. Alternatively, you could look for tryouts on your own, but it’s much harder to get noticed that way.

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Updated: July 7, 2016
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