College soccer

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College soccer is played by teams of football students throughout colleges and universities. College soccer is probably most widespread in the United States, but is also prominent in South Korea and Canada. In these countries the institutions typically hire full-time professional coaches and staff, although the student athletes are strictly amateur and are not paid.

In the United States, college soccer is sponsored by the sports regulatory body for major universities, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and those for smaller universities and colleges, including the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA), and the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA).

Many top American college soccer players play for separate teams in the Premier Development League (PDL) during the summer. One college club, the BYU Cougars men's team, has foregone playing in the NCAA or NAIA and instead play all of their games in the PDL.[1] At the end of the NCAA college season, there is a college soccer 'draft', and during this draft the Professional Clubs in the USA can opt to draft the most talented college players to the professional leagues directly from college. The Professional Leagues who have the opportunity to cast their picks are usually the MLS (Major League Soccer) with the lower professional leagues such as USL1 and NASL having other ways to draft.[2][3][4]

An NCAA tournament game between Indiana University and the University of Tulsa in 2004


While similar in general appearance, NCAA rules diverge significantly from FIFA Laws of the Game. If a player accumulates five yellow cards over the course of one season, they are banned one game. A manager may make unlimited substitutions, and each player is allowed one re-entry which must occur in the second half of the match. All matches have an overtime period if the game remains tied after 90 minutes. As opposed to a classic two half overtime, a sudden death rule is applied. If neither team scores in the two ten-minute halves, the match ends in a draw (unless it is a playoff match, then it would go to kicks from the penalty mark). College soccer is played with a clock that can be stopped when signaled to by the referee for injuries, the issuing of misconducts, or when the referee feels a team is wasting time. The clock is also stopped after goals until play is restarted, and the clock generally counts down from 45:00 to 0:00 in each half. In most professional soccer leagues, there is an up-counting clock with the referee adding injury time to the end of each 45-minute half.[5]

Divisions and conferences in the United States[edit]

There are 205 Division I, 207 Division II, and 408 Division III Men's Soccer Programs.[6]

NCAA Division I[edit]

Division I attendance leaders[edit]

Fans at college soccer games (here at Indiana University in 2004) can number in the thousands for matches between top teams.

The following Division I soccer teams have an average attendance of at least 2,000 as of 2012.[7]

1) UCSB Gauchos - 9 - 5,542

2) UConn Huskies - 14 - 4,228

3) Maryland Terrapins - 16 - 3,031

4) Cal Poly Mustangs - 10 - 2,708

5) Akron Zips - 12 - 2,619

6) Creighton Bluejays - 12 - 2,391

7) Louisville Cardinals - 14 - 2,215

8) New Mexico Lobos - 13 - 2,212

9) Clemson Tigers - 9 - 2,193

NCAA Division II[edit]

NCAA Division III[edit]


History of college soccer in the U.S.[edit]

The first de facto college football game held in the U.S. in 1869 between Rutgers University and Princeton was contested under the London Football Association rules at Rutgers captain John W. Leggett' request, with the game being played under Association (soccer) rules mixed with Rugby. However most sports historians argue that this was actually the first-ever college gridiron football season in history.

The NCAA first began holding a national championship in 1959, Prior to 1959, the national champion had been determined by a national poll instead of through a national tournament.

St. Louis University won the 1959 inaugural championship using mostly local players, defeating a number of teams that were mostly foreign players.[8] St. Louis University continued to dominate the Division I Championship for a number of years, appearing in five consecutive finals from 1959 to 1963 and winning four; and appearing in six consecutive finals from 1969 to 1974 and winning four. College soccer continued growing throughout the 1970s, with the NCAA adding a Division III in 1974 to accommodate the growing number of schools.[9]

Indiana University dominated mens soccer in the 1980s, 90s, and 00s with 8 national championships, 6 Hermann Trophies (national player of the year), countless All Americans, 13 national team players, and 6 Olympians. From 1973 to 2003 no team won more national championships or had more NCAA College Cup appearances than Indiana.

Virginia won a record four consecutive national championships from 1991 to 1994 under head coach Bruce Arena, who later went on to coach the U.S. national team.

Divisions and conferences internationally[edit]


In Canada, there are two organizations that regulate university and collegiate athletics.

Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS)[edit]

Canadian Colleges Athletic Association[edit]

South Korea[edit]

The U-League is a university football competition in Korea Republic. Created in 2008, it is the first organized league competition for university football teams and will operate outside of the regular Korean football league structure.

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, association football in colleges and universities is governed by the BUSA Football League.

National college soccer awards[edit]

See Category:College soccer trophies and awards in the United States

Notable American men's college soccer graduates[edit]

Noted as players[edit]

Noted in other fields[edit]

Notable non-American men's college soccer graduates[edit]

Noted as players[edit]

Noted in other fields[edit]

Notable men's college soccer coaches[edit]

Notable American women's college soccer graduates[edit]

Notable non-American women's college soccer graduates[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

External links[edit]