Ask The College Coach: Will Only Playing for Local Clubs Hinder Chances at a College Roster Spot? Is it Necessary to Play for Academies?

Welcome to iSoccerPath’s “Ask The College Coach” column, where real college coaches tackle questions from soccer parents around the country. If you’re interested in having a coach answer your question, please send us an email at with the subject “Ask the College Coach.”

“Dear iSoccerPath-

My son wants to play in the academy, however it’s about a 90 minute drive each way and I am worried his grades will suffer. He plays in our local club and does very well but some of his friends are going to the academy. Can you advise us on if it’s worth it? Do all academy players get college scholarships? If you play in the local club does that mean you can’t get a college spot?”

Jennifer H.,


Our answer this week comes courtesy of Kelly Findley, Associate Head Coach of Davidson College Men’s Soccer Team:

“Let’s start with the last couple of questions and work our way backwards.

A player from any club of any level can earn a spot on a college roster. Which roster a player can make is always dependent on the quality of the player and the college program, and not which club/academy team they play for. This would also go for players that play on academy teams.  All academy players do not get college scholarships or play in college.

Playing in the academy may create more exposure, that is playing in front of college coaches more regularly due to the events academy teams participate in, but it does not guarantee anything.  Coaches look for players that can help the program on the field, have the grades and test scores to gain admission and have the character to have a positive impact on the programs culture.

One very important aspect is development.  Some teams, coaches and clubs are more focused on winning than player and personal development.  When college coaches are recruiting potential players, they are projecting and investing in what the player will develop into, not the players current level of play.  

The most important thing is to find an environment where aspiring college soccer players can get coaching focused on development, play in meaningful games and train regularly at a high level.  If you can find that, you have found the right place to play, whether it is academy or club.”

Kelly Findley

Associate Head Coach/Recruiting

Davidson College

For more answers from coaches around the country, be sure to check out the rest of the “Ask The College Coach” series and see how iSoccerPath is committed to providing the best information possible for youth soccer players.