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Walking On: How to Prepare Yourself for the Best Walk-On Situation

Every college soccer coach has a specific number of scholarships available each year, as well as a specific number of roster spots they need to fill. The number of scholarships and the number of roster spots do not always match up, in fact, in most cases these numbers are very different. For example, a Division I men’s soccer coach with a fully funded program has 9.9 athletic scholarships available. The average college soccer team carries more than twice this number, so even if a coach divides up his scholarship money, there will likely be some players on his team who do not receive any financial assistance in the form of an athletic scholarship.

If a coach invites you to play for his/her team, without the guarantee of an athletic scholarship your freshman year, this means you will technically be a walk-on. The term “walk-on” describes prospects that show up to training camp unannounced, as well as those who have been legitimately recruited by the coach. Attempting to walk-on to a college soccer team without being in close contact with the coach is very risky. Even if you are better than some of the other players, if the coach has invested time and money in identifying players therefore, he/she is more likely to have significantly more information and interest in these athletes. It is in your best interest to contact a collegiate coach prior to attending an open tryout.

With this in mind, I would suggest that you review the list of questions below with the coach’s regarding “walk on” opportunities:

Many student-athletes determine that walking-on is the best opportunity for them. If you are in this situation, make sure you know all the facts before you arrive on campus. This is your collegiate future and you owe it to yourself to be informed about exactly where you stand. By being educated about the “walk on” status, you will put yourself in the very best position to be successful.

NCSA, the Official Scouting Organization and Provider of Recruiting Education for Cal South, is the premier source for matching high school scholar – athletes with colleges and universities across the country.  NCSA is the "Eyes & Ears" of more than 35,000 college coaches, who rely on NCSA's experienced scouting team and instant response capabilities to provide them with quality prospective recruits.  NCSA prides itself in educating high school student-athletes and their families about the college recruiting process.   Please visit for more information about NCSA.