What to Consider in Training to be a Division I Soccer Player

    There is a certain level of preparation and training for Division I soccer. A switch happens when training stops becoming “fun.” Training becomes necessary.

    Before we jump into how to train like a D1 soccer player, I want to clarify something that most people may not be aware of regarding the collegiate divisions. The best D3 programs have the same talent and level of play as some D1 programs. Those D3 players can play at a D1 level. The difference lies in the level of commitment. When players pick to play D3, they choose more of a balance between athletics and academics.

    Now, let’s talk about what training as a D1 soccer player looks like–what should you focus on if you want to play at a D1 (or top-notch D3) level? 

    Nicki Pereira, Head Coach for Northeast Rush Soccer Club and former Uconn player, shares:

    “In my experience, there aren’t just three things you can do training-wise to play at the D1 level. However, if a player is resolute, that is their goal, and they are willing to work for years towards that goal, I think it’s really achievable. The areas that players will need to focus on are agility, speed, and weight training. Consistent solo technical work. (I can’t emphasize technical work enough). Watch high-level soccer games and recordings of your own performance. And learn to analyze and reset career/personal goals. Besides that, I think it’s not something most players decide late in their high school career. This is something players set as goals earlier on and have the ability to delay gratification for all their hard work and sacrifice.”

    It’s important to note that players who want to play Division 1 soccer must have the fortitude to last. They need to learn beforehand how to balance soccer, academics, and life at that level. A lot of players will fail at the D1 level due to not being prepared or having the fortitude to stick it out.   

    Nicki shares, “These D1 players are explosive, technically very sound, able to take players on from all positions. They have the desire to sacrifice everything else for this goal. They have the fortitude and mindset to professionalize early. They can make hard choices and sacrifices to always put soccer first.”

    Now that you have a baseline of understanding of what it takes to play at the Division 1 level, you could make the best decision for yourself. For example, are you willing to sacrifice social events, stick to a schedule, and put soccer first with academics? Or are you looking for more of a balanced lifestyle as a collegiate soccer player? Of course, only you can answer those questions!

    As a D2 player, I advise you to visit D1, D2, and D3 schools, ask the current players tons of questions, reflect on what you desire for your collegiate career, and have the confidence to move forward in the decision-making process. 


    Featured image via Adobe Stock Images




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