Current Trends in Women’s College Soccer Recruiting

Last week, I published a blog post about the trends in men’s college soccer recruiting. Today I will discuss the trends in women’s college soccer recruiting, some are the same but some are vastly different. College soccer recruiting has changed significantly in the last few years, but in the last few months, it seems to have changed even more!


Recruits need to realize this, at all levels, college coaches get paid to WIN! They need to recruit players that give them the best chance to win ASAP. At all levels, college coaches’ livelihoods are attached to if their teams win and so coaches are recruiting in this fashion.

Just like the men, they need to win right away and the availability of older, proven players in the transfer portal has led many coaches to focus their energy on filling rosters spots with players that will help them right away, as opposed to picking up an unproven freshman that needs a year or two of development until they are ready to compete.


On the women’s side, the transfer portal is forcing coaches to reserve about 20% of their roster spots for transfers compared to about 25-30% on the men’s side.

As in the past, we are still seeing a lot of recruiting done starting June 15 after a players’ sophomore year. In women’s college soccer, many women’s players are recruited, visit campuses and asked to make decisions in their junior year. This used to be only reserved for NCAA Division I and maybe the top NCAA Division II schools, but over the last 5-10 years we have even seen NCAA Division III schools shoring up much of their recruiting during a prospects junior year.

Now take what I just said about early recruiting with a grain of salt. Although early recruiting is still very popular, one way the transfer portal has changed things is coaches don’t often know their recruiting needs until very late and recruiting never seems to be over. It used to be that a coach knew they would be graduating a certain number of student-athletes in a given year so they would be recruiting the next classes based on those graduating or leaving their program.


Now, with the transfer portal, student-athletes are coming and going every year, a trend that we didn’t see in years’ past. This has turned into a game of “musical chairs” and a coach may not know their recruiting needs as early as they once used to. Because of this shift, I’ve been seeing opportunities pop up for players later in the timeline than I used to.


For example, this year, I have had several high school senior girl prospects that I work with land on NCAA Division I and II rosters in February and March of their senior year, as openings came about at schools that did not previously have roster spots. These roster spots became available because of the transfer portal.

Although less than 10% of college women’s soccer players are international compared to 25-30% of men’s, I do see international recruiting growing as the women’s international game has grown significantly stronger in recent years and there will be more and more players looking to use their talent to earn scholarship money in the United States. At some point in the future, this trend may rival the men’s game, but that is not the case at this moment in time.

Because of the ease and popularity of the transfer portal, college coaches are spending more time re-recruiting their current student-athletes and trying to convince them NOT to enter the transfer portal. This takes time, effort and, in the case of Division I, money.

College showcases in general are less attended than in the past and college coaches have to pick and choose what to attend. Recruiting budgets are smaller than what you think and college coaches just don’t have enough time, energy or money to get to every event. College coaches attend events where they can see the most kids at a high level at the same time, this is why ECNL events are the most popular events in women’s college soccer recruiting. For a while GA was a close second, but to be honest, ECNL is pulling away in regards to its popularity, partially because the overall standard of play seems stronger from top to bottom in ECNL vs GA. But playing in these leagues isn’t always possible and can be quite expensive and it doesn’t guarantee recruitment by any means.


Like anything, there is risk/reward and it is important to determine if the ROI (Return on Investment) is worth it is important for you and your family. I don’t think you have to be in these leagues to get recruited and prospects in these leagues can often struggle to get recruited if they aren’t knowledgeable about the recruiting process and what school could be a good fit. That is where having an advocate, like TSA Recruiting, can help.

College Football impacts women’s soccer recruiting in significant ways. Because most college football program rosters are huge and take up a large part of college athletic budget resources (and scholarships). With Title IX, there is an emphasis on offering more women’s sports and to try to offer equal opportunities to participate in athletics for women. I have seen women’s college soccer rosters of 40+ players, even at some NCAA Division I schools. Keep in mind, this is not typically the case at Power 5 schools, more often at “mid-major” programs, where men’s programs at most NCAA Division I schools are limited to 26-28 members.


What this can mean is with a roster of 40? Not all those that are on rosters are even traveling to away games and it might even be hard to even get on the field during practice! Because of this, we see players possibly getting on rosters at NCAA Division I and II schools that may never make an impact. This can be good for a student-athlete who really wants a certain type of school, but it could be negative if that student-athlete never sees the field and they might just end up in the transfer portal if they get too frustrated. In the recruiting process, look at roster sizes and be cautious here.

Everyone seems to think they need to go to ID Camps to get recruited. Every college seems to have their own ID camp and there are a bunch of third party ID Camps out there. In some cases, camps are a necessary evil, especially if you want to go to a school far away from home where the coach can’t see you play in person, attending their camp or a camp they are at might help you get your foot in the door. and even if you do well at a camp, most likely a coach is going to want to see you play in person with your team at some point. I am not a huge fan of camps as I believe more times than not, camps are a money grab. If you do attend these camps, make sure they are hosted or attended by programs that are the right level for you and that you have REAL contact with the coach, not just an email invite and a few emails back and forth. I highly encourage you to try and connect with the coach on a phone call before committing to attend.


If you haven’t seen it before, here is a whole article about ID camps and even a camp worksheet to help you prioritize and rate ROI of camps. Simply put, don’t fall prey to the FOMO that you have to attend camps to get recruited and that they will help your cause.


College Soccer Recruiting has changed dramatically in the four years since I started TSA Recruiting. It is harder than ever to get recruited and find a great fit both on and off the field.

Dan Rothert, founder of TSA Recruiting, has helped almost 200 prospects and their families land opportunities at right fit colleges at all levels. Each prospect has different priorities in what they are looking for in a college and has different qualities that a coach may or may not be looking for. TSA Recruiting leverages Dan’s 24 years of college coaching experience and connections to help those they work with find great opportunities that fit their needs.


To learn more and setup a consult with Dan, click the button below.