More Reasons Why the Transfer Portal has Made Recruiting So Challenging

I have talked before about the transfer portal and how it has made recruiting that much more complicated. However, most people think those that are transferring are doing so because they are unhappy at their current institution or want to go somewhere so they can get more playing time, etc. Although that is some of it, the recruiting world has experienced a lot of changes recently and I want to give you a few examples. These are just a few of the hundreds of examples of why the transfer portal has made this recruiting so challenging at all levels.


The transfer portal has become a one-stop shop for college coaches looking to fill roster spots, often with seasoned veterans that can make their team better. College coaches want players they know can compete right away and that are better than what they have currently on their roster. The transition from high school/club to college is hard and playing as a freshman is difficult at all levels. Now with the transfer portal, coaches can look to pick up players as a quick fix as they have already proven themselves at the college level. Here is a previous blog I wrote about the transfer portal and why it has changed recruiting for everyone.


The following are some current examples highlighting the challenges that come with the transfer portal in this current realm.

The following are some current examples highlighting the challenges that come with the transfer portal in this current realm.

1. The St Olaf men just won the NCAA Division III men’s title. They were fantastic and this does not surprise me. Arguably St Olaf’s three best players, all of whom are seniors, have entered the transfer portal. They have another year of eligibility. Due to the cancellation of the 2020 season, anyone that participated in college athletics that year earned an additional year of eligibility. St Olaf does not have any graduate programs, so these players can go and play somewhere and start a graduate degree. I am all for these guys using what the NCAA granted them, although it seems unfair for our current high school kids. I am confident these guys will all end up at NCAA Division I schools, taking some of the coveted roster spots from what would be true freshmen. These guys are that good. One is on the Costa Rican U23 national team, one is up for National Player of the Year in NCAA Division III and the third scored three goals and had an assist between the semifinals and championship. These are seasoned players with championship pedigrees that a lot of NCAA Division I coaches will take before an unproven freshman. They aren’t in the transfer portal because they are unhappy or think they should play more at their current situation, they are transferring because they can play another season and can’t do it at their current institution.

2. The College of St. Rose in Albany, NY, an NCAA Division II school, just announced it is closing. Unfortunately, we’ve seen the trend of 5-10 colleges the last couple years closing each year due to financial constraints. But get this, the soccer teams at St Rose were fantastic. The women just finished a 20-0-2 season and are perennially one of NCAA Division II’s best teams and the men’s team isn’t far behind and was very good too. This college closing means there are close to 40 men and 40 women from a great NCAA Division II program that will be going into the transfer portal, taking coveted roster spots at all levels.

3. In 2022, Johns Hopkins won the NCAA Division III National Championship and featured nine fifth-year seniors on their roster. Not all NCAA Division III colleges have graduate programs, but Hopkins, being one of the elite academic universities in the country, does. Of the nine fifth year seniors, four were undergraduate athletes at Johns Hopkins and five were women that transferred from NCAA Division I schools. They wanted to go to Hopkins for graduate school and could play soccer because they had another year. Doesn’t seem fair does it? So Hopkins was able to add five new, NCAA Division I players to their roster, which directly helped them win the title in 2022.

The good news is the fall transfer portal window closes soon, so after the first of the year, those programs getting transfers will have a better idea of their roster availability for the classes of 2024, 2025 and 2026. Keep in mind that there is another transfer portal window in April. The other good news is the extra year of eligibility due to COVID is done after next year. So for the class of 2025 and beyond, at least you won’t be competing against graduate transfers for roster spots.


So why do I tell you all of this? College soccer recruiting is challenging. Roster spots and opportunities at all are hard to come by. Knowing where you fit in the landscape and targeting appropriate opportunities is important and having advocates that coaches trust can truly move you to the front of the line.


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.