Teesta Sisodia-Sullivan, May 18, 2021
Last night, Marshall University, the tenth ranked team defeated the 3rd-ranked Indiana Hoosiers to win the National Soccer Championship.
I was curious about the makeup of their team. I looked them up here. They have 23 foreign and 24 US players.
You can find a link to the roster here.
The US players are from the following states:
The foreign players are from the following countries:
Over the years, I have heard a lot of discussion regarding foreign players in US schools. I remember reading an article that discussed how foreign-trained players were better developed than their US counterparts and helped strengthen college programs. Marshall University roster indicates that 23 of its 47 players are foreign. Was this intentional? If so, it was certainly an excellent decision.
There are many benefits for foreign students who choose to obtain their college education here in the United States. Not only do we boast many excellent schools offering a variety of programs of study, but an Athletes ability may help them get a substantial scholarship for their education.
In many instances, foreign players may be granted full athletic scholarships. This allows them room, board, education and the chance to continue playing a sport they love.
This is a win-win for them. They go home with more training, possibly more game-time under their belt, with stronger bodies (big difference between an 18 yr old and a 22 yr old), the ability to try and join a league or club team in their home country. Even if they opt to not pursue a soccer career, they now have a college education.
Foreign players have to meet the same entrance requirements as US players. Both the NCAA Division I and Division II rules require that SAT and/or ACT scores be submitted.
Bear in mind that during the 2021-22 or 2022-23 academic years, standardized test scores ARE considered optional because of COVID.
There are a few US teams that seem to prefer limiting its team to US players. SMU and William and Mary are two examples of this. Our military schools are not permitted to have foreign players, so all Army, Navy, Air Force and West Point athletes are US students.
To properly know the impact of foreign players, we would need to track a good deal of data such as how many games did they start, how many did they win, did they reach the final four? Moving forward, it would be interesting to see how many, if any, of these players are invited to participate in the MLS combine and how many may be drafted into it?
According to the NCAA, on the men's side, 29% of college soccer players are foreign nationals. This is up from 24% from just five years ago. On the women's side, about 10% of the players are foreign. This number also seems to be rising. You can learn more about the numbers of student athletes by country and division by clicking here.
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