College Sport

Behind the Scenes: The Role of the College Agent in Facilitating Sport Scholarships

In recent years, the landscape of college recruitment and scholarships has undergone a significant transformation. What started as a niche service has now become a crucial support system for prospective and current student athletes.

College agent development: From niche service to essential support

In the past, student athletes and their families were left to navigate the complex and competitive world on their own. Limited resources, lack of connections and knowledge of the process often led to missed opportunities and frustration. NSSA was born in 2017 in the wake of this frustration. 

There were also a lot of college agencies before this – come on. However, as college sports as a whole have become more professionalized  as well as specific sports have seen great growth in the United States (football being the example), not only have new organizations like us emerged, but existing organizations have been forced to change. 

The first college agencies emerged because they recognized the need for expert guidance and support in the pursuit of a scholarship.
A trusted partner equipped with the knowledge, experience and network to help student athletes navigate the complex landscape.
This is still the case today.
Over time, however, the industry has evolved to meet the changing needs of not only the many student athletes, but also the colleges, universities and high schools that are crucial to having something to offer a client. They are the ones who bring the money.
The assessment of each client’s sporting level is more important than ever. Assessments, personalized college matching and college strategy. Negotiating with ourselves is one of the things we spend the most time on.
Technological advancements have accelerated the ability of college agencies to evaluate and promote clients, but have also increased the demands of colleges.
Video, data and statistics are increasingly in demand.

More international student athletes

In general, thethe percentage of international student athletes in the US is steadily increasing, as a result of colleges now being better able to assess an individual’s level regardless of geographical location or personal connections. Recruitment is active all over the world.

This increase is set to continue and college agencies will have a big part to play in facilitating this development.

Today, the industry is in a place where you, as an aspiring and potential student athlete, will find it very difficult to get a good scholarship offer if you haven’t partnered with an agency that can facilitate the dialog and promote your profile to the right colleges and universities. That’s where the evolution has come from and that’s why we have our raison d’être.

What does a college agent actually do?

While the dream of becoming a successful student athlete is appealing, the process can seem overwhelming. This is where a college agent enters the picture.
But what does the role of a college agent actually entail?
Here, we dive into the key elements that make up the support a college agent offers – from personal consultations to athletic evaluations – and how they help shape your path to a future as a student athlete in the US.

Personal consultations

We offer 1:1 conversations with interested young people and have a dialog about dreams, hopes and goals. Understanding the motivation behind the stay and the person behind the athlete is paramount to creating a great college experience

Academic evaluations

Early in the process, we assess the client’s academic abilities and opportunities. There are varying academic requirements for playing collegiate sports in different federations; the academic evaluation therefore forms the basis for the type of university to which you can be admitted.
There are 3 different associations. You can read more about them here.

Athletic evaluations

We carefully evaluate the client’s athletic level and potential. This involves a thorough analysis of matches and events, both by being present in person and through video recordings. We also delve into sports history and statistics to get a holistic picture of the client’s performance.

As an example, we hold a 100-meter swim time against NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA standards. We do the same with a runner. Or a thrower.

Whether it’s in soccer, swimming or Track & Field, the level of athleticism is crucial to the opportunities that can arise in the US. This can affect which universities show interest, as well as what financial and academic offers can be made available.

It’s important to understand that the athletic aspect plays a key role in the college system. The system is designed to promote and reward sporting ability and performance, which can open doors to sporting challenges, financial support and academic opportunities.

College matching

A big part of our job is knowing the landscape and maintaining in-depth knowledge of the athletic situation at the many colleges and universities in the NCAA, NJCAA and NAIA. What kind of football do they play? What ambitions do they have for their swim team? How have their athletics teams done historically?
How is the academic offering?
These are just some of the questions we need to answer to be able to match our clients with the right colleges and universities.


This point primarily refers to sports such as football, tennis or basketball where the eye test is crucial for college coaches’ ability to assess the athletic level of the client in question. We therefore help clients collect video (we lend VEO cameras to clients) and set up highlight videos that showcase their skills in the best possible way.


Once all preliminary work is completed, we have a finalized college profile of our client.
We promote this profile to selected colleges and universities in our network.
In some cases, we start broad and in others, we know exactly which ones might be a match for our client.
We actively market the client, have a dialog with the college coaches about themselves and facilitate the contact between them and our client.

Scholarship negotiations

One of the most important areas of work for a college agent is negotiating the size and length of scholarships. A scholarship varies in size and can cover anything between 10,000 kr. annually to 500,000 annually.
In other words, these are large sums of money that colleges are willing to award to the right student athlete.
Therefore, they also need to be confident in their decision. They have X amount of money to spend in an annual budget to be distributed across a squad. They save where they can.
Our job is to provide the best financial package within the academic and sporting framework that we have set out with the client and their backers.

NCAA Compliance

We guide our clients through the important eligibility process; a process that ensures that you maintain all the requirements to participate in collegiate sports as an international student in the US.
This includes the verification of relevant school documents as well as proof of amateur sporting status.

Support throughout the college journey

Providing support and being someone you can call for advice has always been a big priority for us here at NSSA. We’ve been there and know what considerations you go through as a student athlete. These considerations often require someone who knows the system inside out.
A large part of our daily life is therefore spent in dialog with current clients who are in the US.
The goal has always been to collect relationships; not clients.

Networking, college transfers and the professional dream

In addition to providing support throughout the journey, we also facilitate some of the opportunities that come with being a student athlete in the US.
2 times a year we help our existing clients with internal college transfers. Especially when you’re a student athlete, it’s normal to switch between colleges during your 4-year college career. This could be because you have delivered sporting achievements that justify a higher level.
In addition, various tournaments are held throughout the summer where student athletes and other skilled players periodically join a team and showcase themselves to MLS and USL Championship teams.
Whether in Europe or in the US, we also wholeheartedly support our clients’ professional dreams and try to leverage our networks in Denmark and the US to their advantage.
Last year, our client Peter Swinkels signed a professional contract with One Knoxville SC from USL 1.
During the same period, Søren Ilsøe got a trial with the New York Red Bulls from MLS and is now a regular for AB in the 2nd Division after great stays at Northeastern University and the University of Connecticut.
We strongly believe that there will be many more of these stories to come.

Understand the 4 stages of College: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior

Starting a university education as a Student Athlete is an exciting and challenging journey. Not only do you have the opportunity to pursue higher education, but you also have the privilege of participating in college sports. However, navigating the college experience can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to understanding the different terms associated with each year. In this article, we go through the different stages of a university education for student athletes, from first to final year, so you can understand what each year entails and how it affects your academic and sporting activities.

Freshman Year: A new beginning

Year 1

As a freshman, you enter campus with a sense of anticipation and enthusiasm. It is a time of adjustment, both academically and athletically. You will attend introductory courses, build up a routine and get to know your teammates and coaches. The first year of college lays the foundation for your college career, as you adapt to the demands of balancing sport and study.

When you arrive in the US as a student athlete, you are not far from the traditional media day where the first pictures of you in your new gear are taken.

Sophomore Year: Building Momentum.

Year 2

By the time you are in your second year, you are more familiar with college life and have found a rhythm. You continue to take majors while delving deeper into your field of study. On the sporting front, you have gained experience and may even contribute greatly to your team. The second year is a crucial time for growth and development, both academically and athletically.

Junior Year: You dig deeper.

Year 3

The junior year is often considered to be the most challenging and crucial year academically. You will delve deeper into your field of study, explore specialized subjects and maybe even do some research. As a student athlete, you are in full swing with your sport and have built up momentum. You take on leadership roles and have a big impact on your team. The junior year is a time of increased responsibility and preparation for what lies ahead.

During your time as a student athlete, you might even be lucky enough to win an individual award, academic recognition or even a championship!

Senior Year: The culmination.

Year 4

Your senior year is the culmination of your college journey. You will complete your major, perhaps participate in internships or research projects, and prepare for your postgraduate plans. As a senior athlete, it’s your last year of college sports. You will cherish your last moments on the pitch and hopefully leave a lasting impression on your team. It is a time for reflection, celebration and preparation to move on to the next phase of your life.

Embrace the whole journey!

While the terms freshman, sophomore, junior and senior describe the individual stages, it is important to recognize that college education for student athletes is about more than just years. It is a holistic experience that encompasses personal growth, character development and lifelong connections. Embrace the entire journey, believing that each stage contributes to your overall development as a student athlete and prepares you for success after college.

As a student athlete, it is important to understand the different phases of a university education in order to effectively navigate your academic and athletic endeavors. From the exciting first year as a freshman to the culmination of senior year, each phase offers unique opportunities and challenges. By taking the whole journey with you, you will make the most of your college experience and forge a path to academic excellence and sporting achievement. We are here to support you every step of the way and ensure that you thrive throughout your life as a student athlete.

Remember that your college education is not only defined by these terms. It is a transformative experience that includes personal development, close friendships and valuable life lessons. Embrace the journey, seize every opportunity and make your mark on the experience.

College and High School Age in the US: An Overview

For those unfamiliar with the US education system, understanding the age requirements for high school and college in the US can be a little confusing.
The American education system is slightly different from that in Scandinavia.
Below we provide a brief overview of how age is related to high school and college in the United States.

Age at High School

High School is the American equivalent of college and is typically for students aged 14-18. The program has a duration of 4 years and during these years you go from being a freshman to a senior.
Here’s an overview of the typical ages for each grade level:

Class English designation Age
Freshman 1st grade (1.G) 14-15
Sophomore 2nd grade (2.G) 15-16
Junior 3rd grade (3.G) 16-17
Senior 4th grade (4.G) 17-18

Age at College

In the United States, the words ‘college’ and ‘university’ are often used interchangeably and in many cases the two terms are synonymous. But there are some nuances between them, which may vary from institution to institution. Generally speaking, ‘college’ often refers to a smaller institution offering undergraduate degrees, while ‘university’ is usually larger and offers undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees. However, some institutions also use “college” as part of their name, even if they are universities. Therefore, it can sometimes be confusing to distinguish between the two concepts in the US context.

College offers higher education for students after high school.
The typical age of a college student varies depending on circumstances and you don’t have to start at 18.
Here’s an overview of the typical ages of students at different levels of education:

Education and training age
Associate’s Degree (Junior College) (2 years) 18-20
Bachelor’s Degree (4 years) 18-22
Master’s Degree (2 years) 22-24
Ph.D. (doctoral degree) 27-33

Age For Student Athletes

If you are interested in playing sports in high school or college in the US, age may play a different role. To participate in high school or college sports, you must meet specific age requirements.

In high school, age requirements are usually quite flexible, as students are still under 18 years old. However, if you want to take part in sports at high school, you usually need to be between 14-19 years old.

The rules regarding Being able to play sport in college depends mainly on when you graduated from high school or equivalent – rather than your age. We elaborate on this in an article on sporting eligibility.
The typical age of a college athlete is between 18-23 years.

NSSA X FANT: Fatmata goes from Sierra Leone to the USA on a Sport Scholarship

At a time when politics is taking center stage during the World Cup in Qatar, we would like to highlight a story in NSSA that is a great example of how soccer can be used to improve future opportunities and happiness. Here’s a little story about our adventure to Sierra Leone last year.

Kroo Bay; Poverty and a love for soccer

Here, where the African dirt road bends into a bay, towards the busy center of Freetown, a drain runs. Where pigs swim around in knee-high pools of sewage, while women wash clothes a few meters away. In the area around the drain, 17,000 people are crammed into small houses built on top of piles of rubbish.
The slum area is called Kroo Bay; notorious for being burdened by extreme poverty and high crime rates.

In the middle of the jumble, you’ll find a large gravel field where all the neighborhood boys and girls gather around soccer. Here you see Fatmata, or Didisatu Turay as she is also known, in her usual surroundings with a ball tightly glued to her foot and a big smile on her face.

Soccer as a ticket to getting an education.

In September 2021, NSSA and FANT – For a new tomorrow came together in Sierra Leone for a meaningful purpose. A mission to help a young person from Sierra Leone to a brighter future by providing an education in the US with soccer as a driving force.

For 10 days, we traveled around Sierra Leone and got to know a lot of young players. We held training sessions in 8 different ‘clubs’, held workshops for both local coaches and players, and were eventually able to select some of the young people who, both academically and athletically, would qualify as potential Student Athletes at a University in the US.

The whole idea was that we could show the young people of Freetown how sport can be a catalyst for valuable education and a brighter future. To understand the importance of education and become aware that access can be achieved through hard work on the field.
If we could help just one young person go, it would move mountains for the other local people’s belief in this opportunity and this path.

A new life in the USA.

And mission accomplished!
With pride, we are proud to announce that Fatmata has achieved a four-year long education in the US without having to pay a penny. Food, housing, books and education costs are paid for through the scholarship she has received.

She will be found running around the fine turf fields of Charleston, South Carolina, dressed in bright blue from head to toe. Here she represents The Citadel University in the top women’s college ranks.

Didi has an exciting year ahead and is in good hands at The Citadel. She has been welcomed by the university, her coach and fellow students. Didi has already experienced Washington DC, been to the beach in Florida and many other exciting experiences on away trips.
We are so thrilled that we succeeded and that this opportunity was created.
Thanks to

FANT – Football For A New Tomorrow

for a great collaboration – we look forward to repeating the success in the future.

Preseason in College

Preseason is a great way to start your college career in the US. At least as long as you are prepared for what lies ahead, both physically and mentally. After the summer vacation, the preseason starts in full power at the beginning of August andthere’s no need to sugarcoat it; Preseason is HARD and it’s physically demanding on many levels. On the other hand, it is also super cool and stimulating. We take you through it all below.

Briefly about the preseason

Preseason usually begins in early August and continues for 3-4 weeks – depending on when school starts at your college.
You often arrive for preseason 2-3 days before the actual training starts. This gives you the opportunity to settle into the school, get to know your new classmates and generally experience the area where the school is located. The first few days of preseason are filled with practical meetings with the coaching staff, hearing about the coaches’ expectations for the season and how the team will achieve the goals that have been set. In addition, you can expect some social events where you can bond as a team and get to know your new teammates better. The great thing about the team culture at College is that the older members of the team see it as a big part of their role to make sure that the new players on the team settle in as quickly as possible and generally feel welcome. They have been in the same situation as the younger ones.

Hype video from the start of the football team’s preseason at Fairfield University in Connecticut.

The first days of the preseason

Once the first few days of familiarization are over, the training begins for real!
You are given all your equipment and this is where you really feel like a college athlete for the first time.
The first days of training often start with tests where you are measured on different physical parameters; it could be your acceleration, your agility or your strength level.
The coaches use the results to assess your current condition and adjust the amount of training during Preseason accordingly

Jog & Stretch
6:50 - 7:10

Each morning starts with a short jog of about one kilometer, followed by a joint stretching session to get the worst of the lactic acid out of your legs. Most of the time you will be wearing full training gear with the school logo all day

Shared breakfast
7:20 - 7:50

The whole team has breakfast together, which is required. During the pre-season, it is incredibly important that you get enough nutrition – there is a big focus on this. During this period, you train so much that you can hardly eat too much. As it is often significantly warmer in the US than what you are used to in Scandinavia – while at the same time exercising a lot, hydration is of course also crucial.

Changing and preparing for training sessions
8:00 - 8:55

After breakfast, you often have an hour to get ready for your workout. Sometimes you need to be weighed first, to make sure there is not a big fluctuation in your weight. Afterwards, you have a quick conversation with the team’s physiotherapist about how your body has adapted to the intense amount of training and if there is anything you need to look at together. After that, it’s very normal to spend some time stretching, doing stability exercises, or maybe getting a massage.

First training session
9:00 - 11:00

The first training session is of course different from school to school in relation to which focus areas the trainers want to hit. One thing you can certainly expect is that the training is well organized. There is a focused intensity which naturally increases the competition. Something you always get in environments where there is a professional set-up. As freshmen, you’ll use these sessions to showcase yourself as a player. There’s no need to be nervous if you don’t feel like you’re playing at your best right from the start. The coaches are well aware that it often takes some time to settle in and get used to the new culture and style of play.

11:05 - 11:50

After training, it is often mandatory for the whole team to unwind, stretch, and at least take an ice bath. When you’re done with this, there’s often a protein bar and some sort of Gatorade waiting for you, so you can get something in your stomach straight after your workout. If you have a muscle injury or something else that bothers you, you do the exercises given to you by the team’s physiotherapist.

12:00 - 12:45

Right after you’ve showered and changed into a new set of workout clothes, lunch is ready. You’ve probably built up a good appetite from training and since you burn so many calories in preseason, you can hardly eat too much.

13:00 - 14:20

This free space is used to relax, many people use the time to either take a nap or watch some Netflix series. Often there are also people in the team who sit around drinking coffee and playing cards. This time is your own time and should be used for whatever you want to do to get ready for the next training session.

Former pro club player and NSSA client, Alexander Hjælmhof in action for San Diego State University!
Changing and preparing for training sessions
14:30 - 15:25

After a nap or whatever you came up with, you have to get ready for the second training session. Just like before the first training session, you will go through the same procedure with your physiotherapist, where you will be checked for any injuries or strains.

Second training session
15:30 - 17:00

Training sessions. As mentioned, the type of training you have to go through at each school is very different. However, you can expect the second session to be followed by thorough stretching and ice baths. There is a real focus in the preseason to take care of the body between training sessions. Since your body is being pushed to the limit, this means going through countless stretches, ice baths, and hours of lying with your legs against the wall to increase blood circulation.

17:00 - 17:30

Just like after the first training session, it’s very normal for all players to have some exercises to go through. Even if you don’t feel injured, there are exercises you can always do to prevent any strains or overuse injuries that the team is very aware of.

17:35 - 18:30

Dinner. Eat, eat, eat. You burn so many calories due to the amount of exercise, but also due to the high humidity and heat that you can hardly eat or drink enough. Something that the coaches definitely remind you of at every meal. You can probably be prepared for the fact that as a first-year student you will have to go through a little ritual at dinner. It can be either a dance or a quick song.

Evening hygge (bedtime calls)
19:00 - 23:00

Fun with the team Here, the older members of the team will make sure you all have a good time. There are probably some who play PlayStation, some who just want to relax with a Netflix series, some who enjoy card games. Often, everyone in the team is so tired after a day of training that there’s not much else to do than a bit of fun and the best sleep you could imagine.

Preseason at Quinnipiac University where both Ramesh Delsouz and Alexander Stjernegaard play and study.

The goal of the preseason in the US.

This daily schedule is repeated most days. Of course, the coaches keep an eye on the group and if there is a need for a recovery session in between, it will be scheduled.
In addition, the older members of the team make sure that you do things together in the evening such as going out to eat, BBQ, bowling, going to the movies and many other social things that do not require too much effort.

The regular students only move in once the preseason for all athletes is over. Therefore, you also have time to settle in before the school is full of people.
Of course, the goal of the preseason is not to completely destroy you, but rather for you to get to know each other as people and players while getting in shape. Preseason is a great way to start your college experience because by the time you’re done with preseason, you’re already part of the team community.
You know where everything is in the school and you quickly get used to the American culture.
After this, the academic semester starts, which is where the full college experience begins. The perfect combination of sports and studies.

You can read about the everyday life in College for a Student Athlete right here.Or maybe a little about how college soccer works?
Feel free to contact us if you are thinking about a stay in College – or if you just have questions or want to have a chat about scholarships, sports and the US.

What is Junior College?

When we talk about college in the US, Junior College is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. Especially here in Scandinavia, not everyone knows about it.
The fact is, however, that it’s a great opportunity to take an alternative route on the road to the best sporting college programs in the US.

About Junior College in brief

Junior College (also known as Community College) is a 2-year program where students earn an Associate Degree and compete athletically in the NJCAA.
After these 2 years, you can transfer to a College in
where the last 2 years of the Bachelor program will be completed.
Confused about the federations? Read about the 3 associations and how Collegesport works here.

What is an associate degree?

An Associate Degree is the first half of a Bachelor’s degree in the United States. This is divided into 2 different aspects; core subjects and electives.
Core subjects are compulsory and include, for example, Mathematics, English and Social Studies. Electives are specific subjects that you choose in collaboration with a counselor who will help you with your studies. the direction you want to take with your education. For example, if you want to study Business, you will probably be pushed towards electives such as Economics, Finance or Marketing.

An Associate Degree is not directly comparable to anything in the European education system, but is effectively equivalent to last year of high school + 1st year of a Bachelor’s degree.
After you have completed your Associate Degree, you will move on to a University where you can complete the last 2 years of your Bachelor’s degree.

Why should I go to Junior College?

There are 2 main reasons why you should go to Junior College.
First of all, if your grades (your academic results) do not qualify you to go directly to a 4-year university. Junior Colleges have lower academic requirements for admission and therefore can be a perfect option for the person who did not get the exam results they expected, hoped or wished for.

In addition, Junior College is also a great opportunity for those athletes who have potential for a major
Division 1 college, but who may not currently have the results or athletic resume to get a financial offer that makes sense – yet.
Here, Junior College is a program tailored to development and the opportunity to prove yourself.
Coaches from major colleges and universities recruit international athletes directly from Junior College, as these athletes have already proven that they are capable of living away from home and performing both athletically and academically.
Of the many athletes we have worked with in the NSSA, the athletes with the most lucrative contracts, the greatest development and the best trajectory are often those who have chosen to start their journey at Junior College.

Our client, Rune Petersen who took 2 years of Junior College at West Valley College and is now studying at Grand View University in NAIA on a great Scholarship.

What else are the benefits of Junior College?

At the Junior College, the campus and individual classes are a lot smaller. It creates a closer community – often perfect for those who have not lived away from home before.
For those athletes who have a smaller budget, the Junior College would also be ideal.
As mentioned before, great performance while in Junior College will also open up greater Scholarship opportunities than if you went straight into a 4-year program.

Possibility of state aid.

Besides the fact that there are plenty of Scholarships at the Junior College, you can also apply for state aid for the entire period you are over there. This cannot be guaranteed in all Junior Colleges, but it is an option that should always be explored. This can make living costs very affordable. Ask us if it is.

What about the level and facilities at the Junior College?

Just because Junior College is not a 4-year program does not mean that the level or facilities are inferior.
There are a lot of top athletes running around the Junior College and the facilities are accordingly.
Check out a tour of the soccer facilities at Iowa Western Community College here:

How to choose the right College and Sports Programme – for you!

You are a young person considering College Sport but don’t quite know where to start?

Choosing the right college and sports program can feel overwhelming.
In this article, we’ll go through the different factors to consider when choosing the perfect college and sports program for you. From researching the sports program to understanding the financial considerations, we give you all the tips and tricks to make the best decision for your future.

Consider your academic goals.

One of the most important things to consider is how well the given college or university fits your academic goals and dreams.
Many of the athletes we work with – and many young athletes in general – are primarily sporting in their pursuit of a Scholarship in the US. That’s perfectly fine and we understand that. The beauty of college in the US, however, is that it allows you to focus on BOTH sports and academics.
Therefore, it is essential that you think about the educational path you want to take. What do you find exciting? What are you good at? What do you want to improve? What could you see yourself working on in the future?
Once you have answered some of these questions, it is easier to consider whether the potential college has the educational orientation and academic level you are looking for.
There is a big academic difference between Stanford University and Harvey Mudd College, for example. You will have to bring that into your considerations.

Drone image of the traditional campus of Colgate University in New York

Examine the sporting program.

Several factors come into play when assessing the athletic program at a college or university. It is a good idea to research the team’s history.Performance fluctuates a lot in the college world and a good team in 2022 is not necessarily a good team in 2023 – however, this doesn’t change the fact that the team’s history and past results are an indicator of quality and ambition.
The current level of sporting activity is also essential to examine. Games and other events are often streamed and shown on TV, so there will be plenty of opportunities to find video you can watch of your potential college team on e.g. YouTube.
At the same time, it is also a good idea to check out the sporting facilities. Facilities in the US are generally of a high standard and you can easily find short tours on their website and social channels.
Getting to know the coaching team is one of the most important things to do before deciding on a college.
In our college process one of the most important elements is the coach appraisal. Here you will talk to interested coaches who have seen your highlights and will tell you about their program and get to know you as a person.

Lynn Stadium for a football match at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

Consider the location of the school.

Location can have a big impact on your college experience. That’s just the way it is.
There are colleges in big cities like New York, Chicago or Houston and there are colleges in smaller, local towns like Clemson, St. Charles and Newark. If you like tens of thousands of fellow students and big city life or a closer social environment and a more local community, there is an option for you.
In addition, weather varies from state to state, so if you have a preference for warm weather, this should be taken into consideration as well!

Explore the atmosphere on campus and watch videos from there.

It is important to get a feel for the atmosphere of your future college.
As a potential Student Athlete, it is also important to see the facilities and resources available to you. We have already discussed this map.
Check the school website, social media and search YouTube for videos of the campus and its facilities. Everything from the sporting facilities, canteen facilities, classrooms, the atmosphere and the surrounding city is relevant.
When, during the College processcoach interviews, the coaches will often send you video material to give you an insight into the campus of the given College. They know it’s important to you.

Stadium facilities at the University of Oregon.

Financial overview (scholarships, prices, etc.)

The whole financial aspect of college admission is inevitable and very important.
First of all, Scholarships are available with all of the sporting federations we work with(Read more about the 3 sporting federations in the US here).
The financial amount of the given Scholarship depends of course on your sporting and academic level ( read more about how scholarships workhere)
In addition, prices at the different colleges vary widely. Harvard University is a significantly more expensive institution than e.g. University of Memphis.
In practice, this means that the price of a given college has a big impact on how much money you will actually have to pay out of your pocket once your Scholarship is deducted.
An example of the construction of an official Scholarship offercan be seen below:

Expense Amount Scholarship Out-of-Pocket Cost
Tuition fees $20.000 $15.000 $5.000
Room And Board $10.000 $8.000 $2.000
Books and Supplies $1.000 $800 $200
Travel (e.g. for games and competitions) $3.000 $2.500 $500
Meal Plan $5.000 $4.500 $500
Personal expenses $2.000 $1.800 $200
Total Cost of Attendence $41.000 $32.500 $8.500

Focus on yourself!

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when applying for a Scholarship is to compare yourself (too much) with others. We know it’s natural – we did it ourselves when we were going to the US.
“What has the person who played at the same level as me been offered?”
The offer you receive is the result of many variables and careful consideration by the College that makes the offer.
Your education and academic level, your sporting level and history, your physical constitution, the timing of your arrival, your age, demand and much, much more have an impact.
The best advice: Focus on yourself and what you can change, optimize and develop.

We have also written about 5 tips to maximize your scholarship opportunitiesor about everyday life in College for a Student Athleteif you found this interesting.

How does college football work in the US?

Football, or soccer as it’s known in the US, is a worldwide sport that connects people from all corners of the globe. But when we talk about soccer in the US, we open the door to a unique world of sport and education that is very different from European soccer.
While the sport in Europe often revolves around clubs and national leagues with promotion and relegation, the US has its own way of playing this beloved sport: through college football.

A fixed divisional structure

The most notable difference between European football and American college football is the divisional structure. While European clubs can rise or fall in leagues based on their performance, college soccer teams in the US stay in the same division no matter how the season goes.

NCAA Division 1: The highest level

NCAA Division 1 is the highest level of college football and includes some of the largest, most well-known and competitive universities in the country.
Think of teams like Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson. Known for attracting the best high school players and the most promising international players, this level is known for its intense competition.

There is a lot of attention from the professional leagues in the US and many of the best Division 1 players go on to professional soccer careers after college. Either in American leagues like MLS or NWSL or in Europe.

Nathan Opuku who in January 2023 switched Syracuse University in NCAA Division 1 with championship club Leicester City.

NCAA Division 2: Great competition and high level

NCAA Division 2 also offers a high level of football and is home to several renowned universities such as Bentley University, Florida Southern College and
Cal Poly Pomona
. The best teams in Division 2 can often compete on par with or even surpass the average team in Division 1.

The key sporting difference between Division 1 and 2 is usually the athlete’s physical performance. In Division 1 – and in the US in general – there is a strong emphasis on physicality and athletic skills. Often it is these athletic attributes that determine whether an athlete ends up in Division 1 or Division 2.

NCAA Division 3: The well-rounded experience

NCAA Division 3 presents a more balanced experience, with the academic component carrying more weight than the athletic. Student athletes need to be able to manage their time effectively, as the sports component is not as prioritized as in Division 1 and 2.

In Division 3, colleges don’t usually offer athletic scholarships, meaning students often have to cover the costs themselves. This can make training more expensive for the individual.

We have not placed players in Division 3 so far.

NAIA: Private universities at a high level

The NAIA also offers a high level of football and is home to several renowned universities such as Keiser University, University of Northwestern Ohio and Lindsey Wilson College.
However, in the NAIA, the sporting disparity between top and bottom is more variable than in both NCAA Division 1 and 2.

However, the main difference between NAIA and NCAA universities lies in the size of the institutions and whether they are public or private. The NAIA is primarily home to private universities and also has more lenient academic requirements than the NCAA.
That said, in the NAIA you can play at a high level, get a quality education and receive scholarships just like you can in the NCAA.

NJCAA: The alternative route to the best universities

NJCAA organizes and facilitates sports at
junior colleges
in the United States. A Junior College program lasts 2 years and if a student shows outstanding performance both athletically and academically, they can transfer to a 4-year university in the NCAA or NAIA to complete their bachelor’s degree. This route is ideal for those who did not initially meet the admission requirements of a 4-year college or university.
Junior colleges are affordable and offer generous academic and athletic scholarships, while colleges and universities keep a close eye on the talented student athletes in the NJCAA.
Many of our clients have started with NJCAA scholarships and their performance has led to offers from NCAA Division 1 colleges.

Oliver Hald who started in the NJCAA at Muskegon College and now plays in NCAA Division 1 for Southern Methodist University .

Game structure

The college football season includes both conference and championship games.
The most competitive teams compete in national championship games, while others focus on winning their conference.

What is a conference?

In college football, a “conference” refers to a group of colleges and universities that compete in football and other sports against each other. These conferences are typically regional and consist of member institutions located in the same geographic area of the US.

Some of the major college football conferences in the US include the Southeastern Conference (SEC), Big Ten Conference, Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12), Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Big 12 Conference. Each conference has its own unique history, traditions and rivalries.

The recruitment system

In the US, the college football recruiting system is a complex and highly regulated system that connects talented young players with university programs. Here are some key aspects of this system:

Performance in high school

The recruitment process often begins for players in their high school/secondary school years.
Scouts and college coaches monitor high school games, club games and tournaments to identify promising talent and potential student athletes, across national borders.

Scholarships and offers

Coaches can offer scholarships to promising players. These scholarships can include partial or full coverage of tuition and other costs. Scholarships are primarily based on the player’s performance on the field and in the classroom. 

In the US, this is a huge deal, as in many cases a scholarship will be the main reason why an individual student can afford to go to university. 

The battle for talent

Since there is a limited amount of scholarships available, college teams compete for the best talent. Competition between universities is intense and each year is a race against time to fill your team with talented players. 
This competition exists not only nationally, but certainly internationally as well. 

Through recruitment agencies like us at NSSA, universities can also strengthen their teams with international players from around the world. 
More and more international players are being recruited to college football in the US and this has led to increased competition. Both in recruitment as well as in the game on the field, which is constantly evolving. 

Previously FC. North Zealand U19 player, Jonas Lyshøj in action for Monmouth College.

Rules and regulations

One of the myths often discussed in relation to American football (soccer) versus European football is the difference in rules. There is a common perception that the rules are significantly different. However, this is no longer the case, although historically there have been some differences.

The best example is the former rule of the so-called “American penalty kick,” where the player had a limited amount of time to take the penalty kick on the run.
These rules have been changed and college soccer in the US follows the regular FIFA rules for the game of soccer.

Football culture and fans

In the US, sport is more than just sport; it’s part of the culture. Athletes and players represent their universities, and locals feel a strong connection to their school.

Fellow students across the many sports support the university teams fiercely and loyally. Whether it’s a basketball game or a football match, these are often school-wide events.
Football (soccer) has not yet reached the popularity level of American football games, where 100,000 spectators are not uncommon.
However, UCSB holds the the attendance record of 15,896 spectators for the rivalry game between UCSB and Cal Poly Pomona.

Lynn Stadium - University of Louisville's football stadium.

What is the best option for me?

Although most start out with the idea that NCAA Division I is the ultimate goal, it ultimately comes down to what experience suits the individual and a clear answer to the question can rarely be given.

The most important thing is to find a college that suits you. If you do well, it is always possible to request a transfer to a higher level. This will always be an option if you have proven yourself during your stay and often larger scholarships are given to international students who have proven themselves at college in the US, as opposed to if they had played at club level in Europe.

The good news is that with 3 NCAA divisions, NAIA and NJCAA are options for any potential Student Athlete.

5 tips to maximize your Scholarship opportunities

A Scholarship is an exciting opportunity for many young athletes. Combining higher education with elite sport is not an option in many places; in college in the USA it is part of the culture. However, the biggest obstacle is often not knowing where and how to start if you want to go. It can be difficult to know who – if anyone – to work with to get the help you need. What is required of you and how soon should you be out exploring your options?

Here are 5 simple tips on how to maximize your chances of getting the best Scholarship offer in the USA

1. Those who start early often have the most opportunities

Start the preparatory work, your research and ideally the whole process as early as it makes sense for you. First and foremost, it’s important to think it through, but then it’s just as important to go for it – don’t put it off for too long.
We recommend starting the

the process

– possibly take the first meeting with an agency like us. anything between 10 and 24 months before you would actually travel to the USA. So if you graduate from high school (or similar) in summer 2022, it would be ideal to start everything from summer 2020 to the end of 2021.
This does not mean that you are too late if you start the process afterwards – not at all. But getting off to a good early start is a big advantage, as college coaches will usually have a larger Scholarship budget available. As a result, you will inevitably be considered by more coaches and colleges than late starters.

Besides, starting early can give you more time to work through the smaller things that need to be taken care of when going to college in the US. It may be
various small tests
, translations of important documents,
and a lot of other things.

2. Seek help and guidance from experts

The whole college recruitment process is quite convoluted and we can’t recommend this part enough. There are often several unexpected and confusing bumps in the road and having the right advice and guidance is crucial.
This should first and foremost help you segment and select colleges that fit your needs and situation – academically and athletically.

Furthermore, it should help you make the right decision and then continue by helping you navigate the various administrative issues involved in being an international student athlete in college in the United States.

Ideally, it is also important to be able to stay in contact with them once you have landed in the US, as there may also be a need for assistance and sparring – both for yourself, but perhaps also your parents.

Our client, Mikkel Gøling getting on top of a header in a match for Young Harris.

3. Find the right agency - for you!

Getting help from experts is essential. Even more essential is to get help from the right experts and an agency that suits you. It is a personal choice, nothing is right or wrong.
Most importantly… Whatever Scholarship Agency you choose, it is focused on creating a personalized and tailor-made process for you.
There are many good agencies, but also some less good ones. Big agencies that have been in the game for many years will often have a larger staff, a bigger network and a wider following, but you can quickly become ‘just another number in the line’ if you’re not careful.

4. Be proactive

The search for a good Scholarship is a competitive game – being proactive can give you a big advantage! Having video of yourself, maybe even finding your own highlights or records, obtaining official school documents or registering yourself for any tests required are things you can basically do very early on. The faster and better these things are done, the faster you can be promoted to colleges, universities and their staff.

For example – as soon as you start having contact with college coaches, it’s never a bad idea to be proactive and seem invested in the contact. Agencies like us will of course also help you navigate this. But there will always be many options for college coaches and if the process for an individual athlete or player becomes too long, they can quickly start looking elsewhere.

5. Trust the process

Keeping the faith that you will eventually receive the right Scholarship offer is very important!
The good agencies will talk you through what you can expect in terms of process and realistic options. It is important that expectations are fully aligned, as trust in the process is critical for a good offer and solution.

REMEMBER:It is YOUR talent and YOUR academic level that will ultimately get you the good offers. The various Scholarship agencies – like us – are ‘just’ organizations that highlight the talent and level, facilitate the contact and maximize your opportunities.
You can read more abouthow a Scholarship worksand what it requireshere on our blog.
If you are now, or have ever thought about going to college, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

Am I good enough for a Scholarship?

One of the questions we get asked most often in the NSSA.
Getting a Scholarship
in the US can be a competitive process. You’re not just competing with people from your own country in your sport, but with athletes from all over the world… So when are you good enough?

The short answer is that in all likelihood you are definitely good enough. A Scholarships requires a certain level of skill, of course, but you don’t have to be the next Christian Eriksen, Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan to be considered among the many colleges in the US.
The level of athleticism among colleges and universities varies across the associations – NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA – who organize College sports in the US. The US is a large country with a huge variety of colleges in the east and west. Since these colleges vary in sporting and academic level, there will most likely be a college that suits you and your profile.

Lynn Stadium - the football team's home field at the University of Maryland where we have Luca Costabile in the team.

What factors influence whether I can get a sports scholarship?

There are many different factors that coaches consider when offering scholarships.

College coaches will not only look at your athletic or sporting level, but also your academic performance, work ethic and character.
When we talk about sports scholarships, your sporting level is a priority and a major focus. Your skills, results and experience on a football pitch will be the most important of the various parameters on which schools assess you. It could be your ticket to a fantastic – and paid – education where elite sport is an integral part of the whole experience.

However, if a college coach is interested in a handful of players who are at the same level, personality, core values and school level will determine who is chosen. Colleges in the US look for the whole package when awarding sports scholarships; the sporting, the academic as well as the personal. Having a high sporting level can therefore carry you a long way towards a Scholarship, but not necessarily all the way in all cases.

Our client, Daniella Diaz in action for Florida Atlantic University

What is the level of college in the US?

NSSA, we have successfully assisted both league players, division players as well as youth national team players to get scholarships in the US. The level of college football fluctuates from year to year and an unimpressive team can quickly become one of the best in the country before you know it.

With the good football education that Scandinavia provides and a level that in the US spans a wide range across the different federations, there are good opportunities for many. However, it can still be confusing to compare your own abilities with the different levels in college.

If you have any doubts about your footballing level in relation to opportunities in the US, here are a few tips you might find useful:

1. Watch matches from College in the US.

Find and watch highlights or full college matches and assess whether your own level can match – or even surpass – what you see. There are many games and teams to choose from, but watching a few different games from the different college leagues (NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA) can give you a good indication

2. Reach out to someone who is or has been a college student athlete in the US.

If you are well versed in your sport, you are sure to find a current or former student-athlete from your own country who has experienced it first-hand. It is said that the entire college system in the US has to be experienced before it is truly understood. If someone with experience can give you a few tips and advice, you are sure to learn a lot more.

3. Reach out to different colleges and universities.

It can be both difficult and confusing, but one way in whichThe best way to learn more about your college options is to proactively reach out to colleges and give them insight into both your athletic and academic performance and what you can bring to the table. It can be difficult to find the right people to get in touch with and responses can be patchy, but the response you receive, positive or negative, can give you an insight into what cards you hold and how good your options are.

4. Reach out to experts who can help you assess your options.

Let’s be honest… It can be a jungle to navigate the sporting level and opportunities of college in the US on your own. With thousands of colleges and many different tournaments, it’s difficult to assess and navigate on your own.
That’s why we – and all other college recruitment agencies – exist. Colleges and their coaches are used to contacting potential international student-athletes through agencies like us.

A good idea is to get in touch with some people who know a lot about it and can advise you. That’s what we have to say. But that’s the way it is.

The athletic facilities at the University of Oregon

Are you considering the College option?

If itis the dream having a professional career, using your athletic level to get into high academic schools or something else, it a trip to the US is without a doubt a great opportunity for you. Over the last 4 years we have helped several players from many clubs and it is likely you will know someone we have helped if you are a danish player.
Get in touch with us below if you’re thinking about college in the US or just need answers to a few questions.