fbpx

College Sport

Understanding the 4 Seasons of College: A Wheel of the Year

What does a year in college in the US actually look like for a soccer player?
Life as a student athlete at an American college is a unique blend of academic challenges and athletic endeavor. Each season follows its own rhythm that shapes the players’ everyday life and there is a big difference in life whether it’s spring, summer, fall or winter.
In this article, we dive into the special yearly cycle that defines and shapes the life and everyday life of a college football player.

Spring: Training matches, development and a more balanced everyday life

College spring break in the US is tailor-made for development. It’s also a time when student athletes get to experience a more balanced approach to sport and academics, something that more closely resembles life as a normal student in the US. This is mainly due to the fact that the official college season doesn’t start until late summer and therefore there are no weekly trips to different states. Instead, there’s time for plenty of training sessions on the pitch and in the weight room. These months allow college coaches to experiment with team composition and style of play, while allowing individual athletes to build on their physique – something that has always been a priority and important area in American sports. At the same time, you also have more time for your studies and don’t have to catch up as much due to matches and other athletic commitments.

Although no official games are played during the spring, you’ll participate in a variety of practice games against teams you wouldn’t normally face in your college league. A good example is our client, Lucas Christensen, who currently plays and studies at Florida International University – they will be playing against Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami CF during their spring season.
Another example is our client, Nikolai Røjel, who recently transferred from Wofford College to UCLA. In the spring training matches, they will face Los Angeles FC, among others.

Lucas Christensen for Florida International University from NCAA Division 1.

Summer: Off-season or Summer League?

Summertime is first and foremost a time for vacation. Schools and campuses are closed until August, and student athletes typically have two options: either go home and vacation with family and friends or join a Summer League team and play in an official tournament in the US over the summer. Many college players choose the option to participate in Summer League as it’s an excellent chance to maintain their development – and for the really skilled players – an opportunity to be spotted by teams from USL or MLS. These leagues often follow the tournaments, as it has almost become a tradition for ambitious and talented college players to play in Summer Leagues during their school vacation.

One example is our client, Jonas Lyshøj, who currently plays and studies at Bryant University in NCAA Division 1. Last summer he stayed in the US and played for Peoria City S, which competes in USL 2.

Jonas Lyshøj in action - both on the field and signing autographs - for Peoria City from USL2.

Fall: The official start of the season and the quest for the national championship

After the summer, student athletes arrive on campus a few weeks before other students. Why? Because the first weeks of fall – and the brand new college year – start with the legendary American preseason. Two weeks with multiple training sessions, both on the pitch and in the weight room, every single day. For freshmen, it can be a cold bucket of water in the head, a shock experience both mentally and physically, but it’s great and crucial for getting ready for the high-intensity college season, which at its most intense has up to three tournament games a week.

In the fall, your primary focus and most of your energy will be on your sport. When you’re not playing a game, you’re recovering and preparing for the next game. When you’re not playing or recovering, you’re probably traveling by bus or plane to an away game. It takes extra effort to juggle the high-intensity season with your studies. It’s part of the experience and it’s what makes you better – both as a person and as an athlete.

When the season is underway and the games are in full swing, the first thing you play is what’s known as Conference Games. In other words, you play against teams from your geographical region and fight to qualify for the playoffs, where the best teams from the surrounding regions meet. From here, they qualify for the most prestigious tournament in the college game: The National Championship – also known as The College Cup.
Here, the best teams in the country gather in early December to compete for the title of national champions.

Clemson University (left), which won the men's national championship in 2023, and Florida State University (right), which won the women's national championship in 2023.

Winter: End of season, exams and Christmas vacation

After the season culminates with the national championships in the first weeks of December, you look forward to the Christmas holidays and a much-needed break from the high-intensity fall season, which takes a toll – both physically and mentally, juggling academic commitments with the goal of making it as far as possible in the national championships.

Before you can take your Christmas break, however, there are exams before the semester can be completed and the books can be closed. Most international student-athletes go home to their respective countries and spend Christmas or the equivalent with friends and family before the new semester starts in February.

Understanding the 4 Seasons of College: A Wheel of the Year Read More »

Wall of 2023: Our clients’ awards & accolades

The 2023 college season is now over!

From September to mid-December, there are countless college football games played in the US. During this time, the short and intense college season is in full swing. The many different universities compete to advance from their own conference (their region) to play in the playoffs; the one that gives them a ticket to the national championships and the greatest honor they can achieve in the college game.

More than 80,000 players are spread across the three federations – of course, not everyone makes it all the way. Fortunately, american culture has always celebrated individual achievement. They do this through a variety of different and very traditional awards.
This year we have a lot of players who have received these awards. More than ever before. We’re really proud of that.

Our best year yet!

Our first official recruitment year was in 2020. Back then, we sent around 20 clients to the US. Some of them are still in college today, while a host of new clients have come and gone across the Atlantic. Today, we have just over 120 active student-athletes in the US. Of the 120 active student-athletes, 24 of our clients have received awards this year.
Take a look at them here 😎.

Wall of 2023

NCAA Division 1 awards

Our clients in NCAA Division 1 have certainly excelled.
8 different players have received awards for their performances in the past college season.
Notice heavyweight titles like Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year.

Nikolaj Røjel

Nikolaj Røjel

Wofford College
Player of the Year
SoCon
Oliver Møller

Oliver Møller

Florida Atlantic University
Freshman of The Year
ACC
Victor Faaborg

Victor Faaborg

Presbytarian University
Freshman of the Year
Big South
Mikkel Gøling

Mikkel Gøling

UC Santa Barbara
All Conference 1st team
Big West
Jonas Lyshøj

Jonas Lyshøj

Bryant University
All Conference Tournament Team
America East
Alexander Stjernegård

Alexander Stjernegård

Marshall University
TDS Top 100
Sun Belt
Magnus Kjøller

Magnus Kjøller

Wofford College
All Conference 1st Team
SoCon
Villads Landsperg

Villads Landsperg

Wofford College
Freshman Team of the Year
SoCon

Awards in NCAA Division 2

Our clients in NCAA Division 2 have certainly excelled.
4 different players have received awards for their performance in the past college season.
For example. notice Søren Jensen who was the best goalkeeper in his region.

Søren Jensen

Søren Jensen

Post University
Goalkeeper of the Year
NE10
Marc Birkelund

Marc Birkelund

Flagler College
All Conference 2nd Team
Peach Belt
Mads Frederiksen

Mads Frederiksen

Call Poly Pomona
All Conference 2nd Team
CCAA
Julie Andersen

Julie Andersen

SWOSU
All Conference 2nd Team
GAC

Awards in the NAIA

Our clients at NAIA have certainly performed as well.
5 different players have received awards for their performances in the past college season.
Notice Simon Blæsdahl’s title as Freshman of the Year.

Simon Blæsdahl

Simon Blæsdahl

Governors State University
Freshman of the Year
CCAC
David Ambæk

David Ambæk

Indiana Tech University
All Conference 1st Team
WHAC
Karl-Emil Andersen

Karl-Emil Andersen

UC Cumberlands
All Conference 1st Team
Mid South
Marc Boye

Marc Boye

Campbellsville University
NCCAA Player of the Year
Mid South
Christian Hauge

Christian Hauge

Campbellsville University
NCCAA Tournament 1st Team
Mid South

Awards in the NJCAA

Our Junior College clients have also performed at a high level.
We dare to promise that some of these players below will be at NCAA Division 1 schools in the near future.
7 different players have received awards for their achievements.
Notice the 2 All American titles that cover all the players in the country in the NJCAA.

Viktor Højbjerg

Viktor Højbjerg

Angelina Junior College
All Conference 1st Team
Region XIV
Ato Junior

Ato Junior

Tyler Junior College
All American 1st Team
NJCAA
Christopher Dommer

Christopher Dommer

Pearl River CC
All American 2nd Team
NJCAA
Amelie Wittenkamp

Amelie Wittenkamp

Campbellsville University
All Conference 2nd Team
MACCC
Victor Mørck

Victor Mørck

Mississippi Gulf Coast CC
All Conference 2nd Team
MGCCC
Andreas WInther

Andreas WInther

Heartland CC
NJCAA D2 All Tournament Team
NJCAA
Khaya Gregory

Khaya Gregory

Salt Late CC
All American 1st Team
NJCAA

Next up: College Season 2024. Are you next?

We are currently recruiting talented young players for the new college year in 2024. It will be our biggest and best group of clients to date!
Do you want to be a Student Athlete in the USA or are you just curious about the whole college world?
We’d love to talk to you about your situation and your options in the US. Write to us

right here.

Wall of 2023: Our clients’ awards & accolades Read More »

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.

Highlights

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.

Promotion

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.

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

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.

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

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.

College and High School Age in the US: An Overview Read More »

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.

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

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.

Rehab
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.

Lunch
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.

Relaxation
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.

Rehab
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.

Dinner
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.

Preseason in College Read More »

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
NAIA
or
NCAA
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
NCAA
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:

What is Junior College? Read More »

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 to choose the right College and Sports Programme – for you! Read More »

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.

How does college football work in the US? Read More »