It is not unusual for a top NCAA D1 soccer programme to have a roster of over 50 players including their Junior Varsity team, so this may mean places for spots on the team are incredibly competitive and you may not get much playing time in your first season. This can particularly be true for goalkeepers if they go to a team that already has 2 or 3 more senior players in that position.
City, Suburb or Town?
Concentrating the issue of location, the type of area can be as important as the region. Be aware that the majority of universities are not located in the center of large cities such as New York, San Francisco or Chicago. Many of the great universities—that attract thousands of international students each year—are in small cities, even towns. This can be a very big adjustment for students from huge cities, so take that into consideration. Yet, tens of thousands of students each year settle into their studies in small cities or towns. Most people can adapt to a new reality. If living in a metropolitan or large city is really important to you, there are hundreds of schools in the heart of major cities but they are typically more expensive.
Try to calculate the total cost for your studies, including living expenses. You can often get this information on a colleges’ websites. Elite, private colleges and universities usually have higher tuition costs than public universities. Generally speaking, the areas away from the East and West Coasts have a lower cost of living, in some cases, considerably lower. California’s two excellent university systems—University of California and California State University—have dozens of attractive campus locations with relatively inexpensive tuition. But, the cost of living can often be twice that in other states, so your total cost may be higher in California.
When starting your search for a school and team in America being able to work on campus might not be high on your list of priorities; however, once out there you will realize that having a source of income can make a big difference and enable you to enjoy your experience more. Because with an F1 student visa you are unable to work off campus it usually means the school will give you prioritisation for job opportunities on campus that become available – these jobs can range from assisting your coach or being a teaching assistant to working in the library or campus café.