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Men's soccer

When we survey NCAA student-athletes about their expectations of moving on to professional athletics careers, the results indicate surprising confidence in that possibility. The reality is that very few go pro.

Estimated probability of competing in men's college soccer

High School Participants NCAA Participants Overall % HS to NCAA % HS to NCAA Division I % HS to NCAA Division II % HS to NCAA Division III
440,322 24,803 5.6% 1.3% 1.5% 2.8%

Sources: High school figures from the 2015-16 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations; data from club teams not included.  College numbers from the NCAA 2015-16 Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report.

Estimated probability of competing in men's professional soccer

NCAA Participants Approximate # Draft Eligible # Draft Slots # NCAA Drafted % NCAA to Major Pro* % NCAA to Total Pro^
24,803 5,512 81 75 1.4% --
  • MLS SuperDraft data from 2016.  There were 81 draft slots in that year, but only 75 players were selected (all from NCAA schools).  Of the 75 picks, 72 were NCAA Division I student-athletes, two were from Division II and one was from Division III.  Percentage NCAA to Major Pro calculated using the 75 NCAA selections. (Source: mlssoccer.com).
  • These calculations do not account for other domestic (e.g., NASL, USL) or international professional soccer opportunities.

Percent NCAA to Major Pro figures are based on the number of available draft slots in the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB, NHL and MLS drafts only.  See methods notes for important details on the definition of NHL draftee in men’s ice hockey.  Column percentages were calculated as (#NCAA Drafted) / (Approximate # Draft Eligible).

Percent NCAA to Total Pro takes the number of pro opportunities from the “% NCAA to Major Pro” calculation and adds in some additional professional opportunities that we were able to quantify.  So, for football, this calculation includes NFL, Canadian Football League and Arena League slots available to first-year professionals.  For men’s basketball we accounted for NBA, NBA D-League and international opportunities.  For women’s basketball, we assessed WNBA and international roster slots.  See methods notes for details on these calculations.  Data on full-time international professional opportunities available in baseball, men’s ice hockey and men’s soccer were not analyzed here.  

Last updated: March 10, 2017