Can College Soccer Players Play USL League One?

College soccer players generally can’t play in USL League One because it’s a professional league.

Is USL League One professional?

Yes, USL League One is a fully professional soccer league. It’s sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation as a third-division pro league.

It is true that most United Soccer League players don’t get paid a lot. Minimum salary requirements only apply to USL Championship.

But what the NCAA cares about is whether you’re getting paid not how good the pay is.

Can you play both college and professional soccer?

For the most part, college soccer players can’t play on professional teams. Maybe the NCAA is worried you’ll still get paid under the table, or maybe they’re just trying to protect their monopoly. Either way, their rules generally don’t allow current players to play on what they consider to be professional teams.

There is an exception where if you played on a professional soccer team before you enrolled in college, you can still be eligible as long as you never got paid more than your travel costs and other necessary expenses.

There are even special USL academy contracts for elite youth players that allow those players to play in USL League One without losing college eligibility. But the exception for youth soccer players generally only applies before you start college.

Additionally, the USL League One season usually overlaps with both the fall and spring college semesters. The NCAA generally doesn’t allow players to play on outside teams during a semester their college teams play (even though the spring soccer season is short).

Where can college soccer players play during the summer?

The USL League Two is the most popular destination for college soccer players. That’s because that division’s schedule and rules are specifically designed to protect college eligibility.

You should still check how a potential team operates and confirm things with your college coach, but USL2 is generally a safe option.

Other leagues, such as UPSL and NPSL, have scheduling overlaps. They also have looser rules on rosters and player pay, so it can be harder to make sure you’re protecting your eligibility.

Talk to your college coach.

If you play college soccer or want to play in college, your college coach or other university contact is the best source of information. Check in before you try out with an outside team or sign any agreements.

And if you’ve played professional soccer in the past, don’t assume you’re automatically disqualified from college. There are sometimes exceptions that you can use.

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