Playing College Soccer

Revised: Spring 2008, Law
Area of Study:
College soccer is an activity that is achieved by those who are able to play at a higher level competitively. Student athletes are expected to take on more responsibility; as they must academically excel, and athletically keep up with the coach’s and team’s standards. A student athlete takes on a leadership role as they directly represent their school and team, and must at all times be aware of their actions and behavior. There are many qualifications and requirements that apply before being able to participate in a collegiate sport. This is a particular activity that involves athleticism, motivation, teamwork, and a passion for the game. There are so many factors that determine if one is able to pursue a college soccer career and many rules and regulations one needs to follow in order to continue to play.

There is so much that goes into a college sport, like equipment, staff, facilities, sponsors, school funds and scholarships. Equipment like soccer balls, cones, soccer goals and nets, score board, benches, uniforms, and a field to play on are all pieces of equipment that are necessary in order to have a successful season. Players are expected to have their own personal equipment like soccer cleats, shin-guards, and soccer socks in order to abide by the equipment regulations of the game.

Scholarships are a very important because athletes are able to get help financially for school by getting an athletic scholarship. Scholarships also influence players on whether or not to choose a school based on how much money the coach is able to distribute from the funds he/she is given. Scholarships also help to build the soccer program by bringing in good players to help the program grow and become more successful. The success of the season also helps to gain more funds from the school, resulting in more scholarship money for the upcoming players.

A coach has the most significant role in any activity where learning takes place. The coach basically determines the team’s potential of the season. It is the coach’s job to organize practices so they are productive, to give feedback and teach players effectively how to play the game. The season ultimately resides on the coach’s ability to coach their style and idea of how to play soccer. It is the coach’s responsibility to gain their players respect, so that the players believe and have trust in their coach’s abilities to teach them. The coach should have patience with his players, but at the same time be able to give constructive criticism to help them alter their skills, and to improve their game. Then there is the assistant coach who is also vital to the team’s chemistry. The assistant must have knowledge of the game and also be able to understand the coach’s style of soccer so they can consistently teach the same way.

The focus of the season for both the players and coaches is to have a successful season, however they define that to be. The desired outcome for college players is to have a winning season and ultimately have a high status in the conference. Personally the goal for our season was to get to the regional tournament for the first time in school history. To sum it up the main goal for any college sport would be to improve from the previous year and to have a growing program. Ultimately a team’s goal is to win.

Juridic Controls:
There are many juridic controls that go along with all college sports. College soccer has a long list of rules and regulations that go very in depth, but are subject to change depending on the situation. There are juridic controls based on certain behaviors and actions that involve the players specifically on the field of play. Violent conduct, over-aggressive behavior, intentional harm to another, and use of foul language are not acceptable in a collegiate sport setting. These actions have direct consequences based on rules that are learned in the early development of teaching the game of soccer. Players are taught the rules on behalf of their coach. These violations are universally understood and should be known by any player who has played competitively.

The behavioral rules of soccer have been established and are physically written down in rule books. Although the rules have been finalized on paper, it is the referee who enforces those rules, interprets them and makes informed decisions based on the situation at hand. Although players are well informed about the rules and their consequences, sometimes the participants lose control slip up, and breaks the rule. There are two main ways a referee deals with this type of situation. They call a foul and distribute the player in the wrong with a yellow card which is a recorded warning, telling the player to settle it down. Then if the player continues on with unfair play he/she is given another yellow card which gets them dismissed from the game. Two yellow cards are equivalent to one red card, which is given when a player is involved with committing a serious foul or has already received a warning. A player with a red card must then leave the vicinity of the field of play and the technical area.

It is the referee’s job to make sure the match is fair and safe for both teams competing in order to play a consistent, organized match. The referee also acts as the time keeper and keeps record of the match. The referee is a physical authority figure who enforces the rules while on the actual playing field; however off the field there are also rules that the student athlete is required to follow. There are drug tests that are run to make sure that the players are abiding by the rules governing drug use. The administer drug tests to keep an equal and fair environment for all teams to compete fairly. If one is caught with negative results then there are severe punishments that are at risk. There is immediate suspension of the player by the school’s standards, but the coach may have personal expectations of their players and then the coaches rules would then apply to his/her own regulations.

Outside of the actual physical game of soccer there are eligibility requirements that are applied to players. Academically the school has a GPA of 2.0 or higher to be able to participate in a collegiate sport. There again a coach might have a different standard that would apply. There are a certain amount of credits a player must obtain in order to stay eligible to play. At Montana State University the standard is twelve credits a semester. Before the season starts the student athletes must get a physical and be cleared by a doctor before they are able to participate. If any of these requirements are not met by the player then they would not qualify to play for that season.

Withdrawal or Inactivity:
There are not many ways to avoid the particular juridic controls involved with college soccer. These controls basically have to be accepted by the athlete in order to play, because there is really no way around them without an undesirable result. Playing college soccer comes with these controls and it is up to the person to decide whether or not it is for them. Intramural soccer would be one option that does not consist of the demanding controls that college soccer has. Although there are still rules that apply when playing intramural soccer, there are not as many expectations and high standards to live up to as with college soccer. Intramural soccer is still competitive, but is more laid back and does not involve those limiting factors that make it stressful. There is also the option of exercising on one’s own. If one does not want to abide by the controls of college soccer then they can keep active by working out and staying physically fit on their own watch, which would be more satisfying to someone who does not want those limiting controls.

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