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Soccer is a major sport in the United States. It’s played at high school and college levels and millions of people across the country also enjoy it. Soccer is a sport requiring a lot more than just a passion for the game. In fact, many aspects are involved in becoming a professional soccer player—from technique to fitness to mental toughness. If you’re considering playing soccer professionally or just want to keep your skills sharp while working towards an athletic scholarship, then college may be right for you!
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a public research university located in Champaign, Illinois.
- It was founded in 1867 as the state’s first land-grant institution and is one of the 10 largest universities in the United States by enrollment.
- The University’s athletic teams compete as the Fighting Illini; they have won 25 national championships during their history and have been members of NCAA Division I since 1905.
- Bradley University is a private, coeducational, non-profit, non-sectarian, and non-denominational university located in Peoria, Illinois.
- The university is affiliated with the United Methodist Church but welcomes students and faculty of all religious traditions.
- Founded in 1897 as Bradley Technical College by Dr. James P Bradley (1837–1914), it was renamed Bradley College when it became part of what would become Illinois Wesleyan University in 1919 under President Henry Ettlinger (1867–1947).
- Bradley’s athletic teams compete at the Division III level in 19 sports: men’s soccer (#4 overall), wrestling (#13 overall), volleyball (#12 overall), cross country (#16 overall) & track & field; women’s soccer (#2 overall), basketball (#9 overall).
Southern Illinois University
- Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is a public institution located in the town of Mark Twain, Illinois.
- It is a member of the NCAA Division I and competes within the Missouri Valley Conference. The school has an enrollment of 18,000 students, and its campus consists of 1,600 acres (6 km²).
- It has a great reputation and is a member of NCAA Division II. SIU has been in the top 10 of the national rankings for years.
- You can find the soccer team practicing on the field next to their home stadium, which holds 8,500 fans.
- The team plays at the SIU Soccer Stadium, built in 1996 and has been expanded twice since then. The main entrance to the stadium is located on Memorial Drive between 11th Street and 13th Street.
- DePaul University has a men’s soccer team that has won five NCAA Division III national championships.
- DePaul is based in Chicago, Illinois, and is a private university. Founded in 1898 as St. Vincent’s College by the Brothers of Charity.
It was renamed DePaul College when it moved to Lincoln Park in 1906. In 1917 it became an independent institution known simply as “DePaul University” after merging with four other Catholic colleges nearby under its umbrella:
- Loyola Academy (founded 1857)
- Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (1891)
- School Sisters of Notre Dame (1884), which later became Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
- Mercy Hospital Medical Center is now part of Mercy Health System
In the 2016–17 academic year, 14,851 total undergraduate students were enrolled at DePaul.
Illinois State University.
- Illinois State University is a public university located in Normal, IL.
- The campus has an enrollment of over 30,000 students and offers more than 200-degree programs to its students.
- ISU’s soccer teams are known as the Redbirds, which refers to the Illinois state bird.
- ISU’s soccer stadium was named after Dwayne Phillips, who was head coach of ISU from 1978-86 and led them to three NCAA Division I national championships (1981-82).
- In addition, he also coached two other NCAA Final Four appearances (1980 & 1984) and won 10 Missouri Valley Conference titles during his tenure at ISU!
Loyola University Chicago
- Loyola University Chicago is a private Roman Catholic university in Chicago, Illinois.
- The school was founded in 1926 by the Sisters of Charity and was named after St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).
- Loyola’s mascot is the Ram, and its colors are red & white.
- The athletic teams at Loyola are known as the Ramblers, who compete in NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports and Division III intercollegiate sports.
- They field 16 varsity teams across 17 different sports for men and women: Basketball; Cross Country/Track & Field; Football; Golf; Lacrosse; Soccer (women); Swimming & Diving; Tennis (women); Volleyball.
Eastern Illinois University
- Eastern Illinois University is a public university located in Charleston, Illinois.
- It was founded in 1857 as a teacher training institution and has since grown to be one of the largest universities in Illinois, with over 8,000 students on campus.
- The soccer team at Eastern Illinois is known as the Panthers and plays at Bobcat Stadium on campus.
- The university has two soccer teams that play in NCAA Division II and have an indoor soccer team that plays in the National Collegiate Indoor Soccer League.
- The university also has several intramural soccer leagues for students to participate in during the school year.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
- Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is a good choice for soccer players looking to get a great education and play soccer at the same time.
- The school offers over 30 varsity sports.
- The SIUE Soccer Training and Education Center (STEC) offers a variety of classes for students interested in learning more about the game of soccer or working on their skills as a player.
- The SIUE soccer team has won more than 100 championships over the years, including eight NCAA Division I national titles.
- The team has been ranked No. 1 in both Men’s and Women’s DI Top 25 polls for four straight years.
To Sum Up
There are many great colleges in Illinois to choose from. The best way to find the right one for you is by researching colleges and universities that offer soccer but also go beyond just soccer. They should have various activities like dance classes, track and field events, or even fine arts programs available for students interested in studying abroad during school breaks so they can see other parts of America while at home. Thanks for reading!