I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this year’s #World Cup. Since I’m pretty fixated on colleges, no matter what I’m doing, I started wondering where our elite Stars & Stripes athletes got their college starts. Figured maybe I could create a list of best colleges for soccer players. Turns out, this year’s US WC team includes 11 players who did not play college soccer (or attend college), the most on a US World Cup team ever.
This year, Maryland is the only school with more than one former player on the roster. You will also notice great representation from South Carolina schools and Jesuit universities. Here’s a run-down of schools by player, and a few key facts about each school. For you college-bound soccer players who want are looking for the best colleges for soccer players, or simply want to follow in the footsteps of our outstanding US World Cup players, here’s a snapshot of this year’s rosters’ alma maters.
US World Cup 2014 Roster and their College Roots
Furman University: Clint Dempsey (3 seasons)
One of two South Carolina schools, Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, is the alma mater of legendary Clint Dempsey. Furman is a private, coeducational liberal arts college and South Carolina’s oldest private university. The school enrolls about 2,700 undergraduates on its 750-acre campus. In recent years, Furman graduates have earned more PhD degrees than any other southern private liberal arts college. Today Furman offers majors and programs in 42 subjects. Most of the school’s 2,700 students are from the South Atlantic region, but 46 states and 53 foreign countries are represented in its population.
California State University, Chico: Chris Wondolowski (4 seasons)
Wondolowski enjoyed a standout college soccer career at “Chico State”. He’s one of just a handful of 2014 WC players to play 4 seasons of college soccer. The university offers more than 100 undergraduate majors. The main campus is situated on 119 acres in downtown Chico, California, but Chico State also owns a 1,050–acre farm and five acres of off-campus dorms about one mile from the main campus. The University also manages 3,950–acre Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve and the 300–acre Butte Creek Ecological Reserve.
Boston College (BC): Alejandro Bedoya (4 seasons)
Bedoya began at Fairleigh-Dickinson, but transferred to Boston College (BC). One of three Jesuit schools on this year’s WC list, this private Jesuit research university is located just 6 miles west of Boston. 9,100 full-time undergraduates and almost 5,000 graduate students enjoy BC life. Boston College’s undergraduate program is ranked 31st in the National Universities ranking by U.S. News & World Report. At $1.8 billion, Boston College has the 41st largest university endowment in North America,and the largest endowment of all Jesuit colleges and universities.
University of Maryland: Graham Zusi (4 seasons); Omar Gonzalez (3 seasons)
From UMD’s modest beginnings as a small agricultural school with four faculty members and 35 students, the University of Maryland has developed into a globally preeminent research university with more than 37,000 students from more than 130 countries. UMD faculty are highly regarded, and for good reason. They have been awarded Nobel prizes, Pulitzers, and Fulbright grants. UMD is one of the top schools in the country for employers to recruit and is rated as the #5 best value among public colleges in the United States.
St. Louis University (SLU): Brad Davis (3 seasons)
SLU is a Catholic, Jesuit school welcoming students of all faiths and backgrounds. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, SLU is home to more than 8,800 undergraduates and 5,100 graduate students from all 50 states and nearly 70 countries. Last year, the average admitted freshman had an ACT score of 27.6 and a 3.81 GPA. SLU offers nearly 100 undergraduate programs and more than 70 graduate programs. Also outstanding to note, is that 97% of freshmen receive scholarships or financial assistance.
University of South Carolina: Brad Guzan (2 seasons)
Classified as one of the nation’s “more selective” schools,USC admits about 63% of those who apply. When admitting freshmen, the university puts emphasis on the rigor of high school study and scores on standardized test, SAT or ACT. It also considers class rank, extracurricular activities, and an optional personal statement. The average incoming freshman had a combined SAT score (critical reading and math) of 1199 and a 3.9 high school GPA.
Notre Dame: Matt Besler (4 seasons)
It’s no secret that admission to the University of Notre Dame is highly competitive, with nearly six applicants for each freshman class position. 70% of incoming freshmen were in the top 5% of their high school graduating classes. Enrollment for the 2012-13 academic year was 12,126 students overall and 8,475 undergraduates. One indicator of the quality of Notre Dame’s undergraduate programs is the success of its students in post-baccalaureate studies. The medical school acceptance rate of the University’s pre-professional studies graduates is nearly 80%, almost twice the national average, and Notre Dame ranks first among Catholic universities in the number of doctorates earned by its undergraduate alumni.
University of Rhode Island (URI): Geoff Cameron
Cameron began at West Virginia, but transferred to the University of Rhode Island,the principal public research as well as the land grant and sea grant university for the state. Its main campus is located in the village of Kingston. The university offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees in 79 undergraduate and 49 graduate areas of study. The University has about 12,900 undergraduate and 2,900 graduate students. US News and World Report classifies URI as a tier 1 national university, ranking it 152nd overall.
University of Akron: DeAndre Yedlin (2 seasons)
Yup, Yedlin was a Zip. Akron has approximately 27,000 students representing 45+ U.S. states and 80+ foreign countries. The student body is a culturally diverse group and comes from a broad economic spectrum. UA offers more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs, including many that are recognized nationally for their excellence. The University of Akron is a vibrant community within metropolitan Akron, Ohio.
IMG Academy: Aaron Johannson
At age 17, Johannsson decided to go to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where he was able to focus on soccer and studying. A truly unique institution focused squarely on athletics, IMG is also rich in scholarship and leadership. This is an outstanding option for elite athletes with a passion for sports and who want to receive individualized, academic preparation for their university experience. IMG boasts a 500-acre campus. Young athletes can start as early as preschool and go all the way through postgraduate school, if desired.
Not a bad lineup of schools, and clearly an outstanding lineup of players. Go USA!