In the world of college sports, rankings, such as Division 1, have a different meaning than they do in high school. In high school and programs outside of college sports, D1 teams are automatically considered to be better than D2 and so on. In college, being in NCAA Division 1 doesn’t exactly make the team better than one of a lower-ranking; it simply means that the school is larger and has a wide range of sports.
Because of this difference, it is important to consider this when picking a Division 1 school for Women’s Soccer, and other rankings should be considered as well. Therefore, we have put together a list of some of the top NCAA Division 1 schools in women’s soccer today.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is prestigious academically and in women’s soccer. Some notable alumni include Crystal Dunn, Mia Hamm, and many others who have competed in World Cups and in Olympic Games.
They are also led by Anson Dorrance, who is considered one of the world's best college coaches; he has built many athletes into star players and has been a huge factor in the success of the university’s soccer program.
Much like the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Stanford University is known for its exceptional academic program as well as its success in women’s soccer. They have competed in 9 College cup tournaments and 5 NCAA Division l finals, winning three of them.
Many legends in soccer, such as Alana Cook, Andi Sullivan, and Christen Press, have competed for Stanford University and later played in the NWSL and USWNT.
University of California – Los Angeles
The University of California in Los Angeles has always been considered one of the best women’s soccer teams in the country. They have made 21 appearances in the NCAA Championships; they made it to the semifinals 10 times and won once in 2013.
Some of the most famous alumni, all of which have represented the United States on a national team, including Lauren Holiday, Sydney Leroux, Abby Dahlkemper, and Sam Mewis.
Florida State University
Florida State University has achieved many accomplishments over the years, including competing in the ACC, advancing to 21 NCAA tournaments, and appearing in the College Cup 11 times. They have also won 2 NCAA championships, and Florida State University is practically known for its women’s soccer program because of it.
The Best of Division 1
No matter which school you choose to compete for, it is important to find a fit that best suits your needs, despite the rankings. All of the universities outlined above have truly earned their title in women’s soccer, and they are worthy of consideration.
At the same time, these are just a few of the college soccer programs that have excelled in the past few years, and there are many more wonderful programs available that will help athletes see a future of success just as these schools have.