How Do College Soccer Players Split their Time between Athletics and Academics? - United Sports USA
How Do College Soccer Players Split their Time between Athletics and Academics?

Everyone knows that living the dual life as a college soccer player is a demanding task. But how exactly do student athletes spend their time? If you are about to enter college in the USA and play soccer, this is for you. We will go over exactly what you can expect in terms of how much time you will spend in class, studying, and on athletics.


Time Spent in Classes

The NCAA requires that student athletes take a minimum number of courses each semester in order to remain eligible to play. For Division 1 athletes, the minimum is 6 credit hours each term. For Division 2 athletes, the minimum is 24 credit hours per year.  Student athletes have 5 years to complete their degree and still remain eligible for financial aid and scholarships.

Many student athletes do take summer classes to help reduce their course load during the season. However, according to one study, most college soccer players take about 14.5 credit hours/semester in the in-season and about 15.5 credit hours/semester in the off-season.

1 credit hour of classes usually = 45-60 minutes in class. That means that most college soccer players are in class (or should be in class) for 12-15 hours per week. Note that some classes, such as labs, are usually a lot longer than 1 hour but don’t count for more credit hours.

Most classes in college are 3-credit hour classes. These usually meet 2x or 3x per week. You also have classes which are only 1 or 2-credit hours which meet less often. Here is how a typical 15-credit hour college schedule might look like:


  • 8:30AM-9:50AM: CLASS 1
  • 11AM-11:50PM: CLASS 2
  • 2PM-2:50PM: CLASS 3


  • 10AM-11:50AM: CLASS 4
  • 12PM-1:50PM: CLASS 5


  • 8:30AM-9:50AM: CLASS 1
  • 11AM-11:50PM: CLASS 2
  • 2PM-2:50PM: CLASS 3


  • 10AM-11:50AM: CLASS 4


  • 8:30AM-9:50AM: CLASS 1
  • 11AM-11:50PM: CLASS 2
  • 2PM-2:50PM: CLASS 3

*College soccer training is usually in the afternoon, so you will likely need to schedule all of your classes for the morning and early afternoon.


Time Spent Studying

It is advised that students spend 2-3 hours studying per week for each credit hour they take. So, if you are taking 15 credit hours in a semester, you should advisably spend 30 to 45 hours studying each week.

However, studies find that students actually spend much less than this per week on academics. One survey found that the average time students spend preparing for classes – including homework, reading, and assignments – is just 17 hours per week. Note that this applies to all students, not just student athletes.


Time Spent on Soccer Athletics

Under the NCAA rules, student athletes are not allowed to spend more than 20 hours per week on athletics during the in-season, a maximum of 4 hours per day, and they must have at least 1 day off. During the off-season, they are only allowed to spend 8 countable hours per week on athletics and must have at least 2 days off. You can read more about the NCAA countable hours here.

In reality, college soccer players are going to spend a lot more than 20 hours per week on sports. This is because the max of 20 hours/week does not include activities such as:

  • Time spent traveling to/from games
  • Medical treatments and rehab activities
  • Recruiting activities
  • Voluntary sports-related activities

Consider that colleges will play over 20 games during the season, including many midweek games. This means you are going to spend a lot of time on the road and preparing for games. You will probably end up doing a lot of your homework while in the team bus. You also need to factor in the time it takes to get ready for practices, such as taping before practice and getting iced afterwards. These don’t count towards the max of 20 hours.

The 50:50 Time Split in college soccer

So, how does the time split break down for college soccer players? In general, soccer players in college can expect to spend half their time on academics and the other half on athletics. If you do the math, you will see that this doesn’t leave much time for socializing during the in-season. As any college soccer player will tell you that your life will consist of 4 things:

Class, food, practice, and sleep.

Because of how demanding a college athlete’s schedule is, it is incredibly important that student athletes learn good time-management skills. Read this article to learn how college athletes make time for studying.

Here are two videos which show what a day in the life of a college soccer player looks like. It is tough work, but you can see that they are rewarded with the thrill of game day.