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Coming to the USA to study and compete is a life-changing experience.  There is not another university system in the world where sport and education are combined so professionally!  Every year, there are more and more international athletes looking at the US to continue their footballing careers while obtaining a degree that will allow them to transition into the professional world outside the sport. 

In many cases, the experience, facilities and atmosphere rivals that of many professional teams around the world.  The level across all divisions and levels is higher than many realize, the facilities are top-notch, it is not uncommon to have hundreds if not thousands of fans at your matches.   Not only does every university have highly experience and licensed coaches, many are either linked with professional and/or semi-professional sides, or have contacts that extend globally that they are happy to use if they have players that have the ability to make it to the next level.   The exposure that the universities provide is also second to none, from those that are broadcasted nationally on ESPN to others that are routinely being featured in their local newspaper or newscast.

With over 1,250 four year universities that offer football (Men’s or Women’s Soccer) there are good fits for virtually any potential recruit, depending on their level on the pitch or in the classroom.   Although many recruits globally are well aware of the most well known schools throughout the US, such as Stanford, Duke, and Notre Dame, there are many other universities in the US that can be incredible fits for many student athletes looking at the US pathway on the academic and footballing sides.  Doing your due-diligence is vital in ensuring what universities are the best fit for you.

Player Spotlights

Gia Sundaram (2021 recruit from Millfield School), a former member of the ISFA U18 Representative Team as well as the India U-17 National Team is currently finishing her 2nd season at Grinnell College.  Although this is not a university which is found on many university lists, the school boasts a top 100 overall ranking, Top 5 ranking as a Liberal Arts university, as well as being considered one of 30 "Hidden Ivies"   

In Gia's 2nd season, she worked hard to become a regular starter, and led her team to their first conference title in 16 years, and a NCAA Tournament appearance.  On top of finding the right fit on the football pitch, Gia has found the right fit academically, as she is working to achieve her degree in Economics/Business.  "It's worked out well.", states Padmini Sundaram, Gia's mother,  "She has found a very stable setup with Grinnell"

While some recruits are looking to tick all of the academic boxes, some recruits utilize the US pathway to continue their quest to push towards finding their way into a professional career:

Shaun Joash (2019 recruit from Hampton School), former ISFA U18 Representative, is finishing a successful 4 year career at Grand Canyon University.   Shaun completed his university career with 30 goals and 12 assists (12 G and 6 A in his final season) and was just named to several post season awards, including the Conference Offensive Player of the Year.   

While it can provide a great option for many recruits on the academic side, Grand Canyon University boasts one of the most electric atmospheres in the US University system and rivals that of many pro sides throughout Europe and the UK.  Following in the footsteps of former GCU players that transitioned to the MLS, most recently Esai Easley and Justin Rasmussen who were picked in the 2022 MLS Superdraft, Shaun has laid the groundwork to take his game to the next level and could hear his name being called on 21 December at the 2023 MLS Superdraft.  

No matter the university or level that you ultimately choose, it takes a lot of dedication and commitment to succeed as a university student/athlete.  However, the growth you will experience and the confidence you will gain will help carry you throughout the rest of your life! 

If you would like more information on if the US pathway is right for you, or to take part in their free pre-assessment, please contact our US Universities Partner, Ethos Sports & Education, for more information at

Christopher Campasano

Managing Director

Ethos Sports & Education

Phone: +1 (480) 266 2143


Skype: chriscampasano


ISFA Chief Executive Mark Dickson commented:

"The Independent Schools FA is delighted to introduce Ethos Sports & Education as our US Universities partner.  They have been working with an increasing number of independent schools in recent years and we know what a good service they have provided for the ever-increasing number of students who wish to study in the USA and play football and other sports to a high level.  ISFA believes it is extremely important that those who choose to go down this increasingly popular route have access to good advice in order to make the right decisions, both academic and sporting, and avoid the potential pitfalls.  To this end we are delighted to have Ethos Sports & Education on board as our partners and warmly recommend them to our schools and any of our players who are considering the US for their further education".

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