The top colleges for men's soccer as of 2015 are Duke University, the University of Notre Dame, Wake Forest University, the University of Denver and Loyola Marymount University, as listed by CollegeFactual.com. The University of Denver ranks as the top college for women's soccer, according to USA Today.
Along with the University of Denver, the University of Virginia's main campus in Charlottesville, Boston University, the University of California's Los Angeles campus and Marquette University in Wisconsin hold the top five positions for the 2015 women's soccer college rankings, according to USA Today.
Division I is the most competitive of the three ranking divisions and is played at top-level schools nationwide. Most scholarships are awarded for Division I players, and recruitment starts during high school, according to CollegeFactual.com. Division II soccer is played at smaller schools that offer fewer scholarships, while schools competing at the Division III level rarely offer financial aid for their athletic programs.
Fewer than 1 percent of college athletes graduate to professional sports careers, states CollegeFactual, so school rankings also take into account the overall quality of education. Those who do not become professional soccer players often seek related careers in coaching, sports management or merchandising.
Soccer is one of the most popular sports, with an estimated 270 million players and coaches worldwide, according to statistics published by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the international governing body of football.