What Are the Qualifications Needed to Become an All-America Athlete?

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The requirements for becoming an All-America athlete at the college level vary by sport. For example, in soccer, achieving the recognition requires a grade-point average of at least 3.3 on a four-point scale. The athlete must start in more than half of the team’s games and must contribute to the team.

The athlete’s college must be a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, and the student-athlete must be a junior or higher. All-America college athletes are chosen by a national selection committee.

The terms “All-America” and “All-American” also apply to team athletes selected by contributors to national sports media. The term usually refers to college players, though it is sometimes applied to those in high school. About 5 percent of triathletes receive the All-American designation.

The term is sometimes used to recognize student athletes for their scholarly achievements. Some of these athletes are named to “Academic All-America” teams. Typically, these teams do not compete in games. “Academic All-America” is a trademark owned by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The group started the program in 1952 to recognize college student-athletes.

The term “All-American” is also sometimes used in casual speech to refer to a stereotypically average American young person.