When is College Soccer Preseason? Division 1, 2, and 3 Rules

College soccer players arrive on campus earlier than other students each August, eager to start preseason training. It’s an exciting and nervy time for student-athletes. When is college soccer preseason?

College soccer preseason starts between August 8 and 14 each year, depending on the division in which a team is. Division 1 and 2 college soccer teams can start training 16 and 17 calendar days before their first competition date, respectively. Division 3 soccer teams can start preseason 16 weekdays before their first match.

I’ve outlined the important dates for college soccer preseason, including Division 1 first competition dates for the next two years. Take a look at when teams in each division can start preseason training.

Related: When is College Soccer Season? Fall and Spring Rules

When is college soccer preseason?

Preseason start dates can get pretty technical. They depend on the division in which a team is in.

College soccer preseason starts between August 8 and 14 each year. Division 1 teams start the earliest, and Division 3 teams start the latest. Division 1 teams have the longest college soccer preseason.

The start dates for college soccer preseason solely depend on two things: the division a team is in and that team’s first competition date.

Related: How Hard is College Soccer? Choose the Best Division for You

The permitted first competition date is the earliest for Division 1 teams and the latest Division 3 teams. Division 2 team’s first competition dates can occur on or after the Thursday before September 6.

Preseason consists of daily training sessions to prepare for the regular season. Many universities host walk-on tryouts during the preseason to potentially welcome new players.

When is Division 1 college soccer preseason?

Division 1 college soccer teams are provided the earliest start date out of the three divisions for their seasons each fall semester.

Division 1 college soccer preseason starts 16 calendar days before the first competition, which cannot occur before the Thursday preceding the 12th weekend before the NCAA Division I Soccer Championship starts. For example, in 2023, Division 1 men’s soccer teams cannot begin preseason before Tuesday, August 8.

In 2024, they cannot start before Tuesday, August 13.

Men’s Division 1 soccer will always start in August. The first competition dates for Division 1 men’s college soccer teams are as follows:

  • 2022: August 25
  • 2023: August 24
  • 2024: August 29

Women’s Division 1 soccer’s first competition dates are often earlier than men’s college soccer. Here are the upcoming first competition dates:

  • 2022: August 18
  • 2023: August 17
  • 2024: August 22
YearMen’s first competition dateWomen’s first competition start date
2022August 25August 18
2023August 24August 17
2024August 29August 22
A table showcasing recent and upcoming start dates for Division 1 Men’s and Women’s regular fall soccer season.

When is Division 2 college soccer preseason?

Division 2 college soccer preseason starts 17 days before the first competition or five days before the first day of classes. The earliest the first competition can be is the Thursday before September 6. During preseason, teams cannot train longer than six hours per day, and only five hours can be physical activity.

These dates are the same for men’s and women’s teams.

When is Division 3 college soccer preseason?

Division 3 college soccer preseason starts in August. Teams are allowed 16 training units (practices) total during the preseason. The earliest a team can start preseason training is on a day that would allow those 16 units to be used once per day until September 1 or the Friday before.

Although the start date can be as early as the beginning of August, most Division 3 soccer teams will start their 16-unit preseason 1-2 weeks before their first competition.

These dates are the same for women’s teams.

How long is college soccer preseason?

Coaches must find a balance between working too hard and not hard enough before a season starts, which means preseason must last long enough. How long is it?

College soccer preseason is generally 1-2 weeks long and is timely held before a team’s first competition date. Each weekday during the preseason typically involves one or two training sessions. NCAA rules permit a limited amount of training time each day.

The preseason technically ends on the first competition date for a team, but most college soccer teams continue to play exhibition matches until their first conference game, usually 2-3 weeks after the preseason ends.

Throughout the year, including in the fall or spring season and preseason, players must limit the amount of time they spend on their sport in a year.

CARA or Countable Athletically Related Activities dictate in-season training regimens. CARA is a general guideline for hourly limitations that college coaches and athletes must follow.

Related: How Long is College Soccer Season?

CARA rules put a limit on how many hours student-athletes can participate in their sport in a day or week. All sports teams at every division are required to comply with CARA rules and regulations.

When does college soccer preseason end?

Preseason is the most impactful time of the year for teams looking to excel during the season. It’s vital they get enough time together before their first match to talk tactics and sharpen their skills. That means they need to consider when the preseason ends.

College soccer preseason ends when a team completes its first regular season match. At this point, its preseason is officially over, which means it can move to in-season training hours and permissions in compliance with CARA.

CARA is the ruleset that dictates the amount of time players can spend training in and out of the season.

Like other college sports teams, college soccer teams must follow these rules throughout the season and off-season.

RelatedCollege (NCAA) Overtime – Does it Exist?

CARA is designed to help protect student-athletes from overworking and allow them the time to focus on things outside of sports, most importantly, academics.

Sean Tinney

I’m Sean Tinney, a lifetime soccer player and Ball At Your Feet owner. This website is a hub for practical soccer advice, information, and insights from one player to another.

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