Feb 11, 2020
How common is it for athletes to participate in a Varsity sport here without being recruited? Additionally, do coaches allow for "team managers" and allow for students to participate in practices and, even if they're not first string? Also, are there any cases where a person may not make the team one year, but might make the team in a subsequent year? Specifically, about soccer.

My reason for asking is that I'm currently enlisted in the military, and it is currently very hard to find time to practice my sport due to long working hours. I absolutely love sports, but I also undoubtedly believe that I have lost proficiency in it enough to compete at such a high level. I would still love to participate at the high level, even from the sidelines if possible and to follow the highly regimented schedule. I know that intramural (and perhaps club-level) sports exist, but personally I believe that I perform my best when I am held to higher standards, and interact with those I believe to be more proficient than me. I realize all of this may sound stupid, but any advice or insight at all would be greatly appreciated.

Feb 18, 2020
I'm sure you'll get some good replies from folks with direct experience, but I'd like to share a bit from the sideline. My DS is currently waiting to hear on his application. He is ranked #8 in state in wrestling in his weight class. I called the USAFA wrestling coach some months ago to see if they would be interested. As a Div I team in a highly competitive conference, it seemed unlikely to me, but worth a phone call. He confirmed that he's really looking primarily at HS state champs for recruitment, which makes sense. He encouraged my son to stop by after BCT for a chance at a walk-on, but he was being honest and it did not seem like he thought that would be realistic.

Now, I don't know how you would rank competitively in your chosen sport. Maybe Div I is your correct tier. But I wouldn't assume that intramural or club sports at USAFA wouldn't provide extremely healthy competition. Because USAFA values athletic ability strongly in the selection process, it's likely that there are Div I, II or III capable athletes walking the halls that aren't on IC teams.

I'm interested to hear from Academy students or faculty/staff to hear if my supposition is correct.


Nov 29, 2019
While I was on a visit, another applicant asked the same question to admissions. The answer is that while it is possible to walk on to an D1 team, it happens fairly rare. Additionally, for many D1 sports there is no club level equivalent for the corresponding gender (they want to keep the D1 athletes in D1, as everyone gets "paid" the same regardless of whether they compete in D1 or not). This along with the long hours D1 athletes are required to put in can make it hard to walk on in the following school years.

I believe there are manager/support roles available for D1 sports, however, at USAFA, I'm sure that with a 4000+ cadet body, there is plenty of competition just within the intramural/club level sports, and you may find it just as challenging/rewarding as D1.

By no means am I saying don't try, but understand that the selection bars are set very high.

PS: Just checked, turns out there is club level soccer!


"Land of the free, because of the brave..."
10-Year Member
Dec 12, 2012
Lots of posts on the subject available using the Search function.

DD was a team manager for a season her Freshman year. By it's end, the whole team was on Academic Probation, a common occurrence for IC's at SA's. Be prepared for your GPA to take a hit; the hit being closer to a 1.0 then not.
The athletes that excel in academics in addition to playing D-1 sports are exceptional people; thinking of Michelle Johnson for ex.
For some IC's, they will quit the sport after a year or two (After all, the "season" is all year long in D-1 sports & for some sports, no need to make plans to be home for Tgiving &/or Xmas break. You will be w/the team.) to concentrate on academics as they're not on scholarship anyway so...
DD for her part used the time as Mgr. to nap in the gym (probably got that from her mother lol) as freshman year is very taxing; physical, emotional, mental, etc.

Lots to think about. Club sports are a lot of fun & can be D-1 competitive. Thinking women's Club lacrosse went D-1 at USAFA recently.
Lastly, just want to say that sometimes the only difference between D-1 & D-2 or D-3 is height, weight, or some other anatomic gift not everyone has. Ability & talent is on par w/D-1 in the lower divisions, just 2" too short.
Plenty of D-2 schools can beat D-1 programs.
Good Luck!


Jan 31, 2020
Lots to think about. Club sports are a lot of fun & can be D-1 competitive. Thinking women's Club lacrosse went D-1 at USAFA recently.

Womens club lacrosse went D1 at USAFA!?! When did this happen? Do you know any details? Is the club team now gone?