SPUSA 20 years


“No other country in the world offers the facilities, opportunities, and support that the US college sport system provides.” – Hugh Clarke, Pepperdine University.

It’s true. If you want to train like a professional athlete in your chosen field AND obtain a degree whilst living and travelling the country, then college sport in the US is definitely a worthwhile pursuit that you should look into.

The US collegiate sports system is an extremely competitive (and lucrative) one. Colleges and universities have fans that haven’t even attended the institution itself, with individual institutions often more passionately supported than the teams in the national competitions, such as the NFL, NBA, MLB etc. Merchandise, television broadcast deals, college recognition and advertising are worth millions of dollars through various sports. It’s big business in the US and this is how the colleges and universities can offer free educations to their student athletes.

What does this mean for an Australian high school student considering their options post school? Well, in a nutshell, it means that your sporting abilities can provide you with a quality education, provided you’re prepared to work hard.

It’s an opportunity that you cannot pursue in the same way anywhere else in the world.

“You’re quickly building yourself up and bettering yourself on and off the field in ways that really wouldn’t be available at a typical Australian university.” – Darius Moulton, Wagner College, New York.

Darius has chosen to remain in the US after completing his studies and now lives in Florida working for an accounting firm. Darius not only entered into the post university phase of his life HECS debt free, but also extremely prepared in terms of time management and discipline because of his sporting commitments whilst studying.

“Initially freshman year is a big wake-up call to personal organisation. Having your team’s back and being switched on at all practices is a full-time gig, which on top of studying full time takes a little planning to balance.”

A free university education is potentially one of the most valuable things a young person can receive, but make no mistake, it takes commitment and hard work. Balancing your studies with your life as a young adult, whether it’s part-time work or your social calendar, can prove challenging for most first year university students. It’s even harder for the student athlete when one factors in the time required for training and game days. However, some of the most rewarding long-term benefits for the student athletes are the ones that aren’t tangible.

“Over 4 years you build a great relationship with all your team mates and friends you meet in America. I now have a great group of lifelong friends all around the world with whom I could stay if I ever needed.” – Jonno Knowlman, University of San Francisco.

Sport provides an immediate social acceptance and appreciation. A belonging and purpose which is extremely important for a young person setting out to figure out who they are and what they want to do with their lives. Being part of a college program of any description gives so much more than sport and education. It provides social inclusion. Something all human beings need for the overall health and wellbeing.

“In my time at Temple we made it to nationals both years. This allowed us to travel to Arizona, which was another great experience being able to play in another state while competing with your team which is your extended family.” – Hannah, Temple Junior College.

The student athlete experience in the US is unique and special. Not just because it isn’t available anywhere else in the world, but because being a part of it is a privilege. The experience will stand the student in great stead for the challenges of life post-university. Whether they’re lucky enough to pursue the sport they love professionally, or through the education and qualifications they receive while at their respective institution.

“I would say to please take up the opportunity if it becomes available to you. It was a great experience for me and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I used my sporting ability as a way to travel, compete and further my education. My finance degree and the personal skills I developed whilst in the US helped me get my dream job.” – Jonno Knowlman.

If you’re thinking about pursuing a university experience in the US through your sport of choice, give Study & Play USA a call or get in touch via our Getting Started portal on our website.

We’re Australia’s experts in USA university sport scholarships and have over 15 years’ experience helping Australian student athletes in choosing their life journey. Our priority is NOT to convince you to take this pathway. Our first priority is informing and educating each individual family. We’ll sit down with you and your family to provide you with customised and personal advice relevant to you.

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An Aussie's Transformative
US College Journey

By Study & Play Director, Chris Bates