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What To Know About The NCAA Transfer Portal

Published: 2023-01-25
What To Know About The NCAA Transfer Portal
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Oneonta…..2022 SUNYAC Conference Champions


Hello to all you future Lionel Messi and Jurgen Klopp wannabes:

Now that the World Cup is over and Messi has finally been crowned champion, it is time to refocus on college soccer in the USA!

In the USA, the fall 2022 season has ended (updated photo above for Oneonta….woo!) and now it is time for college players to re-evaluate their future. Once upon a time, an athlete transferring from school to school was unheard of. There were many complications and stipulations surrounding it until a new system originated in 2018. The NCAA transfer portal.


How Does The NCAA Transfer Portal Work?

The transfer portal (it exists for every college sport) was designed to simplify the complicated process of players unhappy at their current schools finding a new program and a new coach. It consolidated all the players who wish to transfer and their contact information into one place, providing more transparency in the process and helping ensure compliance.

If a player wishes to transfer, he or she must simply submit their name into the portal, which they are free to do while also leaving open the option of returning to their current school.

Those with access to the transfer portal can run reports on data, such as how many student-athletes in a specific sport, school or conference actively are looking to transfer. The portal also helps the NCAA research staff collect transfer data and staffers don’t have to rely on individual schools or conferences to certify the movement of student-athletes.




When Should A Student-Athlete Transfer?

There can be many determining factors for a student-athlete to want to transfer. For instance, they could be mistreated by a coach. Sometimes, the athlete and their family believe their talents would be better utilized elsewhere. On the other hand, it could be as simple as they aren't comfortable in their new home. 

Pros: An athlete who doesn’t like his situation at his current school, for whatever reason, can find a new school and be eligible to play immediately. Playing time is a big reason to transfer, but there are many others, from homesickness to family situations to wanting to prove themselves on a bigger stage.

Cons: The coach who recruited that athlete has to go find a new athlete to replace him, possibly someone else who transferred out of a situation he didn’t like. In addition, coaches looking to fill their roster may focus on transfers with established college credentials rather than high school players who have not proven they can handle the college game.

Covid: The 2020 college soccer season was canceled due to the pandemic, and this has had an impact on players transferring. Because players have five years to play four seasons, many graduating seniors now have an additional season left to compete. If their current college does not have a graduate program that fits their needs, they can consider transferring to a college that has their major, and whose coach wants them on his team. 


Will Fecci &; Hanna be recruited out of the portal to play their lost “Covid” year?


One rising phenomenon that’s gained popularity is an athlete having a successful season or tournament run and using that momentum to transfer to a bigger, better school. This can lead to a domino effect, where the coach loses a player and then dips down to recruit a player from a so-called lesser program.

There has been a lot of talk about academics as related to the transfer portal. That is oversold. College students transfer all the time now. If the student-athlete is serious about academics, he will focus on his education at whichever school he is at. If not, he will not focus on academics at his original school. Many of the players who transfer have already received their undergraduate degrees and transferred to attend graduate school.


Talking about academics – there are some smart players at Oneonta!


The coaches who work the transfer portal the best will have a huge advantage. Syracuse just won the D1 national championship with many of the key players have transferred from other schools. 

I believe the portal has more positives for athletes than negatives. If a player has potential but they are stuck behind a star or not getting the appropriate playing time, they move to a different school and have a bigger opportunity. 

On a final note, Oneonta had another great season in 2022 and finished as conference champions. The final, which we hosted, had a huge turnout and an exciting finish. Here below you can enjoy our victory in the penalty shootout to claim our 7th conference championship in the last eleven seasons!

Penalty shootout (Oneonta in white; GK in green) against Brockport from the 2022 SUNYAC Final 



I would be happy to answer questions you have about college soccer in the USA……Shoot straight to iain.byrne@oneonta.edu