College Soccer Players Scoring Deals in the NIL Era

7 min read

With Name, Image and Likeness remaining one of the hottest topics in collegiate sport nearly three years on from historic legislation being passed, soccer players from across the States are benefitting from the financial rewards now on offer as a student-athlete.

Whilst not hitting the headlines of America’s foremost sports such as American Football or Basketball, many brands are turning to the soccer market to identify influential athletes from the beautiful game. And with the interest in soccer continuing to trend upwards as the countdown to the 2026 World Cup reaches fever pitch, it’s a great time for soccer players to be positioning themselves in the marketplace.

“Name, Image and Likeness has been a game changer in college sport and many athletes are taking advantage of the opportunities to earn money while being a student,” said FirstPoint USA’s CEO Andrew Kean.

“Although the media focus has been on some of the higher profile stars, NIL is something that everyone can get involved with, whether it’s a deal with a major brand, engaging with your local restaurant or investment from your university’s collective. Having a strong social media profile is key and seeing yourself as a professional athlete, or your own brand. You don’t have to be with a top D1 university, you can push your way into the market from any level with the right tools, which FirstPoint can provide.”

We take a look at a few of college soccer’s rising stars and teams who have been riding the NIL wave in recent seasons.

Mia Bhuta – Stanford University: Adidas

Stanford’s Mia Bhuta was one of adidas’s first NIL signings, teaming up with the global sportswear giants as a first-year student. She has been with the US Youth National Team for much of her career and has been recognized as the first Indian-American soccer player for the US women’s soccer team in the FIFA World Cup. Since signing with Adidas, Bhuta has been a part of their back-to-school campaign.

Ally Sentnor – University of North Carolina: Nike

UNC’s midfield/forward standout, Ally Sentnor, signed with Nike a few months into the NIL open market and as an impactful player for the U-20 Youth National Team, the sophomore has already been promoting Nike. She’s been doing fantastic work to promote student-athletes voices and their stories through a deal with UNCUT, UNC’s platform for student-athletes.

Ally Lemos – UCLA: Adidas

UCLA Midfielder Ally Lemos was the first female athlete to sign with Steinberg Sports & Entertainment, an sports management agency that now represents her to find NIL deals. Lemos is ranked number 22 overall by Top Drawer Soccer and helped UCLA win the 2022 Women’s College Cup National Championship.

Ally signed one of the first NIL deal with Adidas as she entered her second season with UCLA as a midfielder. She recently attended the ESPYs after a nomination for best goal from her first season with UCLA. Lemos has been an important aspect for both scoring and assisting. Lemos was also featured in Adidas’s back-to-school campaign.

Jericho Frigon – Kansas State University: Sporting KC

Jericho Frigon has leveraged her social media following and lifelong soccer fandom into a NIL deal with Sporting KC. With the announcement of Sporting U NIL, @sportingkc became one of the first professional sporting organizations to offer NIL deals to student-athletes.

Alyssa and Giselle Thompson – Harvard-Westlake High School: Nike

Nike signed the first-ever High School NIL deal with sisters Alyssa and Giselle Thompson. The duo signed a multi-year deal with Nike for an undisclosed amount. Both sisters have played with the USYNT, with Alyssa making her USWNT debut this fall. They are both committed to playing at Stanford University.

McKenna “Mak” Whitham – Home School: Nike

Nike signed their youngest women’s soccer player and youngest athlete in any sport to an NIL deal. She is currently home schooled and will graduate with the class of 2028. She plays in the USWNT U15s and has been training with various NWSL teams.

Michigan State Women’s Soccer Team: Charitable Gift America

This is Sparta!, an NIL collective under the organization Charitable Gift America, signed a team-wide NIL deal with the Michigan State Women’s Soccer team. Each student-athlete received $2,500 in January, followed by another $5,000 next fall.

JaNiya Stevens  - University of Tennessee at Chattanooga: VfL Wolfsburg

German Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg became the first European professional sports team to sign a student-athlete to an NIL contract. JaNiya Stevens, a junior forward soccer player from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, will be spearheading the German club's NIL program "StrongHER U." The collegiate program is an extension of Wolfsburg's StrongHER initiative, which began in 2022. StrongHER is, "a flagship project to raise awareness about the unfair conditions for female athletes and actively provide access to soccer training, mentoring and education for girls and women of all backgrounds."

Florida Gators Women’s Soccer Team: Athlicity

Five members of Florida's soccer team have tapped into NIL opportunities with, a fitness apparel brand based out of Gainesville. Florida soccer's Josie Curtis, Lauren Donovan, Lauren McCloskey, Ashley Tutas and Madison Young all signed deals with Athlicity, which will provide the five players with training apparel, as well as financial compensation, in exchange for advertising on social media. Together, the five soccer players signing with Athlicity have more than 12,500 combined Instagram followers and 44,500 TikTok followers.

University of Cincinnati Women’s Soccer: Altius Sport

The University of Cincinnati women’s soccer program has hired Gregg Harrell from Altius Sport to be their NIL advisor. Interview with Bearcats soccer Vanessa Dinardo, who secured a deal with Kroger Plus through Influencer.

Duke University Men’s Soccer Team: Boosta

Boosta Training, an interactive step-by-step teaching-learning system, has teamed up with the Duke University men’s soccer team and head coach, John Kerr. Their partnership will allow current student-athletes of Duke University’s men’s soccer program to provide exclusive access to 1-to-1 training content and personalized feedback to users of the program. A first of its kind, Boosta and Duke University men’s soccer team partnership signifies Coach John Kerr’s commitment to providing opportunities for his student-athletes in the NIL era.

To find out more about FirstPoint USA’s NIL support services, click here.




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