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The Carthage College spirit team reveals Ember, the new Firebirds mascot, during Homecoming Weeke...

Why sacrifice anything? Here, it’s possible to continue playing the sport you love and get a first-rate education. About 30 percent of Carthage students discover the benefits of competing in our 28 varsity sports.

The Full College Experience

Balancing academic and athletic commitments is definitely doable, even in Carthage’s most time-intensive majors. Like nursing, athletic training, or, in the case of Maggie Thom ’25, neuroscience.

Outside of class, Maggie carved up her time among soccer, clubs, and her research. Tough? Sure. It just took planning and discipline.

Maggie Thom '25

“I chose Carthage because it felt like the right fit. The academics and athletics are what I was looking for.”

Maggie Thom ’25

Women’s Soccer

The Level of Competition

Newcomers quickly learn there’s nothing third-class about NCAA Division III athletics. More than 115 banners signify conference championships and top-eight national finishes over the past 25 years. Most teams compete in the strong College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.

The Chance to Play (really!)

Only one thing is assured here: a fair shake. Most of our coaches welcome new students to try out.

At most colleges, it’s varsity or bust. Here at Carthage, we let athletes continue to develop. The JV men’s soccer team, for example, plays a full 15-game schedule.

The Support

Cody Taylor ’09, M.Ed. ’14, the athletics liaison in our admissions office, can tell you firsthand what it’s like to be a Carthage student-athlete. He played soccer for Carthage.

“Student” comes first in the term student-athlete, so practices and workouts are scheduled around classes and labs whenever possible. Carthage teams’ average cumulative GPA is 3.2.

When obstacles appear, our campus-wide Student Outreach System alerts athletic staff, academic advisors, and others who team up with the student to form solutions.

“We have lots of longtime coaches. They stay for two reasons: a) They win, and b) They care about their students.”


Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid

Cody Taylor

The Adventures

Some away games stand out from the rest. Over academic breaks, Carthage teams frequently take out-of-state trips to tune up for the season, explore local landmarks, and boost their chemistry.

Occasionally, passports are needed. Recent destinations included Spain and Puerto Rico, along with a bunch of warm southern states.

Clayton Markech '24

“I traveled to Spain as a member of the football team and played a friendly game against a local team. It was a great experience because we got to go to another country, and we learned a lot about the history of Spain and the regions we visited.”

Clayton Markech ’24


The Connections

Athletics produces some of our most active alumni, successful professionals in many fields who know the type of work ethic they’ll get by hiring a fellow Carthaginian. It stands out to others, too. Reid Anderson ’20, who was a men’s golfer and president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, impressed Abbott Laboratories enough to reserve a spot in its finance rotational program after graduation.

Each sport also has its own discussion group on The Aspire Network, connecting students and graduates as part of our new career prep program.

“In every interview I ever had at Abbott [Laboratories], they always asked me about my role with the golf team … and any other connections I had to the Athletic Department, because they show leadership qualities.”


Men’s Golf

Reid Anderson '20