USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the college recruiting process. Here, you’ll find practical tips and real-world advice on becoming a better recruit to maximize your opportunities and play at the college level. Jason Smith is a former NCAA DIII athlete and college coach at all three division levels. Jason is just one of many former college and professional athletes, college coaches and parents who are part of the Next College Student Athlete team. Their knowledge, experience and dedication, along with NCSA’s history of digital innovation and long-standing relationship with the college coaching community, have made NCSA the largest and most successful athletic recruiting network in the country.
A well-done soccer highlight video can be quite useful in attracting the attention of a coach. The more you are in front of potential coaches, the higher your chances are of getting recruited. It should be noted that coaches look for particular things in a highlight video, and your goal is to create a video that will “wow” a coach. With this in mind, the tips below will help you create a soccer highlight video that grabs coaches’ attention.
Take High-Quality Videos
Broken-up, low quality footage will turn a coach off from recruiting you. So before recording your soccer highlight video, ensure you get a camera that provides high-quality resolution. This will help you to create the best soccer highlight videos for coaches to recognize you easily. But if you are on a budget, a 720p or 1080p phone camera can be your best bet. Also, take into account that your video is recorded horizontally, with minimum shaking. For this reason, using a phone tripod or a standard video camera tripod will help you get the results you need.
Once you’ve obtained your shooting equipment, it’s imperative that you uphold good filming practices. These include finding the right angle for a clear view to capture the entire action at a close range. Keep cheering to a minimum, as sounds picked by your equipment can cause distractions in the highlight video.
Showcase your most valuable skills
Depending on your spot in the field, coaches will be on the lookout for different types of footages. Position players should film a highlight video with game footage. On the other hand, goalies are expected to create a soccer skills video and supplement it with game footage.
Keep it brief. Your video should be three to six minutes long, no matter what your position is.
In a soccer highlight video, it’s best to show the perspective of the field as much as possible. This will help coaches understand the ways you make choices on the field and play as part of a team. Think of the field in three parts: offensive, middle and defensive. During each play featured, you’ll want to show that entire section of the field — not just a close-up of yourself.
Identify yourself clearly
Include contact information. Include your name, phone number, school name, graduation year, team colors, jersey number, address, your coaches, and sport-specific measurements. Additionally, you may want to include your ACT/SAT scores and GPA. Display your awards and season averages at the start of your soccer highlight video.
Use sport shadows or arrows. Use an editing software to point out yourself in the film throughout the clip. You should identify yourself before your soccer clip starts playing. To do this, insert arrows or sport shadows within your soccer highlight video to signal to a coach who they should follow closely. Most preferably, use a sport shadow or an arrow to point to you one or two seconds before each clip to help the coach pick you out quickly. Ideally, use a spot shadow and pause the video before each play, and point out your position with an arrow.
Use the Best Clip First
Select only your best plays for your highlight video. Take into consideration the fact that coaches make up their mind within the first few seconds of watching a video. Meaning, if your video has nothing to capture their attention, it might as well be switched off. Your target within the first 30 seconds of your highlight video is to excite a coach with your athleticism and skill. To make the first-minute count, ensure you place your best 4-5 clips within the first 60 seconds of the video.
Don’t Add Music
Music doesn’t matter in a soccer highlight video. In any case, it will almost certainly be muted by the coach. Don’t forget that you are supposed to film and send a highlight video and not a music video.
Post Your Video Online
Post your soccer highlight video online for easy viewing by coaches. Upload it to a video-hosting like YouTube, Vimeo or Hudl before emailing the link to a coach of interest. Don’t mail DVDs unless asked by a coach.