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Friday Scholarship Guide

Make A College Soccer Recruiting Video


In many cases, putting together a college soccer recruiting video is going to be one of the most important things for you to do during your recruiting process. Before we dive into how you to best go about this task in today's edition of the Friday Scholarship Guide, let's make sure you understand if you are one of the athletes who should definitely prepare a video or not.

  • As for many other sports, the absolutely strongest players will receive a lot of attention very early on, which makes them the most heavily recruited athletes. If you happen to be such a player, chances are coaches come to watch big games during tournaments or championships, which obviously gives them the best possible way of seeing your skills firsthand.
  • Also, if you happen to attend a showcase/clinic at some point during your junior/senior year, coaches get the chance to review you extensively over a longer period of time.
Both of these alternative routes may make putting together a movie of yourself somewhat less important or perhaps even unnecessary. But if you're neither being scouted actively nor planning on attending showcases/clinics, there is no reason not to get to work.

Collect Game Footage

Here is a common scenario:

A solid soccer player decides in the summer between junior and senior year that he would like to go to college a year from now - in the fall following his senior year. "Awesome, let's put together your highlights reel: how many matches of you have been filmed over the last couple of months or so? Zero? Oh boy ..."

In order to avoid such a situation, timely preparation is absolute key! More on "timely" in 3 Reasons Starting Early is Key in Getting Recruited

1. Get Clips of Games

Now, there are essentially 3 sources of game footage and or ways how you can go about collecting:

  • Your Team
    For team development reasons, such as working on tactical concepts with the players, coaches and or media analysts may record some of your home (and away) games. If you happen to play for such a team, you can call yourself lucky. Less work for you and good game footage.
  • Tournament Organizer & Championships Organizer
    Say, your team qualified for state championships, regional tournaments or was invited to an invitational tournament, chances are the organizers/hosts of the event will provide game footage to participating teams.
  • Family & Friends
    Last but not least, getting family and friends behind the camera and having them keep the camera on the game (not you!) is another excellent way of collecting additional game footage.
Collecting footage is just the first step of getting prepared:

2. Quality of the Clips

Reviewing the quality of the footage is the next step. Here's why:

  • Format
    Let's get this straight, a video taken on your cell phone is not going to be the best format. In case you're opting for friends or family to support you, don't have somebody record games with a cell phone, unless you have absolutely no way of getting access to a proper camera. It's not only about the format though, but more about that in a second.
  • Resolution
    It's probably easy for you to tell which player you are on the screen, but if the quality is not good enough, it may even be impossible to recognize your jersey number for outsiders.
  • Stabilization
    No one likes watching a shaky video, it's a simple as that. We can guarantee you that nobody is able to hold a cell phone camera (or regular camera) without moving for 90 minutes. Get a tripod which allows you to stabilize the footage, while making sure the game is being followed moving from left to right.
  • Focus
    The focus of the game footage should not be on you. Also, do not zoom in/out, unless the game action is on the other side of the pitch. Think of game footage to be covering as much as possible of the entire soccer field, in a way comparable to what you see watching soccer on TV. Coaches need to comprehend the entire situation, which is evolving on the field in order to properly assess what you display in the various game clips.
If you review available video material along these criteria, you may have to decide that some of it does not qualify for your final selection of scenes for the recruiting video. And here's another very important thing: check so you're allowed to use the video material, which is obviously no problem if somebody close to you films you.


3. Select Relevant Scenes

After you've made sure the quality of the footage is good enough, you can move on to the next step: choosing relevant game scenes. Depending on where you get the videos from, there are essentially two ways how to go about that:

  • Third-Party Material From Team/Club/Tournament Organizers
    Review the material and write down specific scenes that are relevant to present. Here is an example of how you could do that:
    Game vs. Team A: 13.01 - 13.20 mins: counter attack
    Game vs. Team A: 01.25.45 - 01.25.55 hours: shot on goal
  • Family & Friends
    If you obtain game footage yourself, ask the person to write down relevant scenes during the game. It may be difficult and too stressful for the person and you can always review it right afterwards yourself, but this could be an efficient way of getting a pre-selection of relevant scenes done early on.
  • Your Position
    Depending on the position you are playing on (or would like to get recruited to play on), your scene selection should reflect that. Coaches typically don't expect a center back to shoot brilliant free kicks, but rather show physical presence and clearing skills. A #6 on the other hand may not need to be the most creative player, with coaches looking for passing abilities, stability and tactical game understanding. Understand that coaches look to understand what you'd be able to contribute (= your potential) going forward, when selecting relevant scenes!
You're not going to play on the same level every single game of the year, which is why some games could contain a load of great game moments, whereas others have zero to none. Typically 2-5 games are a good number to base a well-done recruiting video on, as this allows showing your versatility against different opponents.

What do you do in case you simply don't have enough match footage available?

Coaches will always prefer game over practice footage, but if you feel that the selection of clips is a little too weak or doesn't fully reflect your potential, get on the field and get some more filming done. For goalkeepers, definitely get practice on top of match clips.

Finish Your Final Soccer Video

When it comes to the final editing of the video, you can get a lot of things done right, but you can also get a lot of things wrong, which will have an impact on coaches' experience, once they review your skills. Here're a few things to keep in mind during the process:

  • Winning Introduction
    Say a few words to the coaches before you start out with the first game clips: who are you, where are you from, which club/team do you play for, etc. We're talking 10-15 seconds at most!
  • Show Your Specific Skill Set
    You can decide to organize the selected game clips according to the specific skills (passing, scoring, shooting, defending, etc.), but you could also decide to show all game clips of one game before moving on to the second game, etc.
  • Short & to the Point
    Do show enough before and after the particular scene for coaches to understand in what way the situation evolves, which will help them assess what you do in a much better way.
    Don't include more than around 20 clips, which will typically lead to your video being around 5-7 minutes long.
  • Professional Touch
    Help coaches "follow you" by using circles or arrows. Definitely include contact details somewhere in the video (e.g. at the end of the video).
Lastly, it's OK to get help. Whether that's mum and dad or a friend of yours helping with the video, there are also companies like us who offer to assist with the process of making a strong college highlights video. Here on Smarthlete you can do two things:
  • Sign up with a free recruiting profile on Smarthlete.
  • Get in touch with us at contact@smarthlete.com in oder to speak to one of the recruiting experts, who will happily speak all things college soccer & highlights video with you.