Don Stradling shares how highlight clips changed the recruiting game for his daughter.
On any given weekend, Don Stradling can be found on the sidelines of a soccer field, cheering for his daughter. A high school senior, she’s been playing soccer since she was six-years-old, and now competes for FC Pride, a top level Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) team out of Indianapolis. But last year, despite having years of experience and playing in one of the most competitive leagues in the country, the interest from college coaches was limited.
“She wasn’t really getting many looks. She had a few looks, but nothing serious,” Stradling said.
Fast forward to today, and Stradling’s daughter is now receiving interest from numerous college programs, being evaluated by coaches at showcase tournaments, and going on campus visits. What sparked the change? The answer, according to Stradling, is simple—Hudl.
“After she started using Hudl video, it definitely increased interest because coaches were able to narrow down the list and find out if she was a legitimate player or not for their school’s level. We’d send the link and her club coach also would send the link out to several college coaches as well. Almost always it entirely generated further interest.”
With more than three million youth soccer players in the U.S., it’s hard to for a player to stand out from the competition. Prior to creating highlight videos, his daughter was relying on chance to be seen by college coaches at tournaments.
“When coaches go to a tournament, they are watching a team for 15-20 minutes, so how do you really separate out who has the technical skills? It is very easy to miss kids,” Stradling said.
Sharing highlights to recruiters allowed his daughter to get noticed before tournaments even began.
“Using a highlight clip allows you to focus on key areas that college coaches are looking for,” said Stradling.
Players can tailor their highlights to each specific program’s style of play. If a school is known for their physical, competitive style, a player can share more clips of tackles and winning headers out of the air. If a program focuses more on the technical side, they’ll want to see clips of complete passes and ball control skills.
“You have to take the initiative upon yourself to demonstrate that you are a player that fits into the mold of what they are looking for,” Stradling said. “Now you have separated yourself from thousands of other kids in that moment”.
Since video allows Stradling’s daughter to prove her talent to coaches pre-tournament, she can focus on playing her best rather than any recruitment worries.
Stradling is adamant that players who don’t use video have a major disadvantage. His daughter experienced firsthand the significant difference Hudl made on her recruiting process, opening the door to playing collegiate soccer.
“I would just describe the use of film to college coaches as a critical part of the recruiting process. If you don’t have it, you are relying on luck to get seen. You really are. Being seen by the right person at the right time that’s just not the direction you want to go. It’s just not the most opportune way.”
The numbers back him up. Out of TopDrawerSoccer’s top 150 recruits for the 2019-21 classes, 92.7 percent use Hudl. The best players in the country understand the importance of video and are using it to market themselves.
Stradling’s only regret is not using video sooner. If a year of sending out videos generated this much interest for his daughter, what kind of interest could have been produced over multiple seasons?
Hudl can bridge the gap between where your child is and where they want to be.