Recap: Breaking Through the Clutter on the Soccer Recruiting Trail

Getting seen by col­lege coach­es is hard­er than ever. So we had a col­lege coach put togeth­er a game plan for you in this hour-long webinar.

Recap: Breaking Through the Clutter on the Soccer Recruiting Trail

Getting seen by col­lege coach­es is hard­er than ever. So we had a col­lege coach put togeth­er a game plan for you in this hour-long webinar.

The nation’s youngest pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty sits qui­et­ly in an Atlanta sub­urb, in an even qui­eter lev­el of com­pe­ti­tion, the NAIA. And yet, Georgia Gwinnett College head women’s soc­cer coach, Mike Giuliano, is tak­en aback by how many emails he gets from recruits.

Last year we got 2000 links to high­light reels,” he exclaimed. Count that. A school you’ve nev­er heard of got 2000 links last year. So just imag­ine how many the University of North Carolina gets.”

Today’s video capa­bil­i­ties make it eas­i­er than ever to show off your film. But get­ting it noticed is hard­er than ever. In an hour-long webi­nar host­ed by Hudl, Giuliano shared his tips and tricks with par­ents and ath­letes on how to stand out from the crowd on the recruit­ing trail.

Full of col­or­ful anec­dotes from over three decades of coach­ing per­spec­tive, Giuliano’s talk focused on two main themes:

Make it Personal

Nobody, Giuliano says, is get­ting a schol­ar­ship based on their first con­tact with a coach. But first impres­sions do go a long way.

For one, make sure the most trust­ed sources in your net­work are vouch­ing for you. For anoth­er — and this is one Giuliano says 80 per­cent of our recruits miss on this” — make sure your mes­sag­ing is per­son­al­ized. Say some­thing in your first inter­ac­tion that tells the coach you know about their school or pro­gram specifically.

Don’t let your par­ents do the talk­ing for you either. Make sure your first inter­ac­tion with a coach is in your own words, not theirs.

Do your own talk­ing, even if you’re shy,” Giuliano said. We don’t mind shy. A lot of my play­ers are shy. That’s no prob­lem at all.” 

And, by the way, be sure to keep that first email to the coach short. Giuliano says he rarely reads beyond the sec­ond line in an email. Make it short and sweet.

Make Those Precious First Seconds Count

With so many inquiries com­ing in, Giuliano esti­mates most coach­es will only watch the first 60 to 90 sec­onds of a high­light reel. That means in that first minute, he says, you have to knock their socks off.”

Got a 10-sec­ond clip that blows peo­ple away? Make that your very first slide. Leave the penal­ty kicks and five-yard throw-ins out. Showing your very best means not just those pret­ty goals, but clips that show your tal­ent on all areas of the pitch.

For attack­ers and defend­ers, this means one-on-one bat­tles and qual­i­ty head­ers. For mid­field­ers, show how you con­nect pass­es, change the point of attack and move off the ball. For keep­ers, that long clear-out might look cool, but it’s increas­ing­ly impor­tant to be able to play the ball to feet.

Treat this moment as an appe­tiz­er to get the coach­es inter­est­ed in learn­ing more about you.

This isn’t some movie that builds and builds and builds, and there’s an amaz­ing cli­max at the end,” Giuliano said. Don’t do that. Put your best moment forward.”

2:00 — Giuliano’s impres­sive resume

Four-time nation­al cham­pi­on. Eight-time nation­al coach of the year. Seventeen All-Americans. There’s a lot to unpack with Giuliano’s 30-year coach­ing journey.

3:50 — Personalizing your communications

Giuliano dish­es on the do’s and dont’s when reach­ing out to coach­es, and lays out a game plan for ath­letes look­ing to get on the radar:

  • How do I kick­start my recruiting?
  • How should I con­tact coach­es, and what can I do to stand out?
  • How impor­tant is gram­mar in my communications?
  • Anything I should not do when reach­ing out?

16:50 — Highlight reel guidelines

Giuliano takes us through how to make a killer reel that sticks out from the crowd:

  • What are the basics of a good high­light reel?
  • Things that aren’t in a high­light reel that should be?
  • How can I show my intan­gi­bles (lead­er­ship, char­ac­ter, etc.) in a video?
  • What should I not include in my high­light reel?

33:00 — Position-spe­cif­ic tips

Giuliano goes posi­tion-by-posi­tion on the essen­tial clips:

  • Players who play mul­ti­ple positions
  • Tips for attack­ing players
  • Midfielders
  • Defenders
  • Goalkeepers

41:50 — Q&A

Giuliano tack­les a few key questions:

  • As a high school coach, how can I help with the recruit­ing process?
  • I coach my own child. What’s the best way to communicate?
  • As a goal­keep­er, how do I show my vision and abil­i­ty to play with my feet?

46:15 — Top Recruiting Mistakes

Giuliano says to break these bad habits:

  • Using your par­ents as an agent
  • Describing your­self in soft generalizations
  • Only con­tact­ing schools you already have an extreme inter­est in
  • Failing to men­tion at least one very spe­cif­ic rea­son why you’re inter­est­ed in this par­tic­u­lar school
  • Email mishaps — a sure recruit­ing killer every time!
  • Not giv­ing enough details when ask­ing a coach to watch you play
  • Not con­tact­ing your top 10 schools often enough
  • Only lim­it­ing your choic­es to Division I

57:00 — More Q&A

Giuliano tack­les left­over ques­tions from the night:

  • Why is the major­i­ty of his team international?
  • When should we start the recruit­ment process, and when should we start send­ing highlights?
  • Advice for ris­ing seniors try­ing to get seen?
  • Is it worth it for keep­ers to include 1v1 footage out­side the 18-yard box?
  • Should fresh­men email coaches?
  • Are recruit­ing ser­vices worth it?

1:10:30 — A walk­through in Hudl

Now that you’ve got your blue­print for mak­ing a high­light reel, Jono Callaghan shows you how to build one in Hudl.