Rule the Pitch, Roll in the Offers: A Guide to Recruiting

Let a col­lege coach tell you exact­ly what he’s look­ing for in a high­light video, and how to make a good first impres­sion so you can jump­start the recruit­ing process. 

Rule the Pitch, Roll in the Offers: A Guide to Recruiting

Let a col­lege coach tell you exact­ly what he’s look­ing for in a high­light video, and how to make a good first impres­sion so you can jump­start the recruit­ing process. 

The recruit­ing land­scape has changed dra­mat­i­cal­ly in recent years. It has always been high­ly com­pet­i­tive, but the field has been lev­eled through the use of tools like Hudl along­side social media, all in an effort to help play­ers gain exposure.

Showcasing your tal­ent to scouts at high­er lev­els has nev­er been eas­i­er, but what exact­ly are they look­ing for that can help you stand out from the crowd?

We sat down with Bridgewater State University coach Brendan Adams, the 2014 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, to talk high­lights, how to catch the eyes of scouts and much more.

Club vs. High School

In the mod­ern game, espe­cial­ly in the old­er age groups, many pre­fer to play for their local club over their school if the sea­sons over­lap. The com­pe­ti­tion in league and tour­na­ment play with a club team might be high­er than that of the high school, but Adams stressed the impor­tance of show­cas­ing both. 

I just think that it’s an added way, for a kid that plays both high school and club, for us to go see them play,” said Adams. It might not be at the high­est lev­els, but that’s why it’s impor­tant to see both. How they han­dle the speed of the game and all of that good stuff, but I think it’s just more about get­ting a chance to see the kids play.”

The Power of a Highlight

Highlights are crit­i­cal in get­ting recruit­ed and cre­at­ing buzz for your game. It’s many coach­es’ first glance at how you con­duct your­self on the pitch, so that only increas­es the impor­tance of hav­ing a pol­ished piece to show off. I do get a lot of the high­lights, and see a lot with Hudl,” said Adams. I can go online, do a Google search and usu­al­ly I’ll find his name with Hudl high­lights on there. Then I have a bet­ter clue as to what this kid is all about when it comes time to active­ly recruit him.”

Recruiters are con­stant­ly in con­tact with coach­es, so it is cru­cial that you have an up-to-date high­light ready to share at a moment’s notice. It can make all the difference. 

But what should you include? It’s impor­tant to stand out, so make sure you include bits that show off your com­plete make­up on the field of play. I think it’s impor­tant that they show a wide range of how they play the ball, some of those basic skills,” said Adams. It’s some­thing on high­lights that I’d love to see. If you’re set­ting up a high­light for a kid, men­tion that it’d be nice to show­case a full body of work. I’d like to think I’m not the only one that wants to see kids play­ing with both feet, things like that.”

For exam­ple, for­wards should show off things like fin­ish­ing abil­i­ty in front of goal, the runs they make off the ball to find and cre­ate space and their abil­i­ty to hold the ball up for team­mates. Midfielders should show­case their abil­i­ty to dic­tate the pace and play of the game through video. I think it’s impor­tant to show your­self so that we don’t lose you [on film],” said Adams. Tell your sto­ry on how you are as a player.”

Value of a Good First Impression

You hear it all the time — the first impres­sion is every­thing, and that’s the truth when it comes to recruit­ing. The first time a recruiter gets in con­tact with you could make or break their deci­sion to offer you, so make sure you know how to inter­act with them. 

One of the skills you can’t pick up on (in a high­light) is how much they com­mu­ni­cate,” said Adams. Personally, in this day and age peo­ple fall back on tex­ting or email and you don’t even hear a con­ver­sa­tion. If you have a cen­ter back, one of the things I’m going to look for is how much they talk, and if they’re not, then is that some­thing that’s going to hurt at the next level?”

There’s no deny­ing the pow­er of social media, but make your social media a tool that helps you in recruit­ing, not one that hurts your poten­tial. Keep your social media chan­nels clean and clear of clut­ter that might turn some­one off to you. Let it be an avenue that shows off your character.

The Big Picture

  1. If you play for your club and for your high school, make sure they get a chance to see you play in both envi­ron­ments, whether that’s in-per­son or via video.
  2. Utilize the pow­er of video to show off your full arse­nal. Take the time to craft a high­light that show­cas­es every­thing you can offer a pro­gram on the pitch.
  3. Quality video goes a long way. Make sure that they can iden­ti­fy you on the pitch through spot shad­ows and call-outs. Make your­self pop off the screen.
  4. Take own­er­ship of the process. Reach out to the schools you want to attend, but do so in a way that demon­strates initiative.
  5. Keep your social media chan­nels clean. Use it as a tool that shows off your char­ac­ter.

Now it’s time for you to put every­thing into action. Get start­ed by cre­at­ing a pre­mi­um high­light, and share that thing out on social. (Mention @HudlFootball and we’ll RT a few of our favorites.)