College Recruiting

Recording Soccer Games to Overcome the Division I Recruiting Dead Period

How to use soccer game video recordings to give yourself an edge in the college recruiting process.

by Tim Bennett

A veteran of the college and youth soccer ranks. 24 years at the Division I level as a player, assistant coach, associate head coach, and Head Coach in such conferences as the Big 12, SEC, PAC 12 and the Big East. Served as an ECNL staff coach, US Soccer Development Academy Director and an Executive Director at the club level.

With NCAA recruiters prohibited from attending showcases and league games through at least the end of 2020, youth soccer players are scrambling to find new methods and technologies to navigate the unprecedented recruiting landscape. 

Because Division I recruiters can’t attend matches in-person, teams are searching for technologies to help them film, edit, and share soccer game film with recruiters. Trace rolls all of these services into one system.

The value of soccer camera systems like Trace have never been greater. Many clubs have had limited games or even no games at all for the 9-month period since COVID began its spread, so it’s critical to record every remaining moment for the rest of the year, which is why we see Clubs now filming every single match. If they are using Trace they can easily share all game footage and highlights much more quickly, reliably, and cheaply than other services that require a person to film the game and someone to manually edit the game film after. 

Teams that use Trace can easily organize their best moments with Trace iD. This makes it even easier to share game film with recruiters. Using the Trace system, players automatically receive all key moments after the match, in addition to full game video. Trace is the only platform that supports this hybrid model of individual moments and full game footage. Players can quickly add moments to their Trace iD so recruiters can monitor the player’s development and watch them improve over time.

Should youth soccer players attend showcase tournaments? 

This is the question players and parents around the country are asking. Showcase events are designed to give youth soccer players the opportunity to play in front of college coaches from around the country to be recruited. But since the coaches are not there, should club teams or individual guest players even bother attending? 

The answer is a resounding yes

Showcases are fantastic ways to get noticed by recruiters even if they are not attending in person. If the team is using Trace, all individual moments will be delivered to players and can be passed on to recruiters. Some tournaments are even live-streaming tournaments, although there is no data yet on how many recruiters are watching these live streams, let alone how many would be able to watch a full showcase to spot a player’s specific highlights. 

How can youth soccer players get noticed by top-tier college recruiters? 

  1. Tape your training sessions. With fewer opportunities for actual matches, these moments can be very valuable for a recruiter. The NCAA dead period is an across-the-board rule because certain states that do allow youth soccer could be at an unfair recruiting advantage over colleges in states in states with more restrictions. Coaches understand that players have limited options, so they are more open to assessing non-match footage to make recruiting decisions. 
  2. Collect your pre-pandemic footage. Sending recruiters soccer game film is better than sending no footage at all. 
  3. Get comfortable with video calls and prep your answers for college coaches. Make sure you have a solid line of communication with your coaches so they can coordinate with recruiters that you’re communicating with. 
  4. Be willing to travel to play games. Since some states are requiring that youth sports maintain 6 feet of distance between players even during practice sessions, many serious contenders for recruiting are packing up their cleats and their masks to travel to showcase tournaments to keep their game sharp and to find opportunities to record their best moments. 
  5. Be open to guest-playing in tournaments. Most of the major showcase tournaments, such as US Youth Soccer, have information publicly available on how you can register to be a guest player and get placed on a team. Get in the game, even if you’re unfamiliar with the way a team players, because this adaptability will be that much more impressive to top-tier recruiters. 
  6. Make the initial point of contact with coaches. Since recruiters are spending more time watching highlight videos and zero time attending showcase tournaments, players must be proactive in their outreach. Remember to follow NCAA rules around communication, and check out our “Guide to Emailing College Coaches.” 
  7. Create a soccer highlight video that stands out. Read through this resource on Trace Academy for strategies for creating soccer highlight videos for recruiting. 

Above all, remember to have fun with the game. COVID-19 may be interrupting your current soccer season and causing a logistical nightmare, but the college recruiting process is still happening. We talked a lot about Division I recruiting, but NCAA II, III, Junior College and NAIA are in their standard recruiting calendars and have fewer restrictions, if any. 

Even so, the value of soccer game video recordings are tremendous, during a pandemic or during normal times. Soccer cameras equip players with awesome game footage, a method for analyzing game film, and memories that will last a lifetime. 

Watch our recent live session with USYS on
“Key Strategies for College Soccer Recruiting in 2020”

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