Posted On October 13, 2010 by PUSC
By Tim Nash
A video of your soccer prowess can get a college coach’s attention, but unless you do it right, your video will get the eject button.
Whether you’re hoping for a soccer scholarship or simply trying to give a college another reason to admit you, sending a soccer video along with you soccer resume to college coaches may be worth the effort. A video won’t automatically open doors (and it isn’t a substitute academic or soccer credentials), but it can be a great way to introduce yourself–and make an impression.
One problem: Coaches get more videos than they have time to look at. Unless your video is good, coaches won’t watch it all–even if you’re the next Tab Ramos or Mia Hamm.
“The more time someone puts into preparing the video, the more likely I am to look at it,” Ohio State head women’s coach Lori Henry says. “If its just thrown together, I don’t have time to look at it.”
A well-made soccer video showcases a player in game situations. But many candidates make one of two mistakes: They produce either a collection of game snippets or a long and full game-length video.
“Players feel the need to show their best plays,” says Princeton University coach Bob Bradley. “But most coaches are looking beyond just a good play or two. I want to see how a player handles himself on the field. Coaches get wonderful highlight clips put to catchy music, but that just doesn’t mean much.”
Nor do coaches like to receive two-hour game tapes.
“We don’t have time to watch a tape where someone’s daughter touches the ball only a half-dozen times in a game,” says Lori Henry. “The tapes I like to watch are the ones where the players have gone out of their way to research all the games they have played and have picked out good environments to showcase themselves.”
What to include
Make sure your video shows more than your dribbling and scoring. Coaches are interested in your defensive play, how you handle the ball under pressure, your passing skills and other things, such as on-field communication and what you do when you don’t have the ball.
Juggle for the camera. “Kids think it’s kind of corny, but for us to see a person touch the ball 150 times within a three-minute span really gives us a good idea of what the kid is like,” says April Kater, head coach of Syracuse University’s new women’s program.
Goalkeepers should include a variety of the saves they have made. Coaches realize that almost anybody can catch a ball hit right at him. They want to see you diving low, diving high, handling crosses, stopping one-on-ones and punting.
Be sure to label your tape with your name, address, phone number, position, team’s name, and jersey number. “You don’t know how many videos we get where the players give their names, but don’t tell us who they are on the video,” says April Kater.
Don’t ask a coach to return your video. Copies are inexpensive and can be made at home if you have access to two VCRs.
Finally, send a schedule of your games and tournaments with your video. Some coaches may actually come out and watch you play.
Should you make your own video?
Making a good video takes skill, equipment and tapes of your games. If your family has a camcorder and a VCR, and you and a parent or a friend want to give it a try, take time to read the equipment manuals and visit the library to find out as much as you can about producing a video. If you don’t have the time of the inclination to do the job yourself, you could hire a video company to do it for you. Ask your coach if he knows of a company, or check the local yellow pages under “Recording Service-Sound & Video” and “Video Production Services.”
A professionally produced video can include music, a title, an introduction, and even a greeting from the player. But be forewarned: They are expensive. Most video companies charge between $50 and $60 per hour (with a half-hour minimum) to edit a video from game tapes. Rates for taping vary across the country, but it could cost as much as $200 to tape and edit a game. That’s not with in your budget? Then check out the audiovisual department at your high school. A student may be willing to tape and edit your tape for free as a school project or for a lower fee than the pros would charge. Or, several families with team members could share the cost of having game tapes shot professionally. The tapes can then be edited separately for each player.
Are videos essential?
Unlike your GPA and your high school transcript, a soccer video is not a requirement. Don’t feel that your college application will be weak in you don’t send one. Rutgers University coach Bob Reasso says he is more interested in a player’s resume and references than he is in seeing a video. Mike Noonan, head
coach at Brown University, says, “A tape gives a coach an idea of the type of player and the level he is playing at, but it’s very difficult to gauge other things such as speed, on tape. In an era of advanced technology, we sometimes forget how important it is to meet face-to-face.