You will hear different answers to this question from coaches. Some say yes, some say no and some are indifferent. Coaches will always tell you that they prefer to see you play in person, but D3 coaches often have limited staff and budgets, so getting out to see all the players that are contacting them about playing soccer is often near impossible. Sometimes a video is the only way that a coach can see the player in action. And with the ever improving capabilities on your personal computer, it is not too difficult if you have a video camera and some creativity to make an interesting video.
For me, I classify videos I receive from players into three categories:
#1-Unwatchable. Examples of this include videos that are shaky, videos that are shot from such a distance that it is difficult to tell which player I am supposed to be watching, or videos that are just tapes of the entire game. The video is supposed to be about YOU, so I don’t want to, or need to, see all your teammates.
#2-Watchable, but not special. In this case, the video focuses on you, but there is nothing going on that seems impressive— you kick the ball, you receive the ball, you shoot the ball, you head the ball, and so on and so on. Most videos fall in this category.
#3-Interesting! This is where you want to be. You have shown me something that makes me want to see more of the video and see you play in person. One of the most creative videos I received was a player who filmed herself in an individual practice session! It started with her introducing herself and then went to her participating in a series of technical drills where she demonstrated her technical abilities. Also, she had two of her coaches talking about her as a player and a person. So in this video I got to “meet” the player (see her face, hear her voice), see her play a bit, and hear an evaluation from her coaches.
All of the videos that I watch are subject to the 90-Second Test. The 90-Second Test is this— I will watch a video and if I don’t see anything to put you in category #3 in about 90 seconds, I move on to the next one. As I said, most videos usually fall into category #2.
As a side note— forget about putting music with your video! Use the ambient sounds from the field or include some comments from a coach. Your musical tastes and the coach’s musical tastes rarely are the same—remember your audience.
Of course there are plenty of pay services where you can have a professional video done if you don’t have the time, know-how, or desire to do one on your own. There are plenty available by just doing an internet search. For those that are looking for this type of service, some sites that your might try are:
Bottom line is this— a recruiting video is not a make or break item at the D3 level. If you do a good one that a coach likes (and every coaches’ opinion is different), it should get you some more attention. If you present a video that is unwatchable or not special, it probably won’t exclude you from further recruiting, but it won’t spark any interest either. Make sure to have a third party watch your video to give an unbiased opinion.
If you have not taken our survey yet, please do so as we will be closing this one at the end of February and posting a new one soon. Any recruiting questions, please direct them to email@example.com.