Highlight Reel - You Need One
About a year and a half ago, I wrote an article addressing the need for a highlight reel. I interviewed about thirty (30) coaches. At that time, I was surprised to find that many coaches and scouts were not a fan of these. They felt these didn't give enough information to be useable. You can access that article here.
Today, I will tell you, YOU NEED A HIGHLIGHT REEL
Since COVID, we are living in a different time. Because of the travel restrictions created by this pandemic, a highlight reel is your best vehicle to get in front of a coach.
Don't worry about needing a fancy video camera. I've seen some reels that were made on i-phones that look as if they were professionally made. There are a lot of neat programs that can help you put video together.
Alternatively, you can look at a site like fiverr. One of my sons friends had a great looking video put together for ten dollars from a young man in Sweden. With tip and the cost of using fiverr, he still paid less than $15.
What Should be in a Highlight Reel
Start with a photograph and basic information.
- Birth Year
- Preferred foot
I would let this image stay on the screen for the first few seconds of your highlight reel. If you watch my son's reel, you will see that it starts with the name of his club at the that time. I had a gentleman in the club media department create this. That is why this is there.
The entire video should not be more than 4-5 minutes in length.
Add some sound. I would be hesitant to use the live noise from actual play, you don't know what you might catch. If you do use music, check that there are no copyright restrictions.
Start strong. Don't wait thinking you will build up to your best moments. You may only have a few seconds in which to catch the scouts' interest.
Mix up what you are showing. Do not focus only on clips of yourself scoring, if you had some good dribbling or passes, show that as well.
I have had several coaches and scouts tell me they like it when a player shows an assist or that they passed the ball appropriately. It not only shows a lack of selfishness but indicates a willingness to be a team player.
Here is a link to one of my son's highlight reels. This was made last summer when he was 17.
One BIG thing he had two separate scouts - from two different provinces point out is that there are no examples of him behaving defensively in this video. They felt it would have been beneficial to show his defense skills, even though he primarily plays attacking mid.
Close the highlight reel with your contact information. It is best to offer more than one way to be in touch.
When you are creating your video, make certain the player can be identified. If you are a United States player, it is likely that your school utilizes HUDL. Ask. If you have a HUDL account, they have a great feature that allows you to put a circle around yourself at the start of each clip. This can help identify where the coach needs to look and who they are focusing on.
Otherwise, see if you can use an arrow or some other method of identifying your player.
Once you have your highlight reel ready, you should upload it to youtube. There are several reasons to do this. Not only will it be easy to grab and share but as you get more viewers, it reflects this. If a coach sees that 500 people have looked at your reel, they may be more interested than if only 12 have viewed it.
Don't let numbers paralyze you. This is something we didn't realize before, and my son used to share his video off a plain link instead of referring it back to where we placed it on youtube.
Be proactive. You need to share your highlight video with as many people as possible. If you have an instagram account, post a link. If you have LinkedIn or twitter, post a link and share it with coaches and scouts you connect with.
For every school you are interested in, include a link to your highlight reel with your communications to the coach. Coaches may receive several hundred links to reels and games over the course of a recruiting season. They don't always have time to watch every full game.
They will usually make the time to watch a highlight reel and if you pique their interest, they can either ask for full game footage or make arrangements to watch you play.
Full Game Footage
A scout will most likely not invite you to a trial on the basis of your highlight reel alone. They will most likely request full game footage and a Soccer CV.
If a professional scout is interested in you, they will typically ask if you have full game footage. It is best to have this be as current as possible. Obviously, you want to have footage from a game where you played well.
If you know your games are recorded, be mindful of your behavior off the pitch as well as on it. Some scouts will purposefully watch videos to see how players behave when they are off the pitch. If they are on the bench, are they following what is going on in the game? Are they present? Are they being supportive or complaining?
Recently, a top scout for Manchester United cut a scouting trip short because he didn't like the player's haircut. You can read about that here. Your player may want to showcase his individuality by his choice of hairstyle but bear in mind that some coaches and scouts are old school and may not take well to it.
It may be helpful to create a youtube channel where some of these videos can be stored. It makes it easy to grab the link and share when asked.