Thanks @mwfan – I can’t believe I missed a men’s soccer recruiting post!
Were you able to play games in the fall? In the end, for the 21’s, that’s all many players had for their highlight videos and that was OK (i.e. their highlight video was of their junior high school season).
What level D3 soccer are you aiming for? A top 10 program, or a lower level program? Stronger programs finish their recruiting earlier, so for 21’s those programs are long done. However for 22’s you’ve got plenty of time.
I always recomend “The Athletic Scholarship Playbook” (about $15 on Amazon) because it sets out the recruiting process really clearly, even if you aren’t going for a scholarship.
Given a finite amount of time, I would focus on the highlight video, and sending it out to every single school you might be remotely interested in. So, like 50+ schools. Heresy, but I wouldn’t spend time on recruiting questionaires, my son often didn’t fill them out and if he did they never generated a response. Of course if a coach asks you to you should.
When you are sending out your highlight video, you’ll want a short email introducing yourself. Make the strongest case possible for yourself – if you have great grades, include your GPA, or maybe even your unofficial transcript. If you have awards, list them. If you’ve been mentioned in news stories, link to the articles etc.
Make a spreadsheet, and keep track of every email you send out and any response. This is very time consuming, and I did this part of my son’s recruiting effort.
Programs are also looking for full game video, so hopefully you have that. They want to see you playing against tough competition, not looking great against a really weak opponent.
Agree with those that say follow up after sending your initial email. I doubt my son would have called a coach that had not replied, but if you do I agree it would make you stand out.
While there isn’t much going on right now in terms of playing opportunities, there very well may be this coming summer and that will not be too late for you to be seen. If there are opportunities your parents feel are safe, always take them, you never know who will be there and what will happen.
If you are active on Twitter by all means go ahead and follow coaches/programs etc although I will say my son never did any of that, and the only kids I heard of using that technique were high level D1 players. But there is no one single path to recruiting!
In terms of recommendations, I would guess they are most effective when the college coach knows the recommending coach, and it is more personal. If your club or high school coach can reach out to a college coach and say “This kid is perfect for your program, you really have to take a look at him” that would be invaluable. There aren’t that many high school/club coaches with that level of connectedness and credibility though, so lucky you if you have one.
Recommendations are also helpful at the very end of the process. Like, the college coach has seen you play and likes what he sees, and now wants a fuller picture of you, what are you like off the field, what’s your character, or work ethic like etc.
Recruiting is a roller coaster with a lot of ups and downs, so get ready! If you have questions about a particular program feel free to PM me, my son was in touch with a bunch of schools and if I can shed any light I would be happy to.