My daughter is a rising senior who is being recruited right now for D3. She is talking with four schools and two look very promising, although no firm offer yet.
My daughter is not DA or ECNL, either, and has very strong academic credentials. The process has taught me some things. If you want to play soccer above all else, there is almost always a school out there for you.
My daughter was picky about academics, location, reviews, etc., though, so she targeted just a handful of D3 schools (maybe 8 to start?). Her thought is that if she doesn’t get an offer to play at a D3 that ticks all her boxes, she will attend one of the large D1 schools she likes, ideally with a merit scholarship.
I think that targeted approach was helpful in our case. She was active in keeping up with what was happening with those teams (because there weren’t that many and the initial list quickly dropped to about 5). She emailed coaches at those schools on a regular basis. She sent them an updated profile page/resume from time to time, she sent out a highlight video, she sent out game schedules, she filled out the online recruiting questionnaires.
That kept her on the radar and generated some initial calls/communication. But most importantly she went to the ID/college prospect camps held at her three top choices. That was the most helpful in generating increased interest (follow-up calls and invites). She also played with her club team at college showcase tournaments and invited coaches to come — several came specifically to watch her.
We still don’t know how/if it will work out, but she’s received more attention than I thought she might starting with a fairly short list. A lot of advisors will tell you to take more of a shotgun approach to increase odds of an offer, but my daughter was comfortable going a different direction if her top D3 choices didn’t work out. Based on our experience, regular emails and ID camps are the way to go.