Many may disagree, but I think social media has a very limited impact on college soccer recruiting, if it has an impact at all. It is mostly noise and hype. In certain sports, like college football, having a presence on Twitter has become real and most football coaches use Twitter to Direct Message (DM) recruits. Part of this is because American football does not have a club season, so football prospects only play for their high school and so much of football recruiting is done on video only. Coaches often don’t have the opportunity to see recruits play live because of the traditional college game schedule, so there is limited time to be seen and showcase your talents and abilities..
Soccer is a year-round sport and college coaches want to see for themselves if you are the right fit. They have plenty of time to see prospects play in the offseason. If a coach is interested in you, they will want to see you play in person.
Many prospects I work with ask me, “Should I get a social media account or use it in recruiting?” I really don’t think it is important and I think recruiting via social media just doesn’t happen for college soccer. Coaches use social media to sell their team’s brand and culture to recruits. There are some college programs that put out they have a recruiting need on social media. Personally, I would be leery of this. If a team is desperate enough to announce to the masses they need players, they are probably not a very good program, a little desperate or a combination of both!
Then there is so much misinformation on social media, not to mention the PRESSURE about recruiting and the so called “experts advice”.
You don’t have to post a picture of you attending a camp and thanking a coach. Trust me, when 300 kids attend a camp they don’t look at every kid who posted and that changes if they are going to recruit you or not. And as much as it might help the ego and to show the world you are at a camp – the reality is a lot of kids I see post a thank you after a camp on a campus aren’t even getting recruited by that school…so really what have they done. The post is free advertisement for the camp/program and they can get even more kids to attend these camps. It adds pressure to yourself and others that think they need to do this. Some even think this will get you recruited by other schools – I ask, do you really want MORE fake camp invites. Ask yourself, were you really invited to that camp or did you just pay hundreds to attend and have no real conversation with the coaches? You want to know what really might make a difference, a handwritten thank you note after a camp and or a follow up phone call to the coach, not a social media post after a camp.
I also can’t help but cringe when recruits post that they were “offered” by a certain school. While you may think that this is elevating your value, this can have a negative effect and send the message to other programs that you are publicly considering multiple programs. You are just adding pressure to yourself. Putting out a social media post that you were offered can be fun for the ego….but it can also get a lot of questions. It’s not worth it on so many levels. There is a false narrative out there that if you post you are offered by one school you can get more offers. In my 25+ years of coaching, I have NEVER seen this be true. It’s one thing to publicly announce your commitment to a program, but announcing an “offer” sends the wrong message to college coaches, in my professional opinion. I find it painful to witness and this is really more about ego, not about recruiting and it even puts a “target on your back” when you are playing.
I see prospects tagging college programs on their posts and highlights. Just because you “tag” a college soccer program or they follow you back doesn’t necessarily translate to their interest in you as a recruit. If there isn’t direct communication, there isn’t any recruiting happening. Maybe if you are “down the road” with a college in the recruitment process, then tagging helps your brand and theirs. But to just randomly @ or tag a program in hopes they will recruit you is a waste of time.
“But Dan, Coach X liked my post.” Of course they did, they would be thrilled if you spent $500 of your own money to attend their camp. I could go on and on.
Another area that recruits spend way too much time on is making graphics and posting that they are attending a recruiting event and telling college coaches to come watch them play. Stop wasting your time with this tactic. Coaches don’t scour social media and see cool graphics to decide if they are going to go see a certain player at an event. They go watch kids that have real interest.
There is so much social media “noise” about recruiting out there and false narratives about how the whole thing works. Social media is full of an overwhelming amount of information and opinions that are available on social media platforms regarding college athletic/soccer recruiting. This can include everything from tweets and posts from coaches, recruiters and fans, to blogs and articles from media outlets and recruiting websites. It is so easy to go down these “rabbit holes” and believe false information. You could waste hours and hours getting information that is not accurate and won’t help your recruiting. It’s the same phenomena on social media with the news – it usually comes from unknown or biased sources that are trying to drum up confusion and FOMO for their own good. I understand that it can be difficult for recruits to know which information to trust and which to ignore. Don’t believe the HYPE.