How FOOTBALL.COM Will Save Youth Players From a Social Media Nightmare
First impressions of students hoping to be recruited to play soccer in college are now formed before they ever set foot on campus.
One slip of judgement on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube or even Snapchat (a screenshot only takes a second to take!) can prove costly.
"Never let a 140 character tweet cost you a $140,000 scholarship," Brandon Chambers, an assistant men's basketball coach at Marymount (Virginia) University, tweeted last summer.
Nine out of 10 college coaches said their perception of a recruit has been negatively affected by a social media post, according to a US Youth Soccer survey.
But therein lies a dilemma for young players and their parents - if they don’t have a presence on social media it can be like they don’t exist to the scouts who are increasingly looking to the Internet as a short-cut to criss-crossing the country in search of the next Ronaldo or Alex Morgan.
This is where Football.com comes in.
“The platform offers youth players a unique online presence that is all positive and all about soccer,” says Football.com President Nicole Wahab. “Scouts are going to be able to find everything they want to know about a player through their soccer page - videos, stats, photos, even their GPA - and parents will feel secure because they know it is showcasing their son or daughter’s sporting talents and achievements in the best possible light.”
Oliver Wyss, OC Blues Head Coach and General Manager says the platform “allows every child and coach registered to Football.com the chance to view and access content to see what it takes to make it to the professional level.”
Clemson men’s soccer coach Mike Noonan concedes that inappropriate posts on social media can suggest “some potential problems down the road” and turn off recruiters.
But he says students simply need to think before they post.
It’s important to make player’s achievements and accolades public to generate interest from coaches and recruiters who may be following him or her.
“If they do well academically, make the honor roll, those types of things. It should always be something positive,” he told US Youth Soccer. “As a player, you have to stay current and have to stay vigilant to make sure you’re being portrayed in the way you want to be portrayed.”
According to Nicole Wahab, every unique Player Page on Football.com will:
- Provide the player with a Soccer Resume that serves as the perfect showcase for college coaches/recruiters to help win sports scholarships.
- Bring the player to the attention of scouts for youth academies, top youth clubs and pro teams.
- Enable grandparents, uncles, aunts and other relatives across the country and even those living abroad to follow the player through photos, videos and match reports.
- Build a lasting online record/transcript of the player’s youth soccer career.
- Help build the player’s self-esteem by posting videos and photos showing off their talents.
- Create a healthy online community where young players can share their love of the game.
- Serve as a reference point detailing everything from schedules, match times, opponents, fields and results and practice times and venues – EVERYTHING you need to know about your player and his or her club.
For youngsters on social media, Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt offered some sage advice at last year’s Gatorade Athlete of the Year awards.
"Read each tweet about 95 times before you send it,” he advised. “Look at every Instagram post about 95 times before you send it. A reputation takes years and years and years to build and it takes one press of a button to ruin it.”