In her pursuit to someday play soccer in college, Livonia Stevenson junior mid-fielder Paige Ackman has caught the attention of next-level coaches by being active on the pitch and proactive off it.
With the assistance of her dad, Blair, a hand-held Sony video camera and the Windows Movie Maker program, Ackman has exposed her vast soccer skills to a broad array of collegiate soccer coaches, who due to recruiting-budget constraints, might otherwise not be aware of the talented Spartan.
When Ackman participates in the Jefferson Cup showcase event in Richmond, Va., later this month, she’ll be more than just another face in the crowded midfield thanks to a four-minute YouTube video that she adeptly marketed to next-level coaches.
“Paige wants to play college soccer somewhere on the East Coast, and with college soccer coaches restricted by recruiting budgets, we thought it would be a good idea to make a highlight video and distribute it to the programs she was interested in playing for,” said Blair Ackman. “Some of the coaches who saw the video were so impressed that they’ve contacted her [via e-mail] and told her they’re very interested.”
The video-making process was painstaking at times, but ultimately worthwhile, the Ackmans agreed.
“We probably spent close to 15 hours just editing the game tapes,” Paige Ackman said. “Originally, we had an 11-minute highlight video, but we figured a coach isn’t going to have that much time to watch it all, so we cut it down to four minutes.
“Since my dad and I had never really used Movie Maker before, we struggled a little bit at first, and we probably deleted things we didn’t mean to delete, but after we used it a while, we got pretty good at it.”
“We’ve been told that you really need to grab the coach’s attention in the first 20 seconds of the video, or they may not bother to watch the rest,” said Blair Ackman. “We made sure to include highlights of her trapping the ball, how she moves without the ball – all the skills that would make a college coach interested.”
After the Ackmans created a YouTube file of the finished product, Paige authored letters to the coaches of the soccer programs that were high on her list, incorporating the YouTube link in the letter.
Within a few weeks after distributing the letters, coaches from several schools – including Wagner College, Loyola University Maryland and Sacred Heart University – responded with glowing emails.
“Basically, they told me they liked my skills, they were interested [in potentially signing her], and they would watch me closely at the upcoming showcases,” she said.
In the wake of her marketing success, Ackman has become somewhat of a recruiting consultant for her friends and teammates.
“They’ll ask me what they should put in the letters, what they should do if they don’t hear back right away from a coach, things like that,” she said, smiling. “It’s been a fun experience.”
An outstanding student with a 4.2 grade-point average, Ackman’s interest in playing for an East Coast school was ignited by her love of history.
“Even before I had an interest in playing college soccer, we visited Boston last summer and I loved it,” she said. “I’d like to major in history and eventually get into law.”