Lincoln-based sports tech startup Hudl has just announced a partnership with U.S. Soccer to provide the company’s Sportscode and Coda products to both men’s and women’s national teams as well as developmental teams throughout the organization.
“It’s our first partnership like this that spans all levels of a sport,” said Matt Mueller, Hudl’s GM of Team Sports. “We have a full organization on board for the first time.”
In a news release, U.S. Soccer Youth Technical Director and U-20 MNT Head Coach Tab Ramos said the products will allow National Team video analysts and coaches to analyze player trends and performances that will influence training and game preparation.
“The video analysis tools at our disposal will lead to better feedback between players and coaches,” he said. “And hopefully the ability to gain an advantage before stepping on the field.”
Mueller pointed to partnerships with other sports such as football and basketball, but none are as comprehensive as this.
“None span the entirety of the sport throughout the competitive organization,” he said. “It will help coaches improve their athletes as well as the whole system.”
Hudl at every level
The partnership emerged from connections Hudl has developed in recent years with the national soccer teams as well as youth club programs.
“We’ve built relationships with club teams over the past several years, and the men’s and women’s national teams have used Hudl through the past two championships,” Mueller said. “Over the last six months it’s been about how can we help beyond sharing video.”
The needs at top levels of the organization are different from those at the youth and development levels, ranging from teaching fundamentals to applications that infuse coaching philosophy.
“At younger levels, you’re teaching them the game, how to position,” Mueller said. “You’re not really getting into the intense coaching philosophy of the college or national teams.”
Analysis at the higher levels becomes much more granular and assesses factors beyond the game itself.
“We help teams capture and analyze segments, looking at things like conditioning of athletes on the field,” Mueller said. “Coaches can take a look at how upcoming opponents position themselves.”
Checking out the competition
Scouting the opposition is a key piece of the package.
“We allow detailed scouting reports to allow coaches to quickly project their coaching influence onto video and communicate it out,” Mueller said. “About 70% of World Cup teams use us so it’s easier to trade film. Coaches can put notes on top of video, detailed information on player touches and movement, very detailed analysis.”
Doesn’t sharing film with opponents seem counterintuitive?
“There are usually built-in trade agreements going into tournaments, or the tournament itself will set up arrangements in advance,” Mueller said. “There’s almost always someone you can call to get film.”
An international force
The U.S. Soccer partnership builds on the global footprint in soccer that Hudl has already developed, including deep penetration into the Premier League and Major League Soccer.
“We reach at all levels internationally, and it’s amazing to see that growth,” Mueller said. “It’s not just a U.S. thing for us.”
One benefit of reaching down to lower levels in soccer organizations is the ability to identify and recruit talent.
“U.S. Soccer is really excited about developing this,” Mueller said. “They’ve been looking for a way to identify and evaluate top talent. Identify and escalate at any level of competition.”
And of course Hudl provides a platform for athletes to get noticed.
“Individual athletes can make highlight films to get noticed,” Mueller said. “All of this will help escalate soccer in the U.S.”
Rod Armstrong is Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for AIM in Lincoln, Nebraska. He is a regular contributor to Silicon Prairie News.