Parent and Coach Eric Dykes Shares How Trace Helps Pave the Way to College Soccer
Over the course of nearly thirty years, three Nike World Championships, and seventeen National Championships, CDA Slammers FC has grown to be one of the most successful and prestigious soccer clubs in the United States.
But the Southern California-based Slammers FC aren’t all about winning. Their success is a product of a deep-rooted commitment to personal growth and nurturing great players and great people.
That commitment to player development led the club to become one of Trace’s earliest adopters in 2018. Since then, back-to-back ECNL Overall Club National Champion titles have cemented their standing as a truly elite soccer club. Slammers Director of Coaching Walid Khoury says, “We recognized the value of Trace early on. Filming every game and getting personalized content to our players quickly has accelerated our players’ development exponentially. It’s why every single one of our teams is currently using Trace.”
As both a coach and a parent for Slammers FC, Eric Dykes has witnessed Trace’s impact firsthand and shared his insights into how Trace helped pave the way for his players to elevate their game, and, in the case of his own son, to land a spot on a college soccer team.
Using Trace as a Developmental Tool
Eric’s teams started using Trace two years ago and immediately realized the power of the platform’s convenient and engaging video. It couldn’t have arrived at a better time: after building a strong, dynamic team with terrific talent, a flurry of last-minute roster changes meant he had to rebuild his team. He used Trace to get his team up to speed. Here’s how:
- Trace makes accessing game film easy and effortless. “We would watch game film every single Wednesday evening. I’m a high school teacher — I brought the kids into my classroom, pop the Trace up on a big screen, and we’d watch to assess what we did well, and what we needed to get better. Sometimes we’d watch the full game. Sometimes it was a dynamic half, or runs of play, or touch chains. And we got better and better throughout the season. I attribute a big chunk of that to watching game film.”
- Trace helps coaches provide specific, actionable feedback in a visual way. “Trace gives you the chance to show coaching comments in action. We’re an amazing possession team, but sometimes we just possess to possess. We needed to talk to our holding midfielders about how we needed them to turn and force defenders to make a choice. Having conversations like that, you need to go and watch the film so that players can see all the space they have.”
- Trace empowers coaches to demonstrate team tactics. “We were running a funky system up top, where we had players constantly switching positions. That’s hard to teach, and it’s hard to learn. Our Trace clips were huge in giving kids a way to see how we were maintaining structure when changing positions, and when we lost that structure.”
- Trace helps players understand their own game. “From my own son’s perspective, his biggest strength is his movement off the ball. Creating space for himself and others. And that comes from watching film. He has watched a lot of film of himself to build that great understanding of the game.”
Using Trace as a Recruiting Tool
“Trace is a no-brainer. It makes your clips for you. That’s really what it’s all about: you can still watch the whole game if you want to do film review, but the truth is your job is to get clips of your kid. That’s especially true if their goal is to play at the next level.”Slammers Coach and Parent, Eric Dykes
Eric’s son recently landed a scholarship to play high-level college soccer, as did an impressive majority of his teammates. They are joining the ranks of the 671 (and counting!) Slammers alumni who have gone on to play for colleges and universities across the country. .
Going through the college recruiting process in the middle of a global pandemic could have been a huge headache. But thanks to an abundance of video from Trace, Eric and his son were able to navigate those muddy waters with comfort and ease. Here’s why:
- Trace makes sharing film with college coaches easy. “The hardest part is always getting the highlight film. Thanks to Trace, we already had a lot of quality film, so we were able to easily compile a highlight video and send that out to tons of colleges. And he got offers. So did the rest — with our ECNL group, every single kid that had film and actively made an attempt to contact coaches is playing college soccer. Every single kid. There’s no way we do that without Trace.”
- Trace lets you showcase you. “We had players that used those companies that charge a million bucks to “market your kid.” Not one of those kids got an offer through that. That’s because they don’t know who you are, they don’t know how you play. With Trace, you have total control. Kids were able to go in very easily and compile clips of the things that we knew coaches wanted to see.”
- Trace gives athletes the tools to navigate the recruitment process on their own. “Our big push as a club is that we want you playing at the next level. That means grinding and marketing yourself, while getting better as a player. And a huge part of that is using film: watching film, creating that highlight reel, doing all those little things that Trace always encourages you to do. Really putting the work in — that’s individual responsibility. College coaches love that, because they see that they’re owning this process themselves, putting in their own time, their own effort, not just on the soccer field, but off it too.”