How Charlotte Independence Used Trace Soccer Video to Build an Analytics-Driven Culture
Charlotte Independence Soccer Club is one of the leading soccer clubs in the country. The club was formed in April 2019 when Lake Norman, Discoveries & Carolina Rapids Soccer Clubs announced that the organizations would come together as one, under the new Charlotte Independence Soccer Club.
Charlotte Independence Soccer Club’s mission is to develop, promote, and administer the game of soccer using the key values of Character, Commitment, Community, Competition, and Communication as the guiding principles to achieve success and provide an exceptional experience, while also developing and promoting life lessons and values.
In an effort to accelerate player development, to increase parent engagement, to become more competitive, and to optimize players’ chances of being recruited to top programs, Charlotte Independence adopted Trace as their comprehensive video solution.
We spoke to Greg Ashton, the Girls College Recruiting Director at Charlotte Independence, about how his club decided on Trace as the best solution for recording and analyzing soccer matches.
When the Charlotte Independence Club came together in 2019, individual teams were using a number of different soccer game recording technologies to meet their needs. Club leaders had to make some critical decisions about which soccer camera technology would be the best solution for the club.
Top Issues the Club Needed to Solve With A Soccer Game Film System:
- Saving time for coaches and players. “I coached in college for 13 years, and I used to clip stuff myself using iMovie and GameBreaker,” stated Greg Ashton. “It was very time-consuming.” Reducing time spent editing video was critical for the coaches.
- Finding a single solution to replace a patchwork of technologies. Coaches were tired of navigating a complex system of editing tools, camera systems, and expensive contractors needed to create highlight reels for players.
- Reducing the manual labor required to send game video to players, parents, and recruiters. Other soccer cameras could record a match, but most of the work came after the match, when coaches had to clip full-game records and then send it out to players and parents.
- Finding a reliable system that would enable the coaches to film all games for their national program teams. This includes 42 teams in total, including the boys and girls ECNL programs and the boys and girls ECNL regional league programs. “The biggest question for Charlotte Independence was, ‘Could we film every single game if we wanted to?’” stated Ashton.
Charlotte Independence embraced the Trace system. “All the coaches have bought into it, and it’s become part of our game routine,” stated Greg Ashton. “It’s incredible what you guys have developed.”
Using Trace transformed the way that the club’s players and coaches consumed video. Here are some of the ways the club has changed since using Trace:
- Players are more engaged with game video. “Our kids are chomping at the bit for games to be uploaded. Players get on Trace and develop a more critical eye. Even the younger players are watching, not for entertainment value, but to compare and contrast the moments where they did well with the moments they can improve.”
- Players are consuming more game footage than ever before. “My team has filmed every game they’ve played this year,” said Ashton. In the past, Ashton used other camera systems that were more difficult to get up or that required coaches to manually edit game footage. Filming every game was burdensome. “Now, no one can complain that there is not enough game film,” stated Ashton. “Unlimited game filming with Trace has been critical for us.”
- The club developed an analytics-driven culture. “We’re constantly learning how to best use the data we get from Trace,” said Ashton. Coaches are communicating on best practices and using analytics data from the Trace interface to measure player development.
- The club can now film in all weather conditions. For Charlotte Independence, capturing game film in inclement weather was a huge priority. “It was pouring down raining a couple weeks ago, and we started filming right before the rain. And we just decided to leave the Trace camera through the pouring rain. We were worried about the equipment, but the camera filmed every moment of the game and uploaded our footage later that night. We dried off the camera and kept on trucking.”
- Players now have a video library to streamline recruiting. “Being able to get the amount of games filmed in such a short time has been crucial. Before Trace, our older kids did not have enough film during the recruiting process, and we were constantly scrambling,” states Ashton. “Now we have a library of moments.”
“Our older teams have been firing off their Trace iDs to college recruiters. College recruiters are requesting games, and players are sending their Trace iDs. College coaches are very familiar with Trace and know what it can do and know how to get in touch with players through the platform.”
- More 1-on-1, personalized coaching. Coaches have been using Trace for teaching purposes. Coaches will ask players to pick out 2 Trace moments where they thought they did really well and 2 Trace moments where they thought they could improve on something.
Trace has been crucial during COVID-19. “I would get on Zoom with players and we’d both pull up their Trace moments, and we’d speak about them as we were watching. It’s accelerated our ability to bring up points to kids on an individual basis.
Coaches also engage in small group sessions with defenders, forwards, and midfielders. Coaches are taking screenshots of moments and then drawing on them and sending them back to kids.
- Parents are more engaged. They enjoy getting their kids’ moments delivered straight to them via email. They expect to get these emails in “the same way that they expect packages to be delivered promptly from Amazon Prime,” according to Ashton. The automated delivery of video after matches builds stronger relationships with players’ parents.
Finally, Charlotte Independence wanted to be on the cutting edge of game film technology and data-driven analysis. The coaches view Trace as a constantly evolving technology with new features and improvements coming at a rapid pace.
Like any other new technology, issues come up and need to be resolved. And Trace has a fast-acting, U.S.-based customer success team that quickly addresses any issues and constantly educates users on getting the most out of the product.
Learn more about how players and coaches use Trace on Trace Academy.
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"The reason that we were drawn to Trace originally was because of the individual moments that were sent to each player . . . and now Trace iD empowers them to really take advantage of that and start to own their recruitment process."
Coach, TFA Cincinnati