The Major League Soccer club leverages Hudl solutions for player growth and club development.

Before joining the Atlanta United technical staff in 2021, Ricky Wolff wasn’t familiar with Hudl let alone Hudl Sportscode—the leading performance analysis platform in global soccer.

However, upon taking the Academy Video Analyst position with the MLS club, Wolff was impressed by the power and capabilities of the analysis software. He’s now the primary driver of implementing the Hudl Pro Suite within the academy.

A former youth soccer coach and scout for the U.S. Soccer Federation’s Boys’ National team, Wolff immediately saw the potential for these tools to develop talent and drive results.

As the video analyst role's value continues to expand throughout soccer, so does their scope of responsibilities. Maintaining efficiency and prioritizing output are essential, and Wolff’s experience shows Hudl does both at a world-class level.

It’s money well spent, and it’s something we’ve just started doing. Ricky Wolff, Atlanta United Academy Video Analyst

Impact Players, Impact Coaches, Impact Administration

Wolff is fixated on impacting every level of the organization: players, coaches, and executive leadership. 

Working within the Academy, athletes are the primary focus. The foundation of great soccer clubs is academy players with the potential to reach the first team. Wolff is essential to developing Atlanta United’s roster of young talent.

For the academy teams, Wolff uses Hudl Focus Flex—Hudl’s portable smart camera—to capture and live-code games.

“For our 17s and 15s games we’re plugging in the Hudl Focus Flex camera and then we live capture straight off the camera,” Wolff said. “We run live output reports on an iPad so they can see metrics and key performance indicators that we’re looking for.”

Coaches and players review the K.P.I.s supplied by Wolff—such as goal kick results, possession regains, pressing outcomes and set piece conversion—then make adjustments as needed.

His ability to quickly turn raw video into tangible assets used in training and games has impressed stakeholders from the top down. 

“I mean, that’s a win-win. That's our gold star success story right there. When you can show them the video at halftime and they make the correction in the second half? There's nothing better,” Wolff said. “I mean, you want to talk about technology being impactful? It's there for the players and the coaches, and then our administrators are there at halftime watching this.”

With his work proving vital in critical moments, everyone in the academy reaps the benefit of Wolff’s output.

Adding Value through Efficiency

Hudl is the top choice of leading soccer organizations because the integrated solutions create the ultimate soccer analysis ecosystem. For starters, Hudl Wyscout is the largest library of soccer video and data in the world. But, it’s only a piece of the puzzle.

The frictionless cycle of capturing, analyzing and sharing insights is why Wolff and Atlanta United are all-in with the Hudl platform. The tools are vital to helping academy players reach their potential.

Adding Hudl Focus Flex has accelerated every part of the analysis and development workflow—expanding Wolff’s impact and priming development.

“We got our first Focus Flex camera in February, and we have two more arriving [soon],” Wolff said. “Now our coaches are sharing video as they're walking off the field to the players. And for me in my role, I can start coding and tagging practices right when they start.”

Capturing quality video is the first step towards meaningful analysis. And with more and more A.I. cameras hitting the market, soccer organizations need to find the smart camera that checks all the boxes: 

Is the camera reliable? Does it deliver quality film? Is it easy to operate?

Some cameras pass the test, but Wolff insists Focus Flex is the best option because it saves him time and supercharges Atlanta’s analysis capabilities.

"We couldn't live tag games because we didn't have the Flex [camera] when I started. We had Veo. And with Veo you have to record it, upload it, and then you have to wait for it to render. That can be 2 to 4 hours, which, for me, felt like wasted time,” Wolff said. “Now we have Focus Flex, and the games are ready immediately after they're finished, and practice immediately after it finishes. Now we can live tag games and live code practices. That’s been huge.”

Wolff and the academy teams have started using Hudl Replay on game days. Wolff connects the camera and his computer via an ethernet cable for live coding, which is then relayed to the coaches’ iPads on the sideline.

Having his work in the hands of coaches and players during games enables the team to make tactical adjustments in real-time. Coaches can also tag moments from their iPads for collaborative coding to refer to key situations with the touch of their finger.

In terms of speed and reliability, Replay is second to none.

“[Hudl Replay] is a great tool,” Wolff said. “We found it to be maybe a ten-second delay, but sometimes it was five to eight seconds, which is insane.”

The Present (and Future) of Academy Soccer

In just a couple of years, Wolff has become an expert in all things Hudl. His knack for having video and data readily available for training and in games is pivotal to the overall growth and success of the Atlanta United Academy.

Wolff says Hudl is the clear choice for modern soccer programs seeking to elevate their analysis workflow.

In addition to the success he’s seen in his first two years, Wolff believes the potential to find greater efficiency and output is ahead of him. As he becomes more familiar with the solutions, Wolff sees the academy finding new ways to leverage Hudl:

“To be able to impact the players and help the coaches, [Hudl] is the gold standard,” he said. “It’s money well spent, and it’s something we’ve just started doing.”

Hudl is the gold standard in soccer analysis. Discover why the world’s leading soccer organizations invest in the fully integrated solutions available in the Hudl Pro Suite.