Five Ways to Level up Your Soccer Program Evaluation Remotely

Now is the per­fect time to do an audit on your entire soc­cer pro­gram. Here are some ideas on get­ting the most out of your re-evaluation.

Five Ways to Level up Your Soccer Program Evaluation Remotely

Now is the per­fect time to do an audit on your entire soc­cer pro­gram. Here are some ideas on get­ting the most out of your re-evaluation.

If there’s a sil­ver lin­ing to the dif­fi­cul­ties this pan­dem­ic has thrust upon sports teams, it’s that it’s forced many to embrace a back-to-basics ethos.

I don’t think any­body is rein­vent­ing the wheel,” says Florida Elite’s David Gough.​“I think kids are out there kick­ing the ball against a wall for the first time in 20 years prob­a­bly. That can only be a good thing.”

That’s not reserved just for play­er devel­op­ment, though. Here’s a per­fect oppor­tu­ni­ty to take a 10,000-foot view of your pro­gram and then dive deep on the details to make tweaks that can have great ben­e­fits long-term.

Here are some ideas:

(Re) Establish Your Foundations 

You should take this time to re-estab­lish the prin­ci­ples around how you want to play with regards to style, pres­sure, direc­tion and for­ma­tions. Document the frame­work for your team to work with­in. Build, find and com­pile resources that sup­port these philosophies. 

To get start­ed, use Hudl to com­pile a library of video playlists showing:

  • How each posi­tion is expect­ed to operate
  • How var­i­ous for­ma­tions exploit a defense or extin­guish an attack
  • Advantages and dis­ad­van­tages of dif­fer­ent styles of play
  • Training ses­sions that new or vet­er­an coach­es can implement

From there, con­sid­er cre­at­ing home­work assign­ments for your play­ers. It’s a great way to test their pas­sion for the sport and how much they’re tru­ly con­sum­ing the resources you’ve cre­at­ed. Need ideas on how this looks? Our Hudl reps have tem­plates for you to use, such as this one.

Revisit your data to evaluate (or create) KPIs

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are being used more and more by top-per­form­ing pro­fes­sion­al and ama­teur clubs, as a way to mea­sure effi­cien­cies of both play­ers and game models.

Some teams’ style of play is all about pos­ses­sion. Others might be more direct. Maybe you love build­ing the attack by play­ing the ball out wide and swing­ing in cross­es. Or maybe instead you like to bypass the mid­field and play direct­ly into your tar­get. There are impor­tant data points you can use to match what­ev­er style you fancy.

Possession data like what Hudl Assist offers is a great way to match data with the style you want to imple­ment. At Kentucky girls soc­cer pow­er Marshal County High, for instance, assis­tant coach Andy Pagel uses pass suc­cess rate stats to gauge how care­ful they are with the ball, and because he likes to play direct, he likes to keep his aver­age pass strings under six.

In the soc­cer hotbed of Cincinnati, girls soc­cer jug­ger­naut Loveland High uses pass string data tied to video to fine-tune the way they build their attack. They also find the data quite reveal­ing for accu­rate­ly scout­ing opponents.

You have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to cre­ate all three of those things that are impor­tant in play­er devel­op­ment — phys­i­cal, visu­al, and the emo­tion­al belief.” Loveland coach Dan Donovan says.​“That’s how they’re going to work hard at it, repeat it, and not let it become a bad habit again.”

Sign your coaches (and players) up for coaching webinars

The oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn from oth­ers has nev­er been riper.

These past four months, we’ve found that coach­es at all lev­els are much more eager to share ideas for how they run their pro­gram suc­cess­ful­ly. You can always check out the lat­est soc­cer con­tent on our blog, or join our online Slack com­mu­ni­ty to net­work with more than 2,000 coach­es from around the nation.

Renowned Cincinnati-area coach David Robertson has com­piled this spread­sheet full of free coach­ing resources for you to con­sume, from pod­casts to ebooks, web­sites and Twitter accounts to fol­low. Consider this a great­est hits” col­lec­tion of some of the best work going on in the soc­cer coach­ing community.

But don’t stop there. Unite your coach­ing net­work by hav­ing guest speak­ers talk to your team over Zoom, or host­ing webi­na­rs with oth­er teams around the coun­try you’re friend­ly with. Take it a step fur­ther and use our new shared ses­sion fea­ture to host a video review and lev­el up your own under­stand­ing of the game along­side the team.

Fine-Tune Your Players’ Highlight Reels

Since the start of the pan­dem­ic, we’ve seen a sig­nif­i­cant uptick in the num­ber of high­lights being cre­at­ed across all sports in Hudl. Creating a great reel is hard­er than it looks, though.

In our webi­nar with Georgia Gwinnett College women’s soc­cer coach Mike Giuliano, he empha­sized that your aver­age col­lege coach is so over­whelmed with high­light links from recruits that on aver­age you have 60 – 90 sec­onds to catch their attention.

Make sure your ath­letes under­stand that every sec­ond counts. And more impor­tant­ly, give them a roadmap for stand­ing out from the crowd. Show the pret­ty goals, but show the one-on-one play and win­ning a ball in the air too. Show how you change the point of attack, move off the ball and pre­cise passing.

This isn’t some movie that builds and builds and builds, and there’s an amaz­ing cli­max at the end,” Giuliano said.​“Don’t do that. Put your best moment forward.”

Work with your team on creating a shared identity

Re-brand­ing can be expen­sive. But why not have your play­ers work togeth­er on cre­at­ing a new logo, or pick out new uni­forms for when you return?

At Springfield (Mass.) Central High, Principal Tad Tokarz took two dynam­ic ideas from the wrestling and foot­ball coach­es and com­bined them for a fierce-look­ing logo that has giv­en the Golden Eagles an iden­ti­ty that’s instant­ly rec­og­nized across the state. 

Those same Eagles, by the way, are among the New England region’s most dom­i­nant in foot­ball, wrestling, and boys and girls bas­ket­ball. Coincidence?

The inter­net is an infin­i­ty pool for inspi­ra­tion when it comes to design. Revered brand con­sul­tant Jeremy Darlow is a great fol­low on Twitter, for one. And indi­vid­ual brand­ing is only going to be increas­ing­ly impor­tant for this next gen­er­a­tion — check out, for instance, what University of Oklahoma foot­ball did for its 2020 sign­ing class.


Seeing is believ­ing. There’s nev­er been a bet­ter time to recal­i­brate your program’s eval­u­a­tion meth­ods. Want to see how Hudl’s video analy­sis tools keep your team engaged while you wait to return to the field? Take a look at all our offer­ings, or talk to an expert about set­ting up a free demo.