Sporting Omaha FC Takes Success to the Next Level

For club teams, using video allows you to address sim­ple things with your play­ers and make a big dif­fer­ence in development.

Sporting Omaha FC Takes Success to the Next Level

For club teams, using video allows you to address sim­ple things with your play­ers and make a big dif­fer­ence in development.

For Sporting Omaha FC, one of Nebraska’s most elite club soc­cer pro­grams, devel­op­ment on and off the pitch starts with one thing — pas­sion. It’s their foun­da­tion, a fun­da­men­tal cor­ner­stone that helps guide them. For coach Neil Hope, it’s what dri­ves the club’s philosophy.

The club resides under the devel­op­ment acad­e­my pro­gram of Sporting Kansas City, and with that comes a style of play he describes using the same word — passion.

The game has changed tremen­dous­ly since Hope played in England. There was a cer­tain style of play that I grew up with, and now it’s more pos­ses­sion style. The game is more tech­ni­cal and tac­ti­cal. So we’ve evolved as coach­es as the game has evolved.”

Hope described the cycli­cal nature of coach­ing philoso­phies as it relates to major tour­na­ments that go on around the globe — specif­i­cal­ly the European Championships and the World Cup — not­ing that it creeps into all lev­els of the game around the globe. You look at how teams score goals and how teams lined up. There’s things that creep into what we do as coach­es from a tech­ni­cal and tac­ti­cal side,” Hope said. This year, you look at coun­tries like Wales, Belgium and Iceland. They had a ton of suc­cess and now every­one is look­ing at how they devel­op young play­ers. So you’re always learning.”

We nev­er change based on per­for­mance. The play­ers keep work­ing at their craft, and our style of play stays the same. So as they grow tech­ni­cal­ly, suc­cess will follow.” Neil Hope

That suc­cess has seen 61% of their club’s play­ers go on to play at the Division I lev­el in col­lege. We’re always keep­ing our phi­los­o­phy at the fore­front, because it works,” said Hope. From our mid­dle school kids to our sopho­mores and juniors. We have the best col­lec­tive group we’ve ever had. So I’m excit­ed to see where they go.”

The crossover between coach­ing and video analy­sis is appar­ent. It’s all about edu­ca­tion, whether it’s with the ath­letes or with their par­ents. You’ve now got a prod­uct that you can sit down with your son or daugh­ter and talk about the game,” Hope said. Those con­ver­sa­tions help par­ents and ath­letes alike become more knowl­edge­able about the game. More so, it opens up a line of com­mu­ni­ca­tion between the coach­es and the play­ers. Some play­ers are afraid to talk to some coach­es, but by using some­thing else like Hudl, it allows us to open up that con­ver­sa­tion,” said Hope.

For me, I’ll come in and look at a few things after the week­end, like if we didn’t score a lot of goals but we have a ton of shots. I can go in and pull up every shot we had instan­ta­neous­ly,” explains Hope. We can then go back and show the girls. Then we struc­ture our train­ing around that.”

That’s crit­i­cal to the team’s time man­age­ment. Any time you can save with video is essen­tial. We don’t have to go back and ask them again. They’ve watched the video. So we can jump right in and do drills and work through a cou­ple things. Then we’ll play. Now they have a tac­ti­cal stim­u­lus with video and a tech­ni­cal side with the train­ing. We’re piec­ing it all togeth­er,” said Hope. 

Hope makes it a point to share every­thing with his play­ers. It’s all about being con­struc­tive, because a young player’s con­fi­dence can be eas­i­ly dam­aged if you go about it the wrong way.

We did it in the past with our U14 team, where some play­ers were short on con­fi­dence. So we just sat them down to look at the video,” said Hope. It was just a mat­ter of our two cen­tral defend­ers play­ing too close to one anoth­er on the pitch. So every time they received the ball they were under pres­sure. With the video, we showed them. Just address a sim­ple thing. If we nev­er would’ve shown them that, they would’ve nev­er known.”

The video goes above and beyond sim­ply boost­ing con­fi­dence for Sporting Omaha FC — it helps address tac­ti­cal and tech­ni­cal ten­den­cies to find ways to improve every game. With a philo­soph­i­cal style of play from the top down, it’s impor­tant to empha­size cer­tain things.

The video doesn’t lie. It’s you show­ing it,” said Hope. There are def­i­nite­ly ten­den­cies I look for with the cycle of play — tran­si­tion, for­ward pass­es, for­ward runs — so it’s a lot of fast paced move­ments. With our pos­ses­sion and attack­ing empha­sis with­in the club, we put more of a focus on that in review.”

For the club, suc­cess has cer­tain­ly fol­lowed. This past month, the U18 girls advanced out of their region­al group stage and made it all the way to the finals for the first time in their his­to­ry. If any team is going to beat us, they’re going to have to catch us on a bad day. We want to be tech­ni­cal­ly bet­ter and tac­ti­cal­ly bet­ter, so we’re always going to com­pete,” said Hope. 

It’s hard to see any­one stop­ping them from win­ning next year. 

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