Solihull Moors may be less than 15 years old, but they’re a club with big ambitions. 

The Midlands outfit were founded in July 2007 following a merger between Moor Green and Solihull Borough and won the National League North in 2015/16.

Now they have their sights set on a place in the Football League and video analysis and data form a major part of their plans, with Hudl, Wyscout and Sportscode to the fore.

It helps that their Technical Director Craig Cope - one of the few to hold this position in non-league football - has a background in analysis. 

Before joining Solihull in September 2018, he was a First Team and Recruitment Analyst at Nottingham Forest and has also been Opposition Tactical Analyst at Birmingham City, as well as serving at Notts County and Cheltenham Town earlier in his career.

“Solihull Moors is a really interesting football club,” Cope said. “We’re in the National League and with the new investment that has come in in the last couple of years we’ve tried to professionalize, with the training facility we’ve got here at Studley and the analytics department.

“Our aspiration in the next three, four, five years is to get into the Football League, to further professionalize, to enhance our player trade model and develop what we’ve got in our Academy into potentially first-team players.”

Founded in 2007, Solihull Moors FC play in the National League, only one promotion away from League Two in the EFL divisions.

Wyscout has played a big part in Cope's workflows ever since he started working in football. 

“I started out as a performance analyst at Cheltenham Town in 2013 and have been using Wyscout ever since,” he said. “Wyscout is a great tool, because it can be used in many different ways.

“The main part of Wyscout, the key aspect of why we all use it, is that it is a video platform. You can get video in seconds and you can chop it down into players’ individual moments, or a team’s moments for analysis purposes.

“I can go out with (recruitment consultant) Greg Abbott and scout games live, but when we want to have a meeting with the manager, the analyst, assistant manager and the Board to show them what type of players we’re looking at we can clip videos, right down to individual movements, that suit our style of play.”

Solihull use Wyscout for both individual player analysis and recruitment duties.

However, Cope now increasingly uses Wyscout for data as well. Solihull, and their manager Neal Ardley, have a game model that is quantified by key metrics and performance indicators. This helps them to identify players that will suit their way of playing. 

“We don’t have a lot of data at this level, so getting objective data from Wyscout helps inform our decision-making, along with comparing and contrasting players,” explained Cope.

“Each manager and club are going to have a different style of play. We try and break the game down here and look at specific metrics that suit the way Solihull Moors try to play football. 

“That helps our recruitment model, because we know exactly what the manager is looking for, what the club is looking for, so we can highlight players who tick those boxes.

“Sometimes we can have a discussion about a player who one of our scouts or I might flag up and this player might suit better than another because of the metrics we’ve already highlighted at the start of a season or recruitment drive.

“Every club will have their own key performance indicators they look for when recruiting.”

“We don’t have a lot of data at this level, so getting objective data from Wyscout helps inform our decision-making, along with comparing and contrasting players". Craig Cope - Technical Director, Solihull Moors FC.

Often data serves as a first filter that helps the club to identify players that they don’t want as well as those they do.

“Having success through Wyscout isn’t always about signing players through the information you get,” Cope said. “Sometimes it’s about knocking players away. 

“We can also look on the platform and compare players against each other, teams against each other, see how they match against us. We can pick metrics that are similar to our style of play and see if a player would fit in or if they are more suitable than the players we’ve got.”

A good example of matching a player to the club’s style of play was midfielder Joe Sbarra, who joined permanently from Burton Albion at the start of 2020/21, having previously been on loan for a few months in 2019.

“We sat down, looked at the style of play and the profile of player we wanted to bring in and we used the data [to identify Sbarra],” Cope said.

“Obviously during Covid we couldn’t go and watch players live, so we had to use the video platform to highlight Joe as someone we felt could, within 12 to 18 months, settle into the squad and develop into the player he has done today.”

Utilizing scouting methods with Wyscout, Solihull have signed players who have gone on to be sold for a profit to EFL clubs higher up the English football ladder. Jake Beesley is currently at Blackpool, Cameron Coxe at Colchester United, and James Ball at Rochdale.

Coach to player feedback can be done instantly using Hudl Sportscode pitch side.

How Solihull Use Sportscode for Live Analysis

Solihull’s Head of Analysis, Megan Reesby, has been with the club since September 2017. She uses Wyscout to help identify and analyze potential transfer targets as well, along with Cope and the club’s four regional scouts, but her bread and butter is pre-match, live and post-match analysis. 

Wyscout and Hudl Sportscode are key tools she uses on a daily - even hourly - basis.

“On an average training day I spend most of my time working on the opposition,” Reesby explained. “That’s creating a report for the coaching staff, the manager, so we can drip feed it down throughout training for the players so we know how to play the opposition, which includes stats, video clips and some overall points on training.

"It makes our job really simple in being able to see readily clipped-up set plays, for example."

Solihull’s Head of Analysis, Megan Reesby.

Wyscout’s library has now extended to cover both National League North and South, which Reesby said "is great for opposition analysis, especially for us who have had a couple of games against National League North and South teams in the FA Trophy.”

Hudl Sportscode is “really crucial to our workflow”, Reesby added. 

“As it’s just me and the analysis department it really makes my job easy,” she said. "The simplicity makes my workflow really efficient.

“Hudl Sportscode sets us aside from other clubs in our league that don’t use it as it allows our manager, coaching staff and players to have instant access to our own games so they can review clips and make adjustments if necessary.

“We also use Hudl Sportscode for live analysis on match days. During the match we film and live-code the game, which means at half-time I can send clips down to the bench and give them half-time stats which are readily available just three minutes after the whistle has blown.

“Hudl tools are fantastic, as it gives us a Premier League analysis on a National League level budget. Sportscode has definitely helped me become a better analyst. I’ve been able to adapt it to suit my workflow and the needs of the coaching staff. Using Hudl has definitely helped my own development as an analyst.”

“Hudl Sportscode sets us aside from other clubs in our league that don’t use it as it allows our manager, coaching staff and players to have instant access to our own games so they can review clips and make adjustments if necessary". Megan Reesby - Head of Analysis, Solihull Moors FC.

The club is also able to get PDF and xml downloads from the Hudl platform, which has been “really useful,” Reesby said. 

Technical Director Cope uses these too. “The PDF and xml downloads from the platform are massive for us,” he said. “PDFs obviously can go straight to the manager and he can have a look at them, along with the coaching staff and the players.

“For myself and Megan the XML's are huge. We can then download it, Megan can put it into a Hudl timeline, I can put it into an Excel spreadsheet and we can manipulate the data ourselves. They are vital to our workload.”

The club have signed a three-year contract with Hudl and, as well as Wyscout, are currently using Sportscode and Gamebreaker, although over the next two seasons they plan to move onto Sportscode Pro.

“This means we will have more features so we will be able to analyze and annotate our videos in great detail,” Reesby explained. “This will drip feed down into the players, so they will have a better idea how to improve performance.”

“My advice to any other teams thinking about implementing Sportscode would be a worthwhile investment. It gives them instant access to their own games and the opposition’s so you can make adjustments and analyze performances.”

Learn more about how Hudl Sportscode and Wyscout integrate with a full stack of analysis solutions in the Hudl Pro Suite