The Thunderbirds Women’s Soccer program utilizes Hudl’s Pro Suite of video analysis software to simplify and elevate their performance on the pitch.

The grind of the season. Spring and summer workouts lead straight into a never ending cycle of practice -> analysis -> travel -> match -> post match analysis – only to be met with the rigors of its seemingly never ending cycle come the following week. 

Finding a way to not only survive it, but to thrive in it, can seem impossible. 

So when Kai Edwards, Head Women’s Soccer Coach at Southern Utah University, was trying to evaluate how to build his post match analysis workflow, he turned to the people he knew he knew he could rely on to get the job done. 

No, we’re not talking about Hudl. Okay… we are a little.

Southern Utah Head Coach Kai Edwards coaches his team before a recent match in Omaha

Edwards has surrounded himself with some of the US’ best throughout his journey to Southern Utah, including former USWNT head coach Greg Ryan, who Edwards learned from while at Michigan as an assistant in 2018. In his experience one core value has stood the test of time. “I learned to do what’s best for me and for my team,” said Edwards. 

The game has changed a lot over his six year journey to Cedar City. Gone are the days of passing the eye test. That’s something Ryan pointed out to Edwards during his time in Ann Arbor. A successful program at this level of soccer means relying on more than what you think you saw. It’s about what you actually see. Edwards adds that winning is also about unlocking efficiencies within your process so you can optimize every minute spent with your team. He takes ownership over every level of the process. “The way you do things and the way [the team] learns, I took it as a responsibility,” added Edwards. “I guarantee some people on my team learn best through video. So I have to be great at it.

“We've created this ecosystem where [our players] can come in, they can text me, they can ask a question on Hudl, they can ask a teammate, they can send a teammate the clip, in so many different ways. They start to unlock their development by understanding.” Kai Edwards, Head Coach of Southern Utah Women's Soccer

Thus began Edwards journey with Hudl. He considers himself a Hudl Sportscode guru. And he’s encouraged his staff to find their niche. “We all have mastery of our own department,” said Edwards. “I'm Sportscode and Studio, and [Assistant Coach Jennifer Kovisto] is Hudl and [Assistant Coach Steven Lindquist] handles Wyscout.

“When you get a bunch of products that talk to each other, it just makes life a lot easier,” said Edwards. “Prior, I was downloading stuff to my desktop, uploading to a program, then downloading off the program to my desktop, then uploading it to the next program. Now I'm able to push one button to push it to the next program, then I get to manipulate the data in the video and analyze it for our players.”
And it's translated to results on the field. Fresh off their most successful season in program history, Edwards wants more. His growth mindset meant re-evaluating their processes, to find even more efficiency this offseason. So they integrated Hudl Focus Flex, the portable auto tracking AI powered smart camera that integrates directly with Hudl. It’s unlocked even more development for their players than they could have ever imagined.

Hudl Focus Flex towers over the field at an away match for the Thunderbirds

“In pre-season, we train at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.,” Edwards explained. “In prior years we would have to wait until the end of the second training for both of them to upload. I'd get up at three in the morning, hitting refresh and not sleeping, or waking up at 5 a.m. to do it while still focusing on the day before. Now, our team gets more film, and shorter film because we're getting it to them quicker. If our training ends at Noon, they'll have two minutes worth of clips from the training by 1:30 p.m. at the very latest. And then after our 4:00 p.m. training, they'll have it by 7:00 p.m.

“For us, the integration from the [Focus Flex] camera back to Hudl, something we were using anyway, has been quick which is awesome.”

On match day, they take that ultra-wide angle from their Flex camera and send that video directly to Wyscout – for even more in-depth analysis from its team of professional analysts. They also do the same for upcoming opponents, so they can better understand how the opposition is going to set up in key moments. “Stephen [Lindquist], our top assistant mainly uses Wyscout for [our] games and he'll do the push from Wyscout to Hudl after the game is broken down,” explained Edwards. “It allows us to take out moments that are important. I have my own data points that are important to me that I’ll pull out from the prior opponent or from our team, then I send those to Sportscode to make it exactly what I want to see. Then I send a couple clips to Studio – where we either want to look at spacing between lines or, you know, moving a player. This helps us get a  visual of those moments and then I send it to Hudl and send it to the individual athletes. We want them to see it.”

“We've created this ecosystem where [our players] can come in, they can text me, they can ask a question on Hudl, they can ask a teammate, they can send a teammate the clip, in so many different ways. They start to unlock their development by understanding.”

In the ever changing landscape of collegiate athletics, video analysis has become an essential tool for teams across the sport. “[Hudl] is another tool that more coaches have to understand,” said Edwards. “If players learn that way, it's our responsibility to find a way to get to them.” And by unifying their video analysis through one cohesive platform, they’ve been able to unlock development like never before.

Learn from Hudl Experts with the High Performance Workflow Series that demonstrates how video and data insights can enhance live analysis both at the training ground during training and at the stadium during live games. 

Find out how Hudl links together a suite of professional-grade analysis solutions.