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Innovator of the Year 2018 2018 Innovator of the Year

Congratulations to Sam Haynes, the winner of our $50,000 prize package!

Presented by: Logo United Soccer Coaches Logo SKLZ Logo

We wanted to reward leaders for their contributions to club soccer.

Details & Prizes Contest Rules

Your vote
helped decide the Innovator of the Year.

Hudl and SportsEngine value innovation — we strive for it in everything we do. But we wanted to go further to highlight and inspire innovation in those involved in the club soccer community. That’s why we joined forces with SKLZ, United Soccer Coaches and SOCCER.COM to honor those who empower innovation in club soccer.

A national voting contest chose Sam Haynes as our 2018 Innovator of the Year. We’re excited to recognize such a hard-working individual for his creativity and dedication to development.

Check out the biographies of all four innovative finalists to learn why they were chosen.

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Sam Haynes - Innovator of the Year

For Sam Haynes, everything starts with technique. His academy has drawn more than 100 players in just 18 months, and focuses on mastering the basics while creating a true relationship between player and coach. But his impact doesn’t stop there. Sam uses a social media platform to inspire thousands of players with his positive mindset.

Ruth Nicholson - Finalist

With more than 20 years of experience in youth sports operations, Ruth has created an unparalleled resource that goes beyond the game to address challenges people face when building and running a club. One of her three nominations put it simply, “Her understanding and insight is second to none!”

Mark Christie - Finalist

Mark’s multiple nominations make it obvious this coach has had a big impact on club soccer in the Bay Area. With the help of tech companies and software engineers, Mark has merged coaching with technology to help athletes learn and improve. Mark is passionate about helping kids who might not have access to the best facilities, and will run a free program this fall called The Chance.

Sanjay Patel - Finalist

As a board member of Soccer in the Streets, Sanjay has helped turn a game into a medium for social change. Station Soccer is a program designed to create soccer fields out of unused ground at train stations, giving youth of all backgrounds a place to play while learning personal responsibility and teamwork. Five Points Marta Station in Atlanta, is the first step towards his “league of stations” vision.

We support innovation.

Hudl helps teams and coaches at every level win through innovation and advancements in video analysis software for more effective game preparation.

SportsEngine powers more than 23k youth and amateur sports organizations with industry-leading digital tools to get you out of the office and into the game.  Learn   Play   Manage

The DNA for our innovation is driven from hundreds of hours on the pitch with coaches and players. Every SKLZ product receives the same level of dedication to ensure we bring products to the market that benefit our users.

United Soccer Coaches strives to provide the most innovative programs and services that enhance, encourage, and contribute to the development and recognition of soccer coaches, their players, and the game we love.

Built by soccer players for soccer players, SOCCER.COM revolutionized the soccer industry. With 1,300+ club partners and 250k+ players around the country, SOCCER.COM challenges what it means to be a soccer retailer.

of the Year Timeline



Last Day to


Finalists Announced, Public Voting Begins


Innovator of the
Year Announced


Offers to help you innovate.

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