From youth to pro: The role of video analysis across all levels of US Soccer

Customer cases, Soccer/Football, Technology

Spiideo’s AI automated capture and cloud-based platform is a solution that is being used all the way from youth teams to the highest professional level. Video analysis is no longer reserved for elite teams. Advancements in areas such as artificial intelligence are making video analysis affordable and accessible throughout the US soccer pyramid, and teams at all levels are discovering the benefits of a professional-level video analysis process. 

Clubs at the highest level of the game are turning to video analysis in search of a competitive edge: Today, 85% of professional teams across North America are using Spiideo’s automated cameras, to gather insight on opposition teams, identify tactical issues and assist players in reaching their potential.

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), for example, is covered entirely by Spiideo’s automated camera solution. That means, all games are recorded to the cloud and made available league-wide to all teams on the Spiideo platform. As well as for the teams it serves, this partnership has proved invaluable for the national team. Spiideo Perform users can pan and zoom independently within a recording to focus in on particular areas or individual players, which reduces the reliance on in-person attendance or unsuitable broadcasts to evaluate performance and selection.

“Being able to see the whole pitch as opposed to being limited to what we see on the broadcast is definitely valuable. Oftentimes, if you’re trying to evaluate a player, it’s not just what they’re doing on the ball. You want to be able to see them at all times.”

AJ Barnold, Performance Analyst, US Women’s Soccer Team
League Exchange Spiideo

As well as utilizing footage during the selection process, the USWNT coaching team also shares footage with players throughout their camps during scout reports, gameplan meetings, pre-training, post-training and even on the sidelines during games. Using the cloud-based Spiideo Perform, which enables analysts to tag, clip and share footage in real-time, the coaching staff can deliver specific and effective feedback to players during breaks in play to change the outcome of the game. 

Players are also given individual feedback, tailored to the individual to produce optimal results: “Some want it all, while some want to see what they want to see when they want to see it,” Barnold explains. “Learning what each individual benefits from the most can be really helpful.”

Youth soccer: Engaging and educating the next generation

Initially, the Illinois Youth Soccer Association implemented Spiideo’s automated camera system for live streaming purposes through the complete broadcasting platform Spiideo Play. However, soon they realized another purpose as they could use the countless hours of footage captured to aid the development of the 95,000 players, coaches and referees involved in their programs.

Using Spiideo Perform, all games and practice sessions can be recorded without a human camera operator, minimizing the resource cost of large-scale video capture and freeing up time for coaches to create and share valuable, tailored feedback – in a way that engages today’s young players. As shown by the popularity of platforms such as TikTok, young people prefer short snippets of information. Using Spiideo Perform’s live tagging feature, coaches and analysts can watch footage in real-time to mark important moments that they can share in just a few seconds – offering valuable feedback in a format that captures these players’ attention.

“Young players like to receive information quickly, short, compact. This platform provides endless opportunities to do that because it’s quick for us. I can tag a practice and show it to the players live.”

Marek Radziszewsk,Associate Dir. of Coaching Illinois Youth Soccer

But this video analysis process isn’t just supporting the development of IYSA’s players. It’s also playing an important role in fostering talent on the touchline. As a national coach educator, Radziszewski challenges coaches to watch back their practice sessions and review their own performance. Whereas coaches previously had to wait for the recording to be processed, Spiideo’s cloud-based platform with live access to recordings enables footage to be watched back instantly, providing immediate reflection and feedback when it’s fresh in mind. 

Preparing for pro: Video analysis in the US college system

Video analysis is becoming far more prevalent at college level, in particular. Today, hundreds of clubs throughout the NCAA Division I have discovered the benefits of Spiideo’s powerful video analysis platform.

Among them is the University of South Alabama’s women’s team, which benefits from the Sun Belt Conference making Spiideo capture technology mandatory, with the result of providing a league-wide Spiideo platform partnership. With Spiideo cameras fitted at each team’s venue, every game is recorded and instantly made accessible to not only both sides, whether home or away, but also to all other teams, making opponent analysis effortless

Soccer camera for college soccer

Given the hectic schedule, college soccer follows, with Friday games often followed by another on Sunday. The former process, which required manual recording and preparation, meant feedback was often delivered too late to impact preparations for the next game. The Spiideo partnership has significantly reduced processing times, freeing up time for the team to focus on opposition scouting, delivering tactical presentations and providing individual feedback to its players.

Besides the limitless access to game recordings, the day-to-day workflow has been made more efficient through the automated video capture, resulting in high-quality footage from all sessions automatically.

“It’s probably doing the work of two people. We’re fortunate we have cameras at every angle on our field, so we can watch behind the goal, on the sideline. We can see everything and it’s constant.”

Rich Moodie, Head Women’s Coach University of South Alabama

Moodie provides each of his player’s access to the footage captured and encourages them to watch back their performances. Important moments are clipped and added to players’ individual development plans, providing supporting data that Moodie feels is vital to the analysis process. 

Now, the team is trialing the use of Spiideo AutoData, which will provide even greater insight from the footage captured. Using artificial intelligence, the tool generates live data from live video, automatically extracting game events such as goals, corners and cards; individual player data such as distance covered and speed; as well as accurate positional data, to support opposition analysis, tactical planning and player development.

“Analysis without data is just an opinion. With AutoData, you’re getting it in real-time, in the moment.”

Rich Moodie, Head Women’s Coach University of South Alabama

Bridging the gap between levels in the US soccer system

While every player has ambitions of reaching the professional game, not everyone will be successful. However, video can provide those with the potential the best chance of reaching the next level.

Having received countless hours of largely useless footage during his time as a college coach, Radziszewski sees considerable potential for video analysis in the recruitment space. By connecting with coaches to learn what they’re looking for and utilizing tools such as Spiideo Perform, players can ensure they’re delivering highlight reels that truly make an impression.

“I’ve seen millions of minutes of tape where the goalkeeper is not doing anything. Now with a system like Spiideo you can change angles, you can see it from the top. Maybe there’s no immediate action like catching the ball, but I can see the backline going out of shape and the goalkeeper doing something to fix the shape.”

Marek Radziszewsk,Associate Dir. of Coaching Illinois Youth Soccer

Should these players go on to reach the top, they will be well-accustomed to life as a pro. According to Moodie, working with such high-level tools from early on in their development has shown the University of South Alabama’s players what it takes to survive at an elite level and has instilled a professional attitude within the squad that will serve them as they take the next step: “They buy into the nutrition, they buy into the video analysis, they buy into our IDP program,” Moodie explains. “With this system, it just creates a more professional culture.”