What Did We Think of the 2018 United Soccer Coaches Convention?
For over 10 consecutive years, SFIA has attended the United Soccer Coaches Convention, and there was a lot to note this year. After spending a couple days on the show floor, it was clear that this year’s exhibit was much larger than last year, both in terms of floor space and amount of product. In addition, there were more attendees than in years past, which built to the excitement among exhibitors and attendees.
Location, Location, Location
This year, the convention was held in Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Convention Center, which may be a leading cause of increased attendance. Last year, the show was in Los Angeles, which was the first time the soccer coaches show went to the West Coast in a while, and it seemed that many East Coast-based attendees did not make the trip. However, the companies and individuals who did not attend last year’s convention made sure to attend the 2018 show, making the event far more impressionable.
Indoor soccer. The indoor soccer business is booming, and SFIA has the research to prove it. In the past year alone, indoor soccer participation has increased 6.3% (2017 SFIA Soccer (Indoor) Single Sport Report) and the soccer industry is keeping up with the popularity trend. Companies on the show floor, including Gared, Kwik Goal and RageCage, noted that the number of multipurpose facilities, most of which include indoor soccer fields, around the country have increased, which has led to increased opportunity for players to participate in indoor soccer. This infrastructure progression has been great for the industry and great for growing indoor soccer participation.
As in most every industry, the answer would be technology. This year, there were far more tech products on the show floor, including sensors of all sorts and various analytic and video platforms. Hudl and their video software made a strong appearance, and for the first time, all major team registration platforms were in attendance: LeagueApps, SportsEngine, TeamSnap, Blue Star and Dick’s Team Sports HQ Powered by Blue Sombrero. Also, Dribble Up introduced a smart soccer ball, which ended up being a big attraction at the show, as well as served as insight to the future of sensory play in the game of soccer.
All in all, the ongoing and developing theme is more tech, more analytics and more data.