Hudl’s Innovator of the Year Contest Rewarding Leaders in Youth Soccer Nominated Ruth Nicholson
Being an innovator has many definitions but generating the opportunity for change is always an intrinsic part.
The leading video analysis company, Hudl, has partnered with SportsEngine, Soccer.com, Sklz, and United Soccer Coaches and created the inaugural Innovator of the Year award. After 100s of applications, four finalists were selected who embodied the virtues of an innovator — each receiving $10,000 worth of prizes. Now it is time for a winner to be chosen.
Read Related Soccer News: INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR
The winner, who will score a hefty $50,000 worth of prizes, will be someone who has made a significant impact on our world of club soccer in the USA.
Meet the Innovator of the Year Finalist Ruth Nicholson
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!”
In a nutshell, Ruth Nicholson’s work is constructively disruptive in a field begging for improvement. With more than 20 years on-the-ground youth sports experience and operational expertise, her program GO! delivers practical resources that address the typical challenges people face when building and running a youth soccer club.
There is nothing helping or supporting youth sports like her organization, which makes Ruth a pioneer in a very trendsetter sense. There are always complaints on what is wrong in youth soccer and Ruth has single-handedly worked tirelessly to create a brighter future. While cones and balls may not be her tools for change, her approach goes beyond technology to the underlying foundational level that makes on-field improvements possible.
Unless we address the flaws and failures in our operations, administration, and governance systems, our coaches will continue to face frustration and unnecessary challenges implementing innovations that improve the game for our players.
An expert in the industry, Ruth Nicholson has written several articles on GoalNation:
- RUTH NICHOLSON – THE TOP 5 MISTAKES
- RUTH NICHOLSON ON AMERICAN YOUTH SOCCER – WHAT’S RIGHT AND WHAT’S WRONG
- YOUTH SOCCER CLUBS: DOING IT BETTER – MAKING THE MOST OF VOLUNTEERS
When John O’Sullivan at Changing the Game Project learned of Ruth Nicholson’s nomination, his immediate response was that GO! addresses one of the most overlooked – and valuable – pieces of the youth soccer scene that can make a huge difference.
John O’Sullivan has an equation about sport: Performance = (Potential + Behavior) – Interference and he believes GO! decreases “interference” and supports improvement in club, coach, and player performance.
What do other people think of Ruth Nicholson?
Bobby Howe, former Director of Coaching, U.S. Soccer says, “Ruth Nicholson’s expertise and dedication to improving the youth game at all levels is second to none.”
Nobody deserves this award more than Ruth.
“I have worked with Ruth for over a decade and admire her dedication to helping improve the game of soccer for all players. ”
Sam Snow, longtime Director of Coaching for US Youth Soccer says, “Still breathing should no longer be the criteria to administer soccer in our nation. Ruth Nicholson is excellent. The more education we can do for team managers, tournament directors, club, state and national administrators the better off the game will be.”
Rush Soccer Club’s Chris Panayiotou says, “Nobody cares more than Ruth about putting the essential ADded value in soccer ADministration and leadership.” Panayiotou is Rush Soccer’s National Developmental Program Technical Director overseeing nearly 50 US and 37 international soccer clubs.
For years, she has been the GO-to resource for innovative solutions for the Directors of Coaching in our 85-club organization.
“Ruth is a true coach whose support makes us more successful on and off the field. She is dynamic and always is my GO to person. She is forever finding not just the best solutions but also the best-fit solutions,” says Panayiotou. “She is a true advocate for each and every player.”
David Falk, GM, Snohomish County FC says, “Ruth Nicholson gets to the very heart of the matter, peeling away the politics and opening up the beautiful game to a new way of thinking.”
What happens in the boardroom directly affects what happens on the pitch.
“Organization and smooth function are traits to be taught in soccer and life. Nicholson’s soccer-inspired and experience-honed approaches to interacting with other soccer people, players, and organizations are exactly what American soccer needs today,” says Falk. “Her not-so-quiet revolution of ideas, structure, and innovation make her the stand above the crowd choice for this honor.”
Laurie Lane, Executive Director, Potomac Soccer Association says, “I am pleased that the importance of governance and operations components in the realm of soccer has finally been recognized by those that looking to elevate and support the game.”
Ruth Nicholson has innovated a platform to right the wrongs at the youth club level.
“She has combined her numerous years of experience as a youth club administrator with her high-level facilitation skills into an area that is begging for guidance and leadership,” says Lane.
Jessica Costello, Head Coach, Blackhills FC, Olympia, Washington says, “GO! is my one of my favorite resources. I recently put into action the GO! ideas and I have it has created a more cohesive environment for my teams.”
What is next? Hudl and their partners formed a spent quality time reading through hundreds of nominations and then narrowed it down to Ruth Nicholson and the other three innovative finalists.
If you want your voice to be heard, please vote for your favorite nominee by June 19.
Who deserves to win?
The Innovator of the Year will be announced on June 22 and receive a grand prize worth more than $50,000.