Major League Soccer

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Daniel Hicker is a Head Athletic Performance coach in Major League Soccer. He formerly worked for the San Jose Earthquakes FC and is currently with the Columbus Crew FC. Daniel has been incorporating sports technology since starting in college coaching in 2012. In 2014, he was coaching with the San Jose Sharks and was introduced to VBT via Tendo Units. Seeing how athletes took to the tech and improved their performance in and outside the weight room, he was convinced.
Once Daniel was introduced to the seamlessness of Perch, he integrated it into training sessions, using objective data to connect with how athletes were subjectively feeling to make smarter training decisions. Daniel regularly tracks data, no longer relying on 1RM tests to see where athletes are and adjusting daily workouts for optimal long-term strength development. With the Quakes and in Major League Soccer, he used VBT to understand how lifting impacts performance. This lead to more intent in training sessions and helping traditionally non-lifters buy into strength training.


Daniel utilizes VBT to better understand where an athlete’s readiness and fatigue is, pivoting if needed. He uses metrics to help his athletes understand the correlation between weight lifting and on-field performance. For athletes who don’t love to lift, VBT can help them understand the importance. Daniel monitors his Major League Soccer players peak velocity for any explosive movement and mean velocity for any strength movement, building a database of performance to refer back to over time.

VELOCITY RANGES Can be helpful to educate athletes in the weight room with performances outside of it

TECHNOLOGY CAN HELP Paint a picture of athletes for athletes and for coaches. Don’t overcomplicate it, but definitely incorporate it and remember to start slow!

LET IT GUIDE CULTURE Soccer players traditionally don’t love lifting, so using VBT, we can create a weight room culture that is about output, and less about maximal loads lifted. This is huge for us.  


KEEP IT SIMPLE! Daniel is always looking for long term athletic development, weight room technology is a tool that can help get athletes there, but he always refers back to his philosophy of keeping quality, keeping it simple, and getting long term athletic development right.

USE DATA TO EDUCATION Athletes on what they feel and connecting outputs on the field with the weight room

CONNECT YOUR PROGRAMMING WITH ON FIELD OUTPUTS TOO Data isn’t just for the athletes, you need to collect it and connect it, backing off or pushing hard as needed  


Daniel originally pushed back against having too much tech in the weight room, nervous that it would cause his athletes to hover around a tablet instead of keep focus. Once he integrated Perch and saw how simple and seamless it was, it was a no-brainer. More than anything, soccer players aren’t traditionally big on lifting, but using VBT technology, Daniel is able to build buy-in by creating a culture that focuses on quality of movement, over quantity lifted.

This simple switch allows athletes to understand why they’re lifting, and see the impact it has with objective and immediate data. There’s no pushback against loading up because the athletes can see that they’re in the velocity zones to perform well. With load secondary to performance, his athletes trust him more. Creating that trust and buy-in with anything is huge, especially with new weight room technology.  


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Perch Install at the University of Georgia Football

"It just gives us the chance to give athletes autonomy. They come in the weight room and doing it their own. It's amazing how quick they pick up on the technology."

Perch Install at UPenn

"Penn in the Ivy League is the intersection of Peak performance and Peak academic stressors, we need a solution for stressors they receive in both of those environments. Perch allows us to do that by providing data-driven solutions."

Perch Install at UNC Football

"The ability to track guys instantaneously and to analyze their movement patterns through technology in the weight room has been fantastic."

Perch Install at University of Maryland Football

"The equipment, the technology, the Perch and the velocity-based training, I think it's been the single biggest influence on our program. It's given a whole new dynamic to our training because it's a new level of focus for our athletes."

Perch Install at McHenry High School

"What I loved about it there was no tether to have the camera be mounted in the rack where I can focus on the athlete and coaching. It's very user-friendly and so their ability to engage and get feedback has been phenomenal."

Perch Install at Kansas State

"Working with Perch has been a breath of fresh air, from day one, they provided us with Gold Standard customer service."

Perch Install at Hebron Christian Academy

"It's relatively seamless for the athletes. At the same time, I get really accurate objective data. I can literally take models of training and produce evidence that those models of training do or don't work."

Perch Install at Wake Forest University

"The team's been awesome. Got everything installed, all our guys were able to get around them, ask questions, get right into it and hit the ground running day one."

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Scott Sinclair

University of Georgia

Head of Strength & Conditioning Coach

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Cory Walts

University of Pennsylvania

Director of Strength & Conditioning

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Brian Hess

University of North Carolina

Head Strength & Conditioning Coach — Football

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Ryan Davis

University of Maryland

Director Strength & Conditioning — UMD Football

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John Beerbower

McHenry High School

Director Strength & Conditioning

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Trumain Carroll

Kansas State University

Director Strength & Conditioning

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Spencer Arnold

Hebron Christian Academy

Director Strength & Conditioning

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Chad Bari

Wake Forest University

Director of Football Sports Performance


Further Reading

Major League Soccer

Learn more about using VBT and Perch in Major League Soccer with Coach Daniel Hicker. Sports technology can help improve performance in MLS!

Baseball and VBT

Learn more about baseball and VBT with Coach Brandon Golden formerly of ECU and the Dodgers organization, now with Future Fit App!


Start Gathering Data With Perch Today!

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