Dear parents, want to save three hours of your time every week?
Here’s something I never knew parents spent three hours doing. Now, apparently, they may not have to.
It’s time I made a confession.
Once upon a time, I was one of the world’s greatest soccer players.
Yes, it was only in my head, but I really, really believed it.
Sadly, my parents couldn’t afford a video camera. They could barely afford any sort of camera, especially as developing costs were so high.
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Ergo, you can’t disprove that I was, indeed, one of the world’s greatest soccer players, while I can’t prove it.
Clearly, this is distressing to me. Equally clearly, technology has moved on somewhat, yet not as far as one might have imagined.
It seems that parents currently spend three hours or more editing videos of their kids’ soccer games. Yes, every week.
Can you imagine the burden? Can you imagine your kid examining your edit, pouting and muttering: “Yo, you missed that beautiful turn I did on the edge of the box before their ugly center-back scythed me down like a rotting tree?”
Now, along comes a company that claims it can save parents’ lives. Or at least three hours of their time every week.
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The company is called Trace. It makes the sort of promises that would make a sports commentator blanche.
Just this single corporate uttering ought to have parents reaching for their finest fizzy wine: “Trace is the only soccer camera that records the game for you and automatically delivers an individual video playlist for each player. No filming. No editing required.”
It sounds quite impressive. Mesmerizing, even. No editing? As in none at all? No filming even?
You’re guessing some sort of AI is involved, aren’t you? How right you’d be.
Says the company: “Every week, thousands of games are traced using our unique AI technology and tens of thousands of highlights are delivered to players, coaches, and parents so they can rewatch plays, use video to develop skills, and share playlists with friends, family, and recruiters.”
If your AI technology isn’t unique then, really, what are you doing with your life?
Trace does sound frightfully professional. It also sounds frightfully complex. So yes, your little Johnny or Jocasta has to wear sensors, just as the professionals do.
Next, Trace sends you the highlights of Johnny or Jocasta’s best — and presumably worst — moments. All this happens, allegedly, within hours of a game’s end.
I asked the only high school girls soccer coach I know, Patrick Mauro — his teams have won one or two things — what he thought of this idea.
“It’s great if you want to look back on your kids’ high school exploits,” he said. “But if your kid wants to be recruited by a top college, they’ll find her.”
Still, Trace claims: “It’s never been so effortless to explore your game.”
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You, dear parent, will be wondering how much three hours of your life are truly worth.
According to Trace’s pricing scheme, a family plan costs, please wait for it, $2,400 a year. This covers “your child or up to three players.” (I’m not sure if that means your child and two other players.)
Other extras included in this $2,400: Automatic editing, player playlists, tactical playlists, player stats, heat maps, and, look at this, 24/7 support (via email).
Ah, if only I was a kid now and my parents could afford $2,400 a year, I promise you I’d be one of the world’s greatest soccer players.
And now I’d have the proof.