We sat down with Chris to talk about his career journey to date, how Bepro helps him and the wider academy and the club’s vision for the future.

Firstly, can you please take us through your football industry background and how you came to be in your current role?

I went to University at UCFB (University Campus of Football Business) and did my undergrad in sports coaching, before going to America for a season where I did a year working for TSF Academy in New Jersey. They were an affiliate academy to New York City FC, but are now linked with New York Red Bulls.

Due to political reasons, I couldn’t get a return visa. I came home to the UK, got a Masters in coaching and analysis, again at UCFB, and my UEFA B Licence. From there it took off and I met the guys at Accrington at a guest speaker event at UCFB and worked my way in slowly and surely.

Chris Hough

How about performance analysis? What did the academy use when you first joined and what do you use now?

In the 2017/18 season I first joined and was working part-time as the U11s coach, I spoke to the Head of Coaching and the Foundation Phase Lead, and they were really interested in integrating analysis into the programme, as it wasn’t something they’d done in great detail before.

Fast forward two years and we have myself leading all the performance analysis, a team of interns I recruit from that same Masters course at UCFB, multiple cameras, tripods and hi-pods. We previously used Hudl to tag and share video with the players.

The recent introduction of BEPRO has really taken what we do to the next level. It’s not just about filming and reviewing games - we’re going into real detail with the data and video. It’s going from one level to another.

Chris leading a training session

How do you use BEPRO currently?

At the moment we film the games ourselves and send them to BEPRO until we can have fixed cameras installed at our new facility where all U18s games will be played. For home and away games we have a hipod and camera to capture really high-quality footage.

BEPRO really allows you to delve into the data and the visualisations and it’s all in one place, the video, data, visuals. I think it’s very valuable for us as a club.

At Category 3 level (in the English Academy system), every club films their U18 games, according to EFL (English Football League) rules. A lot of clubs film down to U15s or U16s, but not many film the younger ones, so we did really well to film every game and got a lot of valuable information from the video we captured last season. Being able to pair that with data is incredibly valuable and will hopefully provide a lot more objective insight into what’s actually happening, rather than the subjective opinion of players or a coach.

“Being able to pair that with data is incredibly valuable and will hopefully provide a lot more objective insight into what’s actually happening”

An U18 game in the BEPRO video player

What are you doing currently to further develop performance analysis at Accrington?

From our point of view, what we are trying to really implement is the performance model. We’ve come up with an eight-step model, all the way from the first team, understanding how they play and developing the academy game model from that and individual player profiles depending on what the first team playing philosophy requires.

Once we’ve got those player and team profiles, we want to establish team and individual metrics to be able to measure that performance. We take the data BEPRO provides and work it around our own individual metrics to suit us. That means establishing benchmarks for those metrics that are more specific to us, that allow us to analyse both individual and team performances and link it back to the video to provide that extra context.

Our academy playing philosophy is based around the four Ps — playing out from the back, possession, penetration and pressing.

In terms of possession we consider the number of successful passes in the final third; for penetration, the number of successful passes into the penalty area and so on. When you can delve into it a little deeper from an individual or team level it provides that extra context. Say we’re looking at a forward, we’ve developed a penalty area action index to see which players are more productive there. We can compare the number of passes received in the penalty area to the number of shots on target per 90. Then being able to show the video to back it up can influence practice.

Pass data in the BEPRO platform

The aim for us is being able to produce bespoke data reports and having the video to back those up, so that we can go to the manager and say these players are ready for the step up, these players deserve a pro contract, as we have enough data to benchmark that they are a good player. It will take a long time to gather all that data, but I think we’re well on the way.

As mentioned, the grass pitches at the club’s new training facility are being finalised. Due to COVID-19 it was delayed from the start of this season. It’s where the community side of the club are all based. The 4G pitch is done and there will be three grass pitches around it. It will be a brilliant base for the club and project us forward with the community trust, first team and Academy all on one site.

The Hub has been open since 2020 and will continue to be developed

The plan is that once we’re moved into the Hub, all first team, U18s and U23s training and U18 and U23 games will be filmed using the fixed camera system that BEPRO provide.

How would you describe BEPRO to those who haven’t seen it before?

It’s one platform. You log on and have access to all the games that have been filmed. One of the best things about BEPRO is that everything that’s on there can be clicked on — every data point, each piece of information, if you click on it, it loads up the video.

For example, if I’ve loaded up a central midfielder’s pass map, I can click on any of the pass arrows and it loads up the video for that one pass. Having an integrated platform is really important. From an ease of access point of view, for a coach who’s working with one particular age group — typically part time — for them to be able to go in and link everything that’s being put to them to video is brilliant.

BEPRO allows Chris and other coaching staff to work more efficiently

With the physical and tracking data on top of that it’s everything you need in one place and it’s all done for you. Rather than me spending two days coding a number of games and not getting my head out of a laptop, it saves a lot of time, is all in one place and visualises it for you.

“Rather than me spending two days coding a number of games and not getting my head out of a laptop, it saves a lot of time, is all in one place and visualises it for you.”

A player from Accrington’s academy using BEPRO

All the players have their own accounts. It’s an app on the app store for Apple and Android phones as well as being available through the BEPRO website. The players all have their own accounts and their own folder and can therefore look at their own video and data. Coaches can also send them clips.

You can hear more from Chris and the team from Accrington FC’s ambitious football academy in our video here.


At BEPRO, we work to develop performance tools that make a real difference to clubs around the world. We bring together a real understanding of football, the ability to develop intuitive tools powered by advanced technology and a customer-focused approach to help teams measure, understand and improve performances.

Get in touch with us here to find out how we can help you.