An avid soccer player who developed a product that helps soccer players hone their ball-handling skills has been named the College of Charleston’s student entrepreneur of the year.
Marketing major and ICAT senior Eli Dent received the honor in April at the Tommy Baker Entrepreneurship Hour — an annual College of Charleston School of Business event that celebrates both new and seasoned entrepreneurs.
Dent, who has played soccer since he was four years old, spent nearly a year working on SideKik — a product that helps soccer players hone their ball-handling skills and gives soccer enthusiasts the opportunity to rep their favorite team.
“Soccer culture in America mimics what they’re doing in Europe and South America,” says Dent. “We have the scarves, the horns, the whistles, but none of it is engaging. I wanted to create something that could involve fans in a more intimate way that also has a major impact on the soccer industry in the U.S.”
Made for children and pros alike, SideKik is similar to a hacky sack, but sports additional features that make it fun and easy to use.
The foot-long gadget has feathers to create resistance and a weight that enables it to flip when kicked. The feathers come in an assortment of colors associated with American soccer teams such as Tormenta FC (navy and magenta), Charleston Battery USL (black and yellow), Seattle Sounders FC and Emerald City FC (green and blue) and Atlanta United FC (black and red).