A Ventura County Fusion player is outfitted with PlayerMaker technology. Photo by Cameron Koubek
At the USL Academy Western Conference Regional Event in San Antonio, players in certain games had access to a unique opportunity to gain additional insight into their performance. In four of the tournament’s matches, players were outfitted with PlayerMaker’s in-game technology, providing them and their coaches with in-depth performance data. By simply strapping each player’s boots with a slim band, PlayerMaker gathered a multitude of individual and team statistics which allow for advanced performance analytics.
“We were incredibly excited to involve a partner and service like PlayerMaker into our first-ever USL Academy Cup event,” said USL Senior Director of Youth Development Liam O’Connell. “As our clubs strive to develop future pro players, we must look to pursue innovative new ways to enhance those players’ developmental experiences. Having partners like PlayerMaker utilize new technologies to improve our coaches and players within those environments will be critical in pursuing that mission.”
Before select matches, PlayerMaker staff members strapped thin black bands containing their technology onto the shoes of each player.
By the end of the contest the coaches and players were able to see advanced statistics like average passes per possession, average time per possession, intense speed changes, number of one-touches, total releases, and more information related to the players' physical, tactical, and technical performance.
The devices are so light that players did not notice them on their boots, but were able to quickly understand what they did and didn’t do well after a match.
PlayerMaker technology on the boots of a Union Omaha player.
“It was fantastic to see the PlayerMaker device in action at the first-ever USL Academy tournament a few weeks ago,” said PlayerMaker Customer Success Manager Dani Marks, who was on site in San Antonio assisting players with the gear. “Watching the players pour over to compare their individual performance reports created by the PlayerMaker system was exciting. It not only gave them tangible results and targets for the future, but also enabled coaches and players alike to self-assess and identify team benchmarks, which in turn will enhance overall output in the successive training sessions and games.”
Thanks to PlayerMaker’s technology, USL Academy personnel were able to identify four top performers from the matches in which players were outfitted with the gear.
In the Glens’ 4-1 win over OKC Energy FC, Estrada played all 97 minutes and put in an excellent shift. His 60 ball possessions were well above the positional average of 39, and in running 11.5 kilometers he far outworked the typical forward.
Santa Cruz Breakers, Center Midfielder
Hurtic’s data showed that he played a vital role in the Breakers’ 3-2 win over San Antonio FC. His 44 total releases were nearly double the average number for a midfielder, while his 25 one-touch passes were far above the average of 12.4, showing that Hurtic was effective at keeping the ball moving quickly in building Santa Cruz attacks.
San Antonio FC, Center Forward
Bernal’s numbers show that he did well in holding up play for SAFC. The average number of long possessions for forwards was 10.8, but Bernal more than doubled that tally with 24 in the game, meaning his teammates could rely on him to get on the ball and keep possession while they ran beyond him.
Union Omaha, Right Midfielder
Miranda’s work rate of 115.5 (calculated by meters run per minute) was impressive in Omaha’s 3-0 win over Ventura County Fusion, especially considering that he played the entire 96 minutes. He was involved in the play more than most midfielders, possessing the ball both for more short periods and long periods than his positional average.
“The granular level of analysis afforded by PlayerMaker’s solution, be it physical, tactical, or technical performance data, has the ability to transform the future of the game,” said Gal Barak, General Manager of the Americas for PlayerMaker. “In partnering with the USL, their academy teams will gain access to both a breadth and depth of analytics that will enable the enhancement of coaching, talent identification and injury prevention strategies. We look forward to seeing the young players, as well as this collaboration, evolve in the future.”
Having access to a highly-detailed level of data was undoubtedly a valuable resource for USL Academy players and coaches in understanding their performance at the tournament beyond the surface. The partnership between PlayerMaker and USL means that teams in USL Academy competitions can take advantage of PlayerMaker’s technology to gain an upper hand in developing young talent as the Academy platform continues to grow.
To stay up-to-date with all things USL Academy, visit usl-academy.com or search #USLAcademy on social media.
PlayerMaker is a sports technology company revolutionizing the way football teams use data. Utilizing cutting-edge motion sensors and advanced machine learning algorithms, their device tracks all technical, tactical, bio-mechanical and physical movement on and off the ball, giving managers and coaches a granular understanding of their players’ and team’s performance. Used by clubs worldwide, the PlayerMaker device delivers a competitive advantage to some of the most forward-thinking coaches. To find out more, visit www.playermaker.com.