MLS and Adidas are partnering up to create a revolutionary system that will unlock new doors for teams in terms of player performance, development, and stat tracking. This started with the revolutionary "micoach" system that was unveiled in late 2011. For those that are unfamiliar with the micoach system, it is a chip that goes into your soccer shoe and it records things like movement, cardio data, and other performance factors. You can then upload this data to other devices like a phone or a laptop and compare your results with others. This system truly lived up to it's building of "smart soccer".
Adidas and MLS are taking things even further with the new micoach Elite System. It will incorporate even more features to track players and their performance, giving teams some incredible tools to grow, develop, and maintain players and their soccer games. This direct quote mentions some of the features of the new system:
Making MLS the world’s first "smart league" in 2013, the team data-tracking system will provide coaches with real-time performance metrics on the field of play including player position, power output, speed, distance covered, intensity of play, acceleration and GPS heat mapping.
The first "smart game" will be this Wednesday at the MLS All Star game vs. Chelsea. Follow me after the break for a few more thoughts on this new system and the complete press release.
Technology like this is certainly a necessary next step for the growth of MLS and player performance data tracking. This has been an area that seems to have been lagging behind, especially in recent years as advanced technology is being implemented in many other professional sports. MLS and soccer in general the world over has suffered from a dearth of info on player performance and statistics. Methods to gather in depth data have not existed until recently, and where data is being collected, many times that data is not easily accessible. Although there is a lot of progress to be made yet, MLS and Adidas teaming up on this technology is a breath of fresh air.
It will be great for teams to have ever expanding data to use in their analysis of players. MLS is known for being secretive about, well, pretty much everything. According to the info youwill see below, this data will in fact be made available to everyone. Imagine how great it would be to be able to go to the MLS website and be able to pull up mountains of data and compare players with a few clicks of the mouse. This is fairly easy to do if you go to the NFL, MLB, or NBA websites. You could waste hours getting into the fancy sabermetrics of MLB. Imagine having a wealth of info like that for MLS. Stat heads would have a heyday to say the least. While their is much building to do to get a database like that for MLS, the new Adidas micoach Elite System will be paving the road. I for one can't wait to see how it works out during the All Star Game.
Another thing I am hoping to see is the data broadcast while games are taking place. Other sports have fancy graphics with real time data on the fly. Why not MLS? Getting to see heat maps or player data as a game progresses would be nice for fans and provide valuable data to coaches and players. It could be taken a step further with portable devices like phone, iPads, and even MLS LIve service on computers. Having the ability to pull up numerous different pieces of data on the fly while watching a game would be a boon for any fan. Want to compare Oduro's half vs. the opposing striker? Done. How about comparing how much pitch Pavel Pardo has covered vs. the opposing team's holding midfielder? Easy right? Only time will tell how the system actually works and how much data is provided to fans, but implementing a system with methods like this can put MLS on par, or even ahead of some of the other pro sports. If this new system in real life action works anything like my imagining of it, I think we are all in for a real treat.
The last factor that comes to mind is the effect this can have on building long standing, successful franchises. Teams that learn to implement and use the data properly can not only impact players on the current MLS roster, but think of what it could do for the youth/developmental teams. Simply put, the clubs that do the best job of utilizing this system and implementing should be clubs that are more consistently successful as well. To use a baseball example, the clubs that seem to do the best year in and year out mix spending money on free agents with building a healthy farm system that continuously supplies the club with young talent. I think it can be the same with MLS clubs and this new micoach Elite System can help with that. Wednesday should be pretty interesting to see the world debut of this new system. If it works out like the potential shows, MLS could leap frog most or all the other major soccer leagues in the world in terms of technology. That would be pretty special to see to say the least.
Official Press Release:
ADIDAS AND MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER ANNOUNCE
WORLD'S FIRST SMART SOCCER LEAGUE
adidas micoach Elite System - debuting at the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game -
to be integrated across Major League Soccer in 2013
NEW YORK July 19, 2012 - adidas and Major League Soccer today announced that MLS will integrate the adidas micoach Elite System league-wide in 2013, marking the world's first "smart league." The announcement comes ahead of the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game, which is set to be the world's first "smart game" integrating the micoach Elite System.
Beginning in the 2013 season, all 19 MLS clubs will use the data-tracking technology from adidas, providing coaches, trainers and players with real-time performance metrics including heart rate, speed, acceleration, distance, field position and, for the first time, power.
By measuring every move, heartbeat and step and relaying that to a coach on the touch line in less than a second, the technology enables a better understanding of the physical and physiological impact on the team, or any individual, during a game or training session. From analyzing trends to preventing overtraining and risk of injury, the micoach Elite System will help maintain optimum levels of player performance week in, week out throughout the season.
"We are proud to partner with our long-term partner Major League Soccer to debut our latest innovation the micoach Elite System at the MLS All-Star Game and then across the league in 2013," said adidas Group CEO Herbert Hainer. "As the paths of sports and technology continue to converge, we are pleased to be pioneering in this area and continue to deliver cutting-edge innovations to teams and leagues worldwide."
The micoach Elite System includes a small data cell that fits into a player's base layer in a protective pocket on the back between the shoulder blades. Connected by a series of electrodes and sensors woven into the fabric of the base layer, the cell wirelessly transmits more than 200 data records per second from each player to a central computer and then is displayed in a series of simplified insights and results on the coach's iPad. At the touch of his fingertips, a coach can monitor the workload of an individual player, compare one athlete with another or view the whole team to gain a complete picture of the squad.
"Our long-standing partnership with adidas and our combined goal to bring innovative and game-changing experiences to the sport of soccer are key reasons behind the success of Major League Soccer," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "Working with adidas, we are bringing players, coaches and fans across the league a revolutionary technology to help teams perform at the highest level."
In the future, MLS fans will be able to experience greater insight from the field of play as live, on-field player data will become an integral part of the game experience, whether watching from home or within the stadium.
MLS will debut the new adidas micoach technology on-field for the first time during the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on July 25 in Philadelphia, when the best of Major League Soccer take on UEFA Champions League winner Chelsea Football Club.
"On-field data tracking is one of the most important elements coaches and trainers use to prepare their teams," said Paul Gaudio, vice president of adidas interactive. "Teams are constantly looking for a competitive edge and the micoach Elite System is a real-time performance monitoring solution for the best teams in the world."
Gaudio continued, "With years of research, innovation and development behind it, the micoach Elite System allows coaches and trainers to make informed strategic decisions to maintain collective peak physical performance on the field."
In development since 2010, the micoach Elite System is the product of extensive research, science and cutting-edge technology development by adidas to create the most advanced system for elite teams across the globe. The micoach Elite System was developed in close consultation and collaboration with many of the leading soccer coaches and clubs including Major League Soccer teams New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union and Seattle Sounders FC, as well as Real Madrid, AC Milan, Ajax and Bayern Munich.
The micoach Elite System is part of the family of micoach electronic training devices, services and technologies that capture, analyze and evaluate personal performance to help athletes get better for their sport.
adidas is the global leader in soccer and partners with the world's greatest soccer clubs and federations including Chelsea FC, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Germany and Japan. adidas is an official partner of Major League Soccer, FIFA, UEFA and the Confederations of African Football. adidas sponsors world-class athletes like Leo Messi, David Beckham, David Villa, Kaka, Steven Gerrard, Xavi, Frank Lampard, Andres Guardado, Jozy Altidore, Brek Shea, Fredy Montero, Juan Agudelo and Omar Gonzalez, among others.
About Major League Soccer
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. MLS features many stars from the U.S., Canada, and around the world. Major League Soccer's 17th season features 19 clubs each playing 34 regular-season matches. Those clubs include the Chicago Fire; Chivas USA; Colorado Rapids; Columbus Crew; D.C. United; FC Dallas; Houston Dynamo; 2011 MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy; New York Red Bulls; New England Revolution; Philadelphia Union; Portland Timbers; Real Salt Lake; San Jose Earthquakes; Seattle Sounders FC; Sporting Kansas City; Toronto FC; Vancouver Whitecaps FC; and, in their inaugural season, Montreal Impact. For more information about MLS, log on to the league's official website at www.MLSsoccer.com.
About the adidas Group
The adidas Group is one of the global leaders within the sporting goods industry, offering a broad range of products around the core brands: adidas, Reebok, TaylorMade, Rockport and Reebok-CCM Hockey. Headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany, the Group had more than 46,000 employees and generated sales of over € 13.3 billion in 2011.