NI firm STATSports scores massive $1.5bn US soccer deal

30 Mar 2018

AS Roma players training with the Apex sports vests. Image: STATSports

Breakthrough deal could see NI firm’s sports technology used by millions of players worldwide.

Newry data firm STATSports has signed a major deal worth $1.5bn (€1.1bn) with the US Soccer Federation for players to wear its performance data vests.

The deal should eventually see 4m registered footballers wearing the Northern Ireland company’s Apex performance technology vests, similar to those used by the game’s top players, within three years.

‘The ability to utilise the system live to help make instant and informed decisions is second to none’

STATSports already supplies to clubs in the English Premier League, including Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur as well as the Brazil, Germany, Portugal, Belgium and English football associations.

NFL, NHL, Rugby Union, NBA, track and field, and hockey teams also use the company’s Apex Team Series GPS units, which provide real-time data to players and coaches to drive improved performance.

The partnership between STATSports and the US Soccer Federation will result in the world’s largest player data monitoring programme and is seen as a platform to identify future stars of the game in the US.

It is also the first step towards giving footballers at all levels across the US access to the performance technology used by the top professionals and teams around the world.

“We are extremely excited to partner with STATSports,” said US Soccer director of sport development, Ryan Mooney.

“This technology will drive our support, improve performance, and better monitor health and safety across all of our national teams and our nation’s elite players in the Development Academy.

“By partnering with a world leader in wearable performance tracking, we will help drive and improve player environments through the exchange of data between clubs and US Soccer as players enter and leave national team camps. Over time, this information will be used to research, support and educate the entire landscape,” Mooney said.

Holistic analysis, live feedback

NI sports tech firm STATSports scores $1.5bn US soccer deal

STATSports Apex app and sensor. Image: STATSports

STATSports’ suite of player development hardware and software offers US Soccer coaches, high-performance staff and players the ability to holistically analyse each player’s individual response to training sessions and games, through real-time feedback.

This ability will continue to remain a crucial element in enhancing performance on the field while also reducing the chances of players under-training or picking up injuries through over-training.

“Players, parents and coaches are looking for data that can really help them improve, and the Apex Athlete Series GPS units do just that,” said STATSports group managing director Jarlath Quinn.

“Our expectation is for millions of registered players in the US to be wearing these devices by 2022, and this will revolutionise the way young players train, recover and perform. This will be the world’s largest data collection programme on athletes in any sport across both professional and recreational levels. The information is so rich, it enables everyone to make better decisions on training and performance.

6,500 Apex Team Series systems will be deployed across the US men’s national team, women’s national team, Paralympic national team, futsal national team, beach soccer national team, National Women’s Soccer League, youth national teams and Development Academy clubs.

“The Apex performance monitoring devices are the most accurate and give us the optimal ability to support all our national teams and Development Academy clubs,” said US Soccer high-performance director James Bunce.

“The ability to utilise the system live to help make instant and informed decisions is second to none. By developing a customisable, centralised hub to analyse data from every soccer player across the US, we will be able to assess, monitor and optimise the physical development for those players.

“This project has the potential to collect data on a scale that has not been achieved before in any sport or organisation. This technology will support our mission to develop world-class players through numerous avenues, including benchmarking, injury prevention and talent identification.

“With over 4m registered players, we believe there is tremendous potential for the Apex Athlete Series device to track performance; improve education for parents, players and coaches; and to enhance player health and safety.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years