Soccer Club Implements Analytics using Tableau to Boost Player Performance

By CIOReview | Wednesday, July 16, 2014

FREMONT, CA: Seattle Sounders FC, a soccer club based in Seattle, Wash., makes smart use of wearable gadgets to turn them into avenues of better decision making in order to enhance teams’ performance. Data received from these gadgets are visualized using the Tableau solutions to gain better insight of the players’ capabilities.

Sounders players are equipped with multiple data-gathering devices that generate data regarding their movement, vital signs and health. Tableau generates reports based on the collected unstructured data from multiple sources and is streamed in the form of visualization that can easily be understood by the coach.

The reports can be used to conduct post-training and post-game assessments, create rankings of players, and ultimately to inform strategies to ensure players are rejuvenated ahead of the game.

The teams’ performance manager, David Tenney, analyzes the data collected pertaining to the players’ sleep patterns, GPS positioning on the field, the speed and distance they run in practice and in games and more. Visual reports are then created using Tableau by Tenney. The team’s coaches would then be able to make information-driven decisions regarding the training schedules and regimens.

“In the last five years, the power of technology in sports, and wearables in particular, has caught hold,” says Tenney. “This technology generates a wealth of data on our players, from our pre-season practices all the way through our regular season. Our coaches aren’t data scientists—but Tableau lets us give them visually clear reports to see how players are performing and make informed decisions about the team.”

 “Because our coaches can understand this data visually, they’re able to gain insights not visible to the naked eye like data on a players speed, acceleration, and distance,” adds Tenney. “The result is that we can structure our workouts and trainings to keep players healthier and fresher at the end of games. The impact is quantifiable—we’re scoring more than a third of our goals in the last 15 minutes of each game.”