Why Atlanta United’s Youth Academy Has Turned to PlayerMaker Wearable: ‘Technical Mastery for a Young Player Is Everything’

  • September 23, 2019

Major League Soccer’s reigning champion, Atlanta United FC, is arming youth academy players with wearable technology to aid in their technical development.

The soccer club, which defeated the Portland Timbers in the 2018 MLS Cup and is currently ranked third in the Eastern Conference, has partnered with Tel Aviv-based PlayerMaker to put tracking chips on the cleats of 13- and 14-year-old Atlanta United Academy players. With Atlanta United paving the way for other MLS clubs, they have identified and implemented new innovative methods for using the technology that have not yet been applied by any other team around the world. The academy team will be benchmarking indicators such as pace, pass completion, ball touches (by right/left foot), and passing network across individual positions, comparing like for like against the first team to highlight where special attention is needed. This training technique is only possible through the analysis of the various indicators that the PlayerMaker device highlights and is likely to be mirrored by other clubs worldwide.

“We’re hoping to improve our edge by boosting our academy. It’s an investment from the club to try to accelerate the level of our players.”

Tony Annan
Academy Director of Atlanta United

The PlayerMaker device collects datapoints based on a discrete boot-mounted gyroscope and accelerometer, which are then processed in the cloud and analyzed against the largest dataset of football movements in the world. The system then creates dashboards to highlight technical, tactical and physical indicators for evaluation by players, coaches, managers and even scouts.

Tony Annan, Academy Director at Atlanta United FC said, “The PlayerMaker system has given us tremendous insight into the performance of our players, and the ability to benchmark their metrics against our first team allows us to zero in on specific areas for improvement. Some of the players were initially skeptical of wearing a device on their boots, but they simply don’t notice it – there has been no interference with our training, and the results are already showing in individual and team performance.”

Read more on on position-based benchmarking in Sport Techie or see our demo to find out more on how the system provides the most holistic player performance approach.