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Signality: The ultimate analysis and coaching source

Signality has built an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that gives clubs, leagues and federations real-time data which makes it easier to access statistics from games.

The Swedish-based company has created a system that gives an array of insights to use, free from the hassle of manually setting up cameras or using wearables – saving time and costs on installation that normally come with this type of equipment.

“We have built the world’s first fully automated player and ball tracking platform dedicated for football,” Michael Hoglund said, vice-president of marketing and growth at Signality.

“We don’t require operators manning a system, our AI takes care of capturing and analysing everything from kick-off to half-time, end of the game, and all the 3.5 million data points that occur in between as the game is being played.”

Signality’s data collection takes that responsibility away from coaches and analysts to keep up, capable of recording clearer and more accurate data in the process.

It’s collected in real-time, meaning there’s no need for coding windows, wearables or filming games – it is all done through the power of AI. Signality uses LiveInsight as a way to present all the very best data a coach or analyst could want.

“We are doing individual player tracking in real-time, with a fully automated process,” Hoglund said.

“Our clubs can now access detailed stats and player specific videos within five seconds of an event happening.

“All this is shared as raw data to our customers or through our cloud video and analytics platform, LiveInsight.

“As we collect three and a half million data points per match, LiveInsight is the product we use for clubs to make sense of this data – they determine the information that is displayed there and then the data is collected and displayed automatically – as reports and as playlists with video.

“The massive data-set is made up of the position and identity of all the players (even the referee) 25 times per second.”

Clubs can then have more flexibility about how they use data for all players, as individual performances are analysed.

While it may seem complex to record and track each player’s movement on the pitch, Signality makes this process a whole lot easier.

“We enable the analyst to easily string together complex data-filters that will then automatically populate and generate videos and reports as the game is being played on the field,” Hoglund said.

“For example, an analyst or coach might request for LiveInsight to show video of all the times that their right-back/number two, passed to their striker, number nine, for the last five games.

“LiveInsight will instantly extract those instances with video clips and associated data. We want to enable coaches and analysts to be able to focus more on the insights, rather than spending lots of times doing manual work with tagging, coding, and filming.

“That’s what an AI excels at, automating asks. We want to make analysts and coaches feel comfortable in offloading some of that ‘grunt work’ to us, being that support that frees up time, having their back when it’s crunch time.”

LiveInsight has been built to extract data from automatically recorded video to generate highlights.

It shows exactly how many times a player has touched the ball in different areas of the pitch, giving instant results that analysts and coaches can immediately use.

“For analysts this is a total game changer, saving them hours each week tagging. It also frees them up during games to focus on the game rather than filming it,” Hoglund said.

“Professional football analysts are almost always extremely well educated, and we think our system can make better use of their abundant skill sets.

LiveInsight has proved successful for clubs as they can make full use of their data through automatically tagged video.

“The very nature of ‘machine learning’ means that our product gets better over time,” Hoglund said.

“We’ll be even more accurate than we currently are at measuring player speeds and distances, dribbles, possession per zone, pass success rates etc.

“Human motion analysis directly from the video is another field we see a lot of exciting use cases for it by using joint detection, gait analysis, and player vision field of view.

Many elite clubs in Europe have turned to Signality for data that is less likely to have errors. With automatic insights, it is a more effective alternative than wearables, which can only extract data for a club’s own team, not the opposition or ball.

It leads to much deeper tactical analysis for every second of a match.

“We’re looking to work with innovative club coaches and analysts who want to get better, faster data,” Hoglund said.

“Any club who feel their analysts can make better use of their skills for match analysis and preparation, as well as opposition scouting.”

You can find out more on Signality here.

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Liam Watson is a Senior Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on international football policy, industry matters and industry 4.0

Football Australia recognise Female Football Week achievements

Football Australia are celebrating the achievements and contributions of women and girls in football as part of Female Football Week 2021.

Football Australia are celebrating the achievements and contributions of women and girls in football as part of Female Football Week 2021.

From March 1 to March 8, Football Australia are publishing a variety of digital content highlighting the important role of females in all levels of the sport. In addition, a range of educational factsheets and panels will be shared to assist the growth and development of female coaches, referees, administrators, volunteers and clubs.

Football Australia’s Female Football Week 2021 concludes on International Women’s Day on Monday March 8, following the release of Football Australia’s FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Legacy ‘23 plan at Parliament House in Canberra last week. It aims to deliver immediate and long-term community benefits and economic impact from Australia’s co-hosting of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 – the biggest sporting event on Australian soil since the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

“Female Football Week 2021 is as important as ever given the stated and sharp focus that Football Australia has on women’s football and the development of women and girls in football,” Football Australia CEO James Johnson said.

“Many of our initiatives throughout the coming week are aligned with key measures in our XI Principles for the future of Australian football and support our efforts to demonstrate to stakeholders the importance of creating a more supportive and inclusive environment for women and girls in football in Australia.

“Football Australia is targeting continued growth and 50:50 gender balance in participation by 2027. We believe Female Football Week provides the game with the platform to accelerate growth and achieve that target by recognising the important role women, together with men, play in delivering women’s football, and by showcasing that football is an inclusive and welcoming sport for women and girls from all communities, ages and abilities.”

Female Football Week 2021 content will be accessible on Football Australia’s digital and social channels.

“Over the next week the Female Football Week campaign aims to provide the community with the platform to celebrate the achievements of players, coaches, administrators and officials,” Sarah Walsh said, Football Australia’s Head of Women’s Football, Women’s World Cup Legacy & Inclusion.

“Excitingly, Female Football Week 2021 will conclude with three online panels to celebrate International Women’s Day and Female Football Week 2021.”

The panels are hosted by Stephanie Brantz, focusing on leadership and development in the modern era. They feature international and domestic executives, coaches and match officials.

The executive panel will feature Sarai Bareman, Chief of Women’s Football at FIFA, Karina LeBlanc, Head of Women’s Football at CONCACAF, Amanda Vandervort, Chief Women’s Football Officer at FIFPRO, and James Johnson and Sarah Walsh from Football Australia.

The coaching panel will feature Emma Hayes, Head Coach of Chelsea FC Women, Tony Gustavsson, Head Coach of the Westfield Matildas, and Mel Andreatta, Assistant Coach of the Westfield Matildas.

And the match officials panel currently features Kari Seitz, FIFA Head of Refereeing – Women, Kate Jacewicz, FIFA & Football Australia Referee, and Esfandiar Baharmast, former FIFA Referee and FIFA Referee Instructor.

“As an organisation that aspires to think local but act global, we’re thrilled that we can produce content with, and access insights from, change agents at the highest levels of football to share with Australia’s passionate football community. This is an important part of our mission for Australia to become the centre of women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region,” Walsh said.

The need for more women coaches – Interview with FCA’s Aish Ravi

New Football Coaches Australia (FCA) Executive Committee member Aish Ravi has made it her mission to inspire more women to take up coaching roles, from the community level to the highest level of sport in Australia.

Ravi, who is undertaking a Doctor of Philosophy focusing on women’s coaching education in football, believes Football Coaches Australia is an organisation that can challenge the current status quo amongst the coaching ranks.

“I think FCA has definitely got the potential to make a lot of change in the coaching and leadership space. I’m really excited to help them enact that change,” she said.

“I’m currently doing a PHD looking at women in sport. It’s really about understanding what women’s experiences are in football and why there is a lack of them, and seeing what strategies we can put in place to change that.

“I met Glenn Warry (CEO of FCA) through my involvement of working within the Victorian NPL system and he wanted me to use my knowledge and expertise I guess, in wanting to contribute to give women a voice in FCA.

“We wanted to see how we can amplify their voices, provide more exposure for them and also see how we can increase the number of women coaches.”

A VCE Business Management and Economics teacher by day, Ravi was personally introduced to coaching when she was asked to coach the school’s football side.

After completing an appropriate coaching licence course, she would go on to manage Junior NPL teams at Heidelberg United and Bayside United, before eventually being offered a position to coach the women’s senior team at Bentleigh Cobras.

“We ended up winning the championship in my first season (at Bentleigh) in 2019 which was really exciting,” Ravi said.

“Now we are just trying to regroup and see if we can do the same thing this year.”

Ravi’s passion for coaching is helped by her enthusiasm for working with younger people.

“I really enjoy working with them in a holistic way, so getting to know them and understanding what their interests, motivations and desires are to help them achieve their best,” she said.

“That combined with the love of football, is really why I enjoy coaching football in particular. It’s the world game and once you understand and know that, you can talk to so many people from so many different places. It’s something I get a lot of excitement and enjoyment from.”

FCA Executive Committee member Aish Ravi.

Despite these positive experiences in football, Ravi would still see the coaching game in general dominated heavily by males, something that she believed needed to be addressed.

In response to this, she would go on to co-found the Women’s Coaching Association (WCA) last year with fellow PHD candidate Julia Hay.

“I coach football, but I also play Australian rules and cricket, so I’m quite heavily involved in the community with sport in general,” Ravi said.

“Julia has an Australian Rules background and from talking and sharing our experiences we realised that a lot of the barriers women face coaching football (from my perspective), were actually also similar to that of other sports.

“Sports such as Australian Rules, Cricket, Hockey, Netball all shared common challenges. So, we founded WCA, really to get all the sports together, not just for football.

“We wanted to really bring it together for the coaches, in particular women coaches, but also men who are coaching women.

“We would like to see how we can first of all attract more women and girls to coach sport, how we can develop the women and girls who are currently coaching a team in these sports and also sustain a career.

“They are the three real objectives we have.”

According to Ravi, events like The Women’s World Cup in 2023, the biggest sporting event to be held on our shores since the 2000 Olympics, will hopefully act as a catalyst for necessary social changes in women’s sport. Not only at a coaching or playing capacity, but also at a leadership level.

“It’s a really important event,” she said.

“Sport is the most powerful social institution. It’s great that the Football World Cup is the world’s largest women’s sporting event and it’s awesome that it’s at our home.

“If the Matildas have success that’s great, that can show the young girls and women that they have a pathway, a career, that’s celebrated and respected and perhaps they can succeed in.

“But It’s also vital that we have women leaders that are visible and succeeding, that sends an equally powerful message that there are also career opportunities off the field.”

Iterpro adds confidence to a club’s decision making

Iterpro Football Intelligence supplies comprehensive data to an easy-to-use platform so clubs can make more informed decisions in quick time.

Iterpro Football Intelligence supplies comprehensive data to an easy-to-use platform so clubs can make more informed decisions in quick time.

Top clubs in Europe, such as AC Milan and Inter Milan, have counted on Iterpro to take the stress out of managing their team.

Centred around player performance and recovery, Iterpro gives clubs vital information that become valuable insights for their game-to-game preparation.

It’s the first business intelligence solution built from the ground up, aiming to connect with an entire club’s operations via an easy-to-use club management system. As Iterpro can offer data from multiple sources, it makes for a seamless, time-saving and hassle free experience.

A wide range of features cover each facet of running a team, so all members of staff can manage their relevant department through specifically-built software.

All departments of the Iterpro platform can each bring powerful insights. They thrive on improved communication, reduced injury risk and a return on investment for all clients.

Technical department:

Managing the team is quicker and smarter with an interactive team sheet. An automatic data feed can take match analysis to the next level by highlighting a player’s physical condition and availability to play.

During the week, a coach can create an activities planner for the team that keeps everyone on the same page. Some weeks may require different actions to others, so this keeps everyone organised.

A video gallery adds another dimension to coaching in a visual capacity, where unlimited training, game videos and tactical clips can be stored and shared through the player app. It gives team members all the tools they need to confidently know their role and responsibilities.

Sports science department:

A player’s physical condition can be easily tracked so that adjustments can be made as required to their individual training plan.

If a player is given a certain workload in training and manages to complete it, then it says to clubs that they are able to sustain that level or physically ready to take the next step. Conversely, some players might struggle with that same demand, so coaches can work closer with them to build on their fitness or conditioning. This means sport scientists have to look at a player’s state of fatigue and assess whether there may be a risk of injury if they do to much, where soft tissue injuries could arise without appropriate analysis.

Training session plans can be implemented so that targets can be set with the aim of achieving them in various training drills and game simulations.

Medical department:

 

When players sustain injuries they can be monitored week-to-week with the appropriate care to protect them so that they can get back on the pitch in an appropriate timeframe.

Organised lists can give important details about where each individual player is at in their recovery, with short-term and long-term absentees provided to medical staff which can then prompt treatment and rehabilitation to be completed.

Injuries can be managed thoughtfully so that it eliminates the temptation of rushing a player back too early, which can lead to more or worse problems over time if the player isn’t managed correctly.

Administration: 

An entire club can be managed on the one platform, with all financial aspects covered to put more control on spending.

Contracts are fully digitised and includes all the appropriate details of all staff members. The number of years and months remaining on contracts are easily visible.

When the transfer window is open, it can be managed through the software and even offers simulating scenarios. Clubs will be informed about how much money they have to spend on new signings if they want them, or they could instead invest this on new contracts for team members.

A full analysis of a club’s financial performance is done with real-time monitoring, where capital gain and losses are recorded. It helps navigate through the ins and outs of revenue and costs.

Talent ID:

Academy players can be tracked to assess their development en route to a senior team call up.

Iterpro allows coaches to give up and coming players attributes that can be updated over time to see how they can grown in their development.

The attributes feature is also useful for club scouts who can make note of a potential signings’ strengths and weaknesses, which can lead to decisions about how they may be a good fit for a new team.

Iterpro can play a major part for clubs looking to gain a competitive advantage, being a positive influence for future team management.

You can see all of what Iterpro has to offer here.

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