The rise of football scouting apps that NPL clubs could use

Talent identification and training for football via mobile apps have taken large strides in recent years. Major clubs are starting to come onboard and take advantage of the benefits that scouting and training through mobile apps provide.

As we delve into apps used by overseas clubs, they offer a glimpse into what National Premier League (NPL) clubs can explore.

In August, Chelsea announced Perfect Play, an app which they said “enables all footballers to experience world-class, personalised coaching for the first time, combining performance tracking technology with elite academy expertise.”

Perfect Play is used by the Chelsea FC Academy who also helped with the development of the app.

Tracking technology analyses the user’s performance while training games look to improve different skills such as dribbling, passing, shooting, speed and strength.

“Perfect Play has been created with the experience and expertise of the management and players of the Chelsea FC Academy, which is one of the elite football academies in the world,” Chelsea FC Chief Executive, Guy Laurence said on the launch of the app.

“Our vision is to share this immersive focus on technical, tactical and physical football development, not just with the select few who are fortunate enough to train at Cobram, but with every young footballer around the world with the desire to succeed in football.

“Through the unrivalled focus on technology-led innovation at the heart of all Chelsea Digital Ventures initiatives, we have been able to create a service that provides aspiring players and their parents an individualised, structured training programme that encourages regular physical activity as well as making them a better player.”

Meanwhile, Toronto FC are using similar technology to try and gain a competitive advantage.

In late August, they released TFC Widenet – an app which evaluates speed and fitness that which is then used as a talent identification tool by the club.

Chief Technology and Digital Officer at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (the company that owns Toronto FC), Humza Teherany told The Sports Network that the app was a pathway to potentially becoming a Toronto player.

“How do we find talent? How do we do it differently than everybody else? How do we get access to every kid in the country, maybe even every kid in the world, leveraging our digital capabilities,” said Teherany.

“I don’t know how you scout a year from now without having technology tools like this. I think it becomes harder. I think those that have these skills and technologies and can actually build it into the way they scout … I think it’s going to be must-do’s.”

He referenced that the sporting landscape was a “very new world” following the pandemic and the teams needed to focus on digital technologies.

“We are now looking at all things technology, innovation and digital across MLSE from a business perspective. And more and more as part of our MLSE Digital Sports Performance Labs, we’re partnering with our (teams’) front offices to understand where we can double-down on digital and innovation to continue to gain a competitive advantage in the quest for more championships for the city,” he said.

The importance and potential for this sort of technology is being realised around the globe.

On September 4 Indian football training app enJogo was launched to encourage people to play football from home during lockdown.

“Technology can revolutionize grassroots sports in India. The football training app ‘enJogo’ from Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools will enable young footballers across India to get access to proper online coaching to train remotely, which can also help in identifying talent from the remotest parts of the country,” Indian Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijijud said.

Companies such as AiScout are also starting to create a presence, working with some of these large clubs and associations.

AiScout have partnerships with Chelsea FC, the Welsh FA and the Sri Lankan FA. Their app uses AI technology to rate players based off their skills.

Six players have undertaken English Premier League trials after being scouted through the app – one player who had never been scouted before was signed to AFC Bournemouth after using AiScout.

This technology could be used by NPL clubs to scout players whilst being COVID safe.

If restrictions prevent training in large groups, then these apps could be used instead of trials to identity potential in athletes.

The NPL or national second division could also use this as a cheaper and easier alternative to trials. Instead of flying players in from interstate, they could instead be rated through these types of technologies.

Football training apps also present an opportunity for local NPL clubs who are struggling financially. Instead of paying large amounts for a coach, Chelsea’s Perfect Play app could be used in conjunction with a less experienced coach.

These apps are also convenient and are available on the Apple and Google Play app stores – users can access the content in their own time.

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Daniel Foley is a sports junior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and micro industry matters.

Dallmeier: Mitigating the risk involved in anti-social fan behaviour

Football fan behaviour can on occasion be detrimental in the progression of the sport across the globe.

Although a celebrated part of the game – when loyalty, passion and individual personalities are animated – the potential for something unsavoury to occur, becomes imminent.

Globally, a key element of the sport is its tribalistic nature. Football fans possess the tendencies of becoming relentless within their support for a club.

The comparison of two large contingents of football fans coming together, with their respective teams battling it out for supremacy, is reminiscent of a crusade.

In acknowledgement of fan behaviours, governing bodies must exercise adequate security throughout stadiums in order to prevent the slim although present opportunity for disorderly behaviour occurring.

Dallmeier

Dallmeier are a German based technology company in whom have become specialists in comprehensive security services.

Derived from the use of video technology the German entity have built quite the portfolio upon completion of football related security within the company’s tenure.

The company boast eight varying security solutions for stadiums. All crafted with the intention of making stadiums safer through the minimization of fan misconduct.

Since 1984, Dallmeier have been experts upon the field of video technology. Optimal within their services, the company provides security logistically and industrially.

Furthermore, their services extend to airports casinos cities, and finally stadiums.

Security Hardware Variety – Panomera Camera 

The use of Dallmeier’s most innovative and decorated product has primarily featured within football stadium security.

Panomera cameras are the combination of several megapixel cameras all forged into one efficient device.

Allowing users to capture larger areas and long distances of space. Providing what a series of cameras would reduce in one efficient device.

The Panomera Camera maintains the highest quality of imagery, allowing in the improved identification of potential perpetrators.

Stadium Security Measures – Dispatch Management 

Dispatch management and allows for the identification and background search of personnel who identify as a threat to the public, to be adequately dealt with by security or police officials.

Providing a real time understanding of the stadiums environment.

Capturing incident data in the form of videos, photos and witness statements all for those who commit an antisocial act at a football match.

Putting emphasis upon the punishment of perpetrators, with the video capturing evidence that can be guided into the hands of law enforcement.

Stadium Security Measures – Entrance Area 

The entrance area aspect of Dallmeiers stadium security allows for the identification of fans looking to cause issues prior to their entry into the stadium.

As a result of optimal security installation upon sport stadiums around the globe, the participation of football upon all aspects can flourish.

While the tribalism and passion all synonymous with football fans, it is an area of the sport that can have a ripple effect upon it causing disruptions to matches and detriment of fan involvement.

Additionally, anti-social fan misconduct can have a negative connotation upon a sport well-respected.

What impact it can have in Australia?

As a result, events can transpire culminating in what should be a celebrated aspect of the sport, becoming its kryptonite.

It was only 14 months ago where in our backyard, an unsavoury event transpired between rival crowds, leaving a stain upon football in Australia.

At the time, it had somewhat derailed a hype train football in Australia was experiencing. Given the Socceroo’s had successfully qualified for the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup.

The aftermath of such a monumental achievement was tarnished due to fan misconduct.

Company’s in the same class as Dallmeier, allow for the sport to be participated while an emphasis can be put upon the players taking to the pitch.

It is imperative that fan safety is held at the highest responsibility. The raw element of fan behaviour should not be eradicated, but has all the potential to be mitigated, exposing the raw fan element in a positive light with the improved security and emphasis on safety.

Orreco.AI: Transforming the way athletes recover and perform

Orreco.AI is a new AI technology tool that aims to help advance athlete training, athlete performance and management of injuries in sport.

This innovation in data collecting technology has one goal – to give athletes the power to control and better their performance using a range of data points never seen before in the industry.

Led by CEO and Sports Scientist Dr Brian Moore, Orreco has had a plan since 2010 to innovate sport by leveraging technology to better athletes’ performance and management.

Since its inception, Orreco has lead research findings and released new, updated technologies to fine tune the accuracy of the data they show to athletes.

They released the app ‘@thlete’, which is a data and content platform for athletes that synthesises a range of data to help athletes better their sleep, wellness, preparation and recovery.

Orreco’s Recovery Lab is the precursor to Orreco.AI, with it being a similar concept that integrates data and metrics to improve wellbeing.

Orreco also released a pioneering free app called FitrWoman which is a leader in supporting women athletes during their menstrual cycle by providing education, training and nutritional support.

Orreco is fast tracking the Orreco.AI technology that is the first of its kind. The technology gives teams player pages with basic statistics such as distance covered, top speed and performance stats but also is providing coaches with an in-depth analysis on their fitness by using blood biomarkers to accurately pick up the data.

Minute-by-minute post-game injury scores and injury signals that give coaches a head start on protecting and managing their players.

Orreco.AI aims to also improve efficiency for athlete performance coaches through voice and text prompt interactions.

Orreco have harnessed three pivotal waves of AI – advancements in computing, cloud storage, and generative AI.

Their objective is to provide differentiated, actionable data that can help athletes transform their game.

Orreco’s AI suite is at the forefront, complete high performance platform converting vast amounts of data into actionable insights. Here’s how:

AI Charting:

AI charting allows direct interaction with your data through intuitive voice commands. For example, you might ask, “Please show me Peter Brand’s inflammation levels as a line graph.” Instantly, crucial insights are displayed, enabling faster, more informed decisions to optimise athlete performance.

AI Action Models:

Our AI Action Models can provide comprehensive overviews of any dataset with simple voice commands. For instance, “Show me athletes of concern and why,”  immediate evidence based answers, securely delivered as your data never leaves the platform. This functionality ensures proactive management of player health and performance.

TRAIN:

The TRAIN module predicts training loads based on historical GPS data, creating sessions tailored to specific criteria — sets, reps, pitch size, and duration. Adjustments can be made in real-time, offering dynamic feedback. This efficiency not only saves time but also enhances training strategies.

AI Injury Risk Modelling:

Motion Signal delivers post-game injury risk scores by identifying deviations from normal movement patterns. This advanced warning system helps prevent injuries such as hamstring strains. As in-game data becomes available, real-time injury risk scoring will further enhance preventive measures.

Orreco’s mission with this particular technology is to empower teams and players to reach its peak performance, maintain health and extend careers.

There has never been a higher demand for athletes than in the current sports landscape. More games being played, more minutes on the pitch, more travel, and an increase in high intensity training has led to the increase of a risk of injury, shortened careers and poorer performances on gameday.

This AI technology innovation highlights a shift in how professional sporting clubs and athletes are viewing the current situation and willing to do what they can to mitigate the potential soft-tissue injuries that arise.

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