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Newry sports stats firm signs £1bn US soccer deal

A ground-breaking deal between the U.S. Soccer Federation and Newry based performance data experts, STATSports, should see millions of registered footballers wearing performance technology similar to that used by the game’s top players within three years.

The partnership 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 U.S. 

Worn in a vest and positioned between the shoulder blades, the APEX Athlete Monitoring devices quantify physical performance including, physical load and movement during training and matches. The high-resolution units measure physical metrics including distance, speed, acceleration, deceleration, high-speed running, load and heart rate.  A typical training session will see millions of data points collected on a player, providing an unparalleled insight into their performance. 

STATSports’ data monitoring devices are already used by clubs in the English Premier League, including Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur as well as international football associations in Brazil, Germany, Portugal. The company’s APEX Team Series GPS units are also used by the Ireland rugby team and the American NFL. 

The Newry headquartered company was formed ten years ago and employs around 50 staff with offices also set up in Chicago. 

The STATSports’ suite of player development hardware and software will provide U.S. 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, leading to improved performances on the field and allowing US Soccer to swiftly identify top and rising talent.

U.S. Soccer will roll the technology out in two tiers, initially deploying the systems across the men’s and women’s national teams and academy clubs.  With four million registered players in the US, the possibilities for the Newry company are huge, according to STATSports Group Managing Director Jarlath Quinn. 

“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 Mr Quinn.

“Our expectation is for millions of registered players in the U.S. 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.

“Key Performance Indicators are emerging by position that will assist with developing national standards, player development initiatives, national team selections, in-game tactical considerations, reviewing training responses in real time and adjusting practices based upon environmental change and conditions.”

U.S. Soccer Director of Sport Development Ryan Mooney said they are “extremely excited to partner with STATSports.

 “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 U.S. Soccer as players enter and leave National team camps. Over time, this information will be used to research, support and educate the entire landscape.”