Data’s coming home: FA hunts glory with Google deal

lioness footieThe Football Association is aiming to leave no stone unturned in its quest to turn all 28 of the England national teams – including the men’s and women’s senior players, the Powerchair team and the youth squad – into world beaters by signing a major digital transformation contract with Google.
As part of the the multi-year deal, Google Cloud has become the official cloud and data analytics partner to the FA, in a move which it is hoped will see a shift from siloed working to a more collaborative approach between coaches of all the teams.
At the heart of the transformation will be the St George’s Park national training centre, built on a 330-acre site at Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, which is the base for all coaching and development work undertaken by the FA.
The FA wants to apply advanced analytics to find “meaningful” insights from the “many terabytes” of data stored within Google Cloud. The FA’s analysis teams will embrace Google Cloud products such as BigQuery to extract relevant information for the teams, the organisation claims.
Their next step will be to expand their proprietary tool, built on Google Cloud, called the Player Profile System (PPS) to measure performance, fitness, training and form of players at all levels.
The FA and Google Cloud say they will work to “supercharge the PPS” to automate near real-time data analysis, allowing the FA to better compare and analyse team and player performance and make data-driven decisions.
PPS will be further enhanced by Google Cloud smart analytics, data management solutions and machine learning capabilities to analyse even more player data signals, the company insists.
FA head of team strategy and performance Dave Reddin said: “We believe technology is a key area of potential competitive advantage for our 28 teams and everything we do at St George’s Park. We have progressively built a systematic approach to developing winning England teams and through the support of Google Cloud technology we wish to accelerate our ability to translate insight and learning into performance improvements.”
Whether it will be enough to beat the Germans on penalties remains to be seen…

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