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Development Academy Teams Provided Exclusive Insight Into Game Performance With ProZone Video Analysis

GREENSBORO, N.C. (June 28, 2008) – As the on-the-field action continues during the Development Academy Summer Showcase, the 126 teams on hand in Greensboro, N.C., are also receiving an exclusive breakdown of their performances from ProZone, the world’s leading post-match analysis system.

U.S. Soccer’s partnership with ProZone is another element to the overall commitment of improving the development of players, coaches and referees in the United States.  

ProZone evaluates the skills of individual players and teams as witnessed on the soccer field, producing statistical, graphical and visual results. In this Summer Showcase alone, a total of 1,500 events will be recorded and entered into MatchViewer, the video-based analysis tool for coaches and players to access.

Similar to the past three Showcases, a single camera source will capture each Academy teams’ three matches in Greensboro. The footage is tracked and coded manually by ProZone analysts who produce a full set of statistics, graphs and distribution maps in a 24-hour period.

The statistics list successful and unsuccessful passes, corner-kicks, shots on goal, throw-ins, goals and misconduct. This information is then entered into charts and graphs, which can be broken down by individuals and teams. Meanwhile, the distribution map provides a visual representation of the game’s events. This field map indicates the passes of any given team while each line, or pass, is hyperlinked to video footage of the event.

MatchInsight, the tactical analysis software, is available for Academy teams interested in utilizing ProZone’s match analysis system independently. Coaches and teams have access to self-coding processes, tracking and creating feedback for their matches on their own. Meanwhile, each team will be given eight match analyses from three Showcase events this inaugural Development Academy year.

“ProZone for the Development Academy program has never been done before at least in the United States,” said U.S. Soccer Development Academy Technical Director John Hackworth. “This is an invaluable way for coaches and players to go back and try to analyze a game now that they get some very useful statistical information and some concrete data that they can use in their own development.”

Players and Coaches

The information pulled from ProZone’s post-match analysis is invaluable to every Academy coach and player. Development Academy coaches can access analysis reports of their team, identify the strengths and weaknesses of any individual player or group. This objective statistical data can be used to create drills for practices, and coaches can then gauge the team’s improvement in certain areas of play.

The data can also be used to scout opponents. Coaches can identify the same strengths and weaknesses in other teams — including seeing the outcomes of opponents’ free kicks — to exploit them on game days.

“For example, if FC Westchester were working on a tactical play during the week, the coach will be able to bring that information up using the ProZone system,” said Stewart Mairs, ProZone’s general manager of operations. “He’ll be able to see if that particular play was a success or not. If not, maybe it’s something they could work on further down the line, maybe the next week.”  

The individual analyses allow Academy athletes to compare statistics with other players on their teams in charts or on distribution maps, tracking each of their events on the field. Each individual’s technical and tactical events, and the corresponding videos, can be exported and recorded onto DVDs. Players can take the videos home and gather more information on their own.

“ProZone can give a player detailed information, which I think is valuable for a coach to impart,” said Bob Mouillon, director of coaching for AFC Lightening SC (Fayetteville, Ga.). “Rather than [a coach] telling them, they can see for themselves when you can isolate a player or a series of events during a game and show them. It’s more of an individual thing. Rather than having the whole team watching you, you can go to a player, your back four or your midfields and say, ‘Look at this ball that went past you. You didn’t quite work and you weren’t first to the ball.’”

U.S. MNT and Referees

ProZone is being utilized on the U.S. Soccer youth level through the Development Academy, as well as at the elite level for the U.S. Men’s National Team. U.S. Soccer partnered with ProZone in a two-year agreement to analyze the National Team’s matches on a team and individual level.

“What the Men’s National Team has done with ProZone is use it as another way for us to analyze the game,” said Hackworth, who is also an assistant with the MNT. “The information that we have been given, and the analysis and data, are extremely helpful to our process of moving our National Team forward.”  

The ProZone program can best be utilized with data from an extended period of time and a number of teams. Consequently, U.S. Soccer has also established a plan to concurrently analyze Major League Soccer matches over the next two years, building a larger database for National Team analysis.

“All the MLS teams will be tracked and coded using the ProZone system so we have a huge, real data set of every single player available in the MLS,” Mairs said. “This has National Team implications because the National Team can have a look at this data and see who has being playing well over a period of games and how they’ll be selecting, statistically, the best of players.”

Paul Tamberino, Brian Hall and Alfred Kleinaitis from U.S. Soccer’s Referee Department will also be using ProZone to analyze the performance of referees each week in MLS and the performance of up-and-coming referees at each Development Academy Showcase.

Development Academy teams will receive video analysis from all of their eight Showcase matches enabling them to track progress over the course of the year and provide Academy coaches with insight to improve both their team play and the performance of individual players. In addition, all information will be made available to U.S. National Team scouts and coaches for player identification purposes.