It was just after 10:30 p.m. local time on June 4 when the final whistle sounded on Mexico’s 1-0 win against Jamaica. The entire U.S. coaching staff had arrived in Kingston with the rest of the team earlier in the day and sat in attendance at the match. While the staff returned to the team hotel, the process of breaking down the video was already underway, according to U.S. chief scout Carlos Juarez.
“We had already arranged with the [video] company Match Analysis to record and process the match, and in this case of the urgency we needed,” Juarez said. “We asked them to turn it over that same night. Usually it’s done in the middle of the night, two or three in the morning, maybe even earlier.”
The game video enters the turnaround process from the second the match ends, during which every movement by every single player on the field is tagged through a process call charting.
Every single dribble, shot, pass, foul by any player is made available instantly by the click of the button. After the process is complete, a preset program on Juarez’s computer begins downloading the newly-charted video and is already available for the morning staff meeting.
Even well into the final round of qualifying – and having scouted each team numerous times – last minute adjustments are common with every opponent.
“Leading into this game I’ve already 90% scouted the team, so I’m looking at last-minute details,” Juarez said. “For example, on Tuesday night Jamaica used two players with no caps. Now we can pull a series of images on them, so that’s why it’s important to have it so fast. I can then incorporate it into my presentation.”
New players, altered set pieces and marking strategies are some of the just some the areas that can coaches can adjust to and exploit, making the quick turnaround of video an important element of the team’s preparation.
“It’s a valuable tool,” Juarez added. “Current knowledge can affect how you plan training, impact tactics and alter lineup decisions,” Juarez said. “From that standpoint, it’s priceless.”