A small data cell nested between the player's shoulder blades, protected by a pocket of fabric and connected to electrodes woven into the athlete's base layer marks a bold step into the future of professional soccer. That was one of the major points of adidas' announcement in New York City earlier today, as the sports equipment giant takes its partnership with Major League Soccer to new heights in a bid to change the way we gather sports data.
MLS coaches, trainers, and players will have access to performance information at speeds that were previously just a figment of some statistician's imagination. The tiny data cell that will become standard for MLS athletes come 2013 is capable of transmitting 200 data records every second to a central computer that will crunch the numbers in real time. The information will then be neatly represented in a series of easy-to-comprehend infographics that can be viewed, analyzed, and compared through adidas' micoach software.
With the data cell implanted into base layers and uniforms, those who need the information most will instantly be able to access performance metrics like speed, distance covered, average field position, heart rate, acceleration, and "power." The technology will in turn allow those analyzing it to assemble an informed picture of a specific player, positional corps, or the entire squad that can be refreshed and compared day in and day out.
Speaking of adidas' partnership with MLS, adidas Group CEO Herbert Hainer said:
"We are proud to partner with our long-term partner Major League Soccer to debut our latest innovation the micoach Elite System at the MLS All-Star Game and then across the league in 2013,
"As the paths of sports and technology continue to converge, we are pleased to be pioneering in this area and continue to deliver cutting-edge innovations to teams and leagues worldwide."
Don Garber spoke of Major League Soccer's innovation:
"Our long-standing partnership with adidas and our combined goal to bring innovative and game-changing experiences to the sport of soccer are key reasons behind the success of Major League Soccer,
"Working with adidas, we are bringing players, coaches and fans across the league a revolutionary technology to help teams perform at the highest level."
Finally, Vice President of adidas Interactive Paul Gaudio said of the technology:
"On-field data tracking is one of the most important elements coaches and trainers use to prepare their teams. Teams are constantly looking for a competitive edge and the micoach Elite System is a real-time performance monitoring solution for the best teams in the world.
"With years of research, innovation and development behind it, the micoach Elite System allows coaches and trainers to make informed strategic decisions to maintain collective peak physical performance on the field."
The micoach Elite System will make its debut at Wednesday's (July 25, 2012) MLS All-Star Game as the MLS All-Stars take on Chelsea at PPL Park in Philadelphia. The system was developed with participation from clubs including Red Bull New York, Philadelphia Union, Seattle Sounders, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Ajax, and Bayern Munich.