FIFA recently approved AI sensor use for football boots, marking a significant milestone in the sport’s history. Playermaker developed this technology, making it the first lower-limb tracking device allowed in official matches. The device captures a wide range of data, including time in possession, technical balance, kicking velocities, and speed. This approval promises to transform coaching strategies and elevate player development by enhancing performance monitoring.
While professional matches have allowed player tracking technology before, this marks the first approval for a sensor located in the boot. Previous technologies typically attached to the upper body, limiting the scope of data collection. The new boot sensor introduces fresh opportunities for data-driven coaching.
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UK-based Playermaker’s journey began five years ago. Despite skepticism and doubts, the company persevered. Today, FIFA has acknowledged the safety, precision, and undeniable future potential of footwear sensors. Playermaker has already formed partnerships with over 200 professional football clubs, including Premier League sides Manchester City and Fulham.
Technology’s impact on soccer: a brief history
Technology has been a game-changer in soccer for years. In the World Cup 2022, its integration in the beautiful game had reached new heights. The football named Al Rihla, designed by Adidas, featured unique texturing and a tracking system embedded within the ball.
Goal-line technology and VAR have already made their mark, improving the fairness and objectivity of the game. Wearable tech like Electronic Performance & Tracking Systems (EPTS) have been employed to analyze and assess team and individual performances. The new boot sensor technology builds on this foundation, offering even more precise data collection and analysis.
Not just for the pros
The implications of FIFA’s approval extend beyond the professional arena. While elite clubs and athletes will undoubtedly benefit from the detailed analytics, the technology also holds promise for amateur players, youth academies, and even recreational leagues.
Playermaker designed CITYPLAY for soccer players as young as 8, capturing more than 25 technical and physical metrics. Users can analyze this data in the accompanying smartphone app.
The sensors are paired with durable silicone straps and are compatible with both cleats and artificial turf shoes. The technology is versatile, functioning seamlessly both indoors and outdoors, making it suitable for futsal as well.
The product is not just about data collection; it aims to be a holistic solution for player development. It offers insights for parents, giving them a unique perspective into their child’s progress on the field. The system is designed to show tangible improvements in player performance within three to four weeks of usage, backed by extensive benchmarking across diverse age groups and geographical locations.
The cost-efficient nature of these sensors (check price on Amazon) makes them accessible to a broader audience, allowing aspiring players to tap into the kind of data-driven insights that were once the exclusive domain of professionals. This democratization of performance analytics could level the playing field, offering emerging talents the tools they need to refine their skills and catch the eye of scouts and coaches.
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