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What did Argentina U23 players have on their feet?

New technologies at the service of young players

What did Argentina U23 players have on their feet? New technologies at the service of young players

In last night's match between Mexico and Argentina Under 23, someone could have noticed something certainly unusual: many players of the Albiceleste wore some sort of small syrange devices, attached to the heel. It is a device by PlayerMaker, an Israeli company operating in sports technology, counting on the support of Arsène Wenger, investor and operating partner of the company itself. The device used by the U23 Argentine National Team is a coaching tool that tracks and analyzes footballers physical, technical, tactical and biomechanical data. In use by some popular English clubs (Fulham, Hull City, Millwall) during training sessions, PlayerMaker has recently signed a partnership agreement with MLS club Atlanta United, becoming in effect the official supplier.

According to PlayerMaker, the "unique motion sensors on a player’s boot provide a significantly larger dataset than any other product. They detect every ball touch and build accurate gait profiles without affecting performance". The device collects stats that can then be reproduced on monitors and tablets in order to be analyzed in detail.  Guy Ahron, PlayerMaker's CEO, said to SunSports that "the sensors know if you make a pass, a run or interception, and we're also improving the technical ability of the player. Pass completion with both feet, number of touches, how many balls they lost and retrieved, etc., as well as the tactical level with things like passing metrics that'll help coaches".

The reason why PlayerMaker devices were used so widely in an Under23 match (where there is presumably a small amount of match stats), can be understood through the words of Tony Strudwick, the head of performance for the Welsh national team: "We require quality insight on our young players. PlayerMaker allows us to track key information throughout the talent development pathway".