[Moderated by Matt Jones]
We’re used to reading about technology used in college’s primary sports- the fancy Nike uniforms, the professional-level workout facilities, etc- but more often than not, secondary sports tend to get the shaft when trying to acquire top of the line equipment, facilities, and technologies.
Not so for the UK soccer programs. The men’s and women’s soccer teams recently acquired Prozone 3 software, a soccer specific performance analysis system that, according to its website, “enables coaches and management staff to analyse physical, technical and tactical performance information through an interactive and engaging coaching tool.” Need proof it’s legit? Aresnal FC and Real Madrid count themselves among its users.
Here’s how it works: there are 8-12 cameras installed in the soccer stadium. The cameras track the players’ and ball movement, and send the data to a computer program that takes in the data and analyzes it. The resulting analysis is 2D animation that gives coaches and managers a more comprehensive understanding of physical, technical, and tactical performance. Coaches and managers can look at the team as a whole, position by position breakdown, or an individual’s performance. There are fancy distribution maps, video clips, and a 2D recreation of the game. From a robot’s point of view (#KSRSummitJokez), it’s top of the line technology that will have a real impact on the way Coach Lipsitz, Coach Cedergren, and their staffs prepare for games and make adjustments to their tactics.
What’s even cooler about the soccer teams having access to Prozone 3 is that they’ve made UK the first college in the country to have both the men’s team and the women’s team using the software. Coach Lipsitz points to this as evidence of the incredible support that the athletic teams receive from Mitch Barnhart and the rest of the university. Other universities will follow suit, but for now, Kentucky is leading the way in innovative soccer technology. Just like we’ve become accustomed to with men’s basketball, Kentucky soccer is on its way to becoming the benchmark for other programs to follow. It’s an exciting development for a secondary sport at UK, and hopefully it’s the start of an increased attention and subsequent fan interest in UK sports besides basketball and football.
Women’s soccer has their next game at home on Friday night at 7 pm while the men’s team will play Sunday evening at Dayton.
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