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MLS, Adidas Announce World's First 'Smart League' in World Soccer

Michael Cummings@MikeCummings37World Football Lead WriterJuly 19, 2012

Courtesy of adidas
Courtesy of adidas

Imagine a soccer league in which coaches and players had data on players' speed, acceleration, power, running distance and even heart rate.

Then imagine all the numbers coming across in real time.

In 2013, we won't have to imagine anymore. In 2013, Major League Soccer will become the world's first "smart league," thanks to the Adidas Micoach Elite System.

If that sounds something like the futuristic football game played at the beginning of the movie Starship Troopers—well, it's not. Actually, it'll be here before you know it.

Before MLS becomes the world's first smart league in 2013, Adidas will give fans a sneak peak of the Micoach Elite System next week in Philadelphia. On July 25, the MLS All-Stars will play Chelsea in the 2012 MLS All-Star Game, which is about to become the world's first "smart game."

Here's how it works, according to an Adidas press release (via MLS.com):

The Micoach Elite System includes a small data cell that fits into a player’s base layer in a protective pocket on the back between the shoulder blades. Connected by a series of electrodes and sensors woven into the fabric of the base layer, the cell wirelessly transmits more than 200 data records per second from each player to a central computer and then is displayed in a series of simplified insights and results on the coach’s iPad.

At the touch of his fingertips, a coach can monitor the workload of an individual player, compare one athlete with another or view the whole team to gain a complete picture of the squad.

To quote Judy Garland: We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

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Starting next year, we'll have actual, scientific proof with which to settle arguments over which player runs fastest or farthest, who shoots the hardest, whose first step is quickest and which players tire first.

And it's not just coaches. According to the Adidas release, fans will have access to "live, on-field player data" either at home or in the stadium. For stat geeks, it's almost like Christmas, a birthday and New Year's Eve all rolled into one.

According to Adidas' press release, the Micoach Elite System has been in development since 2010. It was created with the help of MLS clubs like the New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union and Seattle Sounders, and European giants like Real Madrid, AC Milan, Bayern Munich and Ajax.

Said Paul Gaudio, vice president of Adidas Interactive:

“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.”

Gaudio is right about that, but all he really needed to say was this: It's just plain cool.

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