Friday 26th April 2019

The State of Soccer Technology and Innovation – Jordi García, Guangzhou Evergrande FC

The State of Soccer Technology and Innovation – Jordi García, Guangzhou Evergrande FC

The State of Soccer Technology and Innovation – Jordi García, Guangzhou Evergrande FC
(Logos courtesy of SportTechie and N3XT Sports, photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

During the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, SportTechie and N3XT Sports are surveying key soccer experts around the world to understand the current state of soccer technology and innovation. (More soccer technology viewpoints.)

Jordi García is the high performance and fitness coach at Guangzhou Evergrande FC. He has more than two decades’ experience as a fitness coach, and has helped soccer teams win more than half a dozen major trophies. While at Real Madrid, Los Blancos won the 2007/08 La Liga title. There, alongside Valter Di Salvo, he helped develop Real’s high performance center, Real Madrid TEC. At Atlético Madrid, he helped win the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League and 2010 UEFA Super Cup. Working alongside Italian soccer legend-turned-manager Fabio Cannavaro, García helped second-division Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian earn promotion to the Chinese Super League in 2016 and a third-place finish last year. After then moving to rival Guangzhou Evergrande, García, and Cannavaro, took that team to a fourth Chinese FA Super Cup in February.

Guangzhou Evergrande FC is the most successful of all of the 16 teams in the top soccer division in China, the Chinese Super League. The league was created from its predecessor, the Jia-A League, in 2004. After being promoted from China League One in 2007, and being relegated back down for just the 2010 season, Guangzhou Evergrande has spent a total of nine seasons in the top division. Out of those nine, it has been champion seven times, the last seven. The first of South Korea’s two goals against Germany at the 2018 World Cup, the one that knocked the defending champion out of the tournament, was scored by Guangzhou Evergrande center-back Kim Young-gwon.

The use of science in soccer dates as far back as Anatoly Zelentsov’s attempts to accurately assess Dynamo Kyiv players in the 1980s. Now, “it is not possible to understand a professional football club not applying methodologies based on technology, as a support of the training process to improve performance, to reduce the risk of injuries, or other areas,” according to García. “In my opinion, the greatest revolution in professional soccer teams has been the use of technology routinely.”

There are now technological solutions related to almost every part of a professional soccer player’s training. For example, “match analysis systems are helping to monitor the player’s/team’s requirements, even in real time, and also to understand how these requirements change during every season; as a guide to schedule the training periodization (block periodization) with a high level of specificity for every single player and for the whole team. Another example is GPS monitoring which provides a very useful data to reproduce specific training scenarios similar to the match, individualizing training workload for each single player.”

Devices and platforms like Omegawave, Firstbeat, and Optojump “have also helped to improve the fatigue monitoring, quantify the biological response to training workload and other stressors, reduce the risk of injuries, improve the recovery process and the player/team performance in competition,” García explained. “These technologies allow us to manage the training load of those players with a higher degree of fatigue or risk of injury.”

Measurement technologies like tensiomyography, which assesses the response of muscles to electrical stimuli, and the NordBord hamstring testing system have also given trainers the ability to know each player’s strength and flexibility in increasing detail. “We are able to know the characteristics of each single player, which help us to schedule better individualized training programs.”

In the future, García argued, both Big Data and artificial intelligence are going to have a major impact in transforming training methodologies in soccer. He is an ambassador for the data management platform Soccer System Pro. “All that individual and collective information that we collect at every training session and match are helping us to create algorithms to take decisions modifying the training process.”

Related

  • The State of Soccer Technology and Innovation – Pedro Marques, S.L. Benfica

  • The State of Soccer Technology and Innovation – Tyler Heaps, U.S. Soccer

  • The State of Soccer Technology and Innovation – Darren Burgess, Arsenal

  • The State of Soccer Technology and Innovation – Xavi Reche, FC Barcelona

  • The State of Soccer Technology and Innovation – Francisco Forner

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