Former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has joined Israel-based 'football tech' startup PlayerMaker to spur its growth. To wit, Wenger is not only investing in the fledgling company, he's also joining as operating partner and will be 'taking an active role in business and product development'.
Developed by a team of Israelis over the past few years, PlayerMaker currently offers what it calls a complete coaching tool in an effort to revolutionise the way football teams use - and gain benefit from - data.
Its stand-alone solution tracks and analyses metrics for physical, technical, tactical and bio-mechanical data by way of a football boot-mounted device, and also comes with auto-tagging video features for fast and easy analysis of players.
Said Wenger: "Science can help make players stronger when used with data well – you can measure everything, after that it’s about how you use it. I believe that PlayerMaker is the best available solution to measure performance."
This very morning, news emerged that Wenger may not return to football management after one year out of the game. The Frenchman bade farewell to Arsenal in May 2018 after 22 years at the north London club.
Joining PlayerMaker in this capacity fits into that narrative.
The startup says its solutions for talent identification and development are already being used internationally by coaches and managers from elite, non-league, college and youth school clubs.
Some examples: Fulham, Millwall, Wimbledon, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Atlanta United, Philadelphia Union, Toronto FC, Club America and more. Weirdly, Arsenal is not (yet) part of the reference list.
What fascinates me about PlayerMaker is that it claims the largest football movement database in the world, after four years of self-reported data collection, and that it has developed AI algorithms that provide actionable insights to players and coaches on top of that.
One to keep an eye on!
Update: PlayerMaker has an office in London but is headquartered in Israel, so we've updated this article to correct this.