Artificial Intelligence (AI) has undergone rapid developments since the turn of the year and is now infiltrating the football data analytics space. 

Aldo Comi – CEO of Soccerment – spoke to Insider Sport on the company’s mission to utilise AI to bring forth a new evolution in data analytics within football as well as its recent partnership with Inter Milan’s Federico Dimarco. 

Insider Sport: Firstly, for the uninitiated, could you briefly explain who Soccerment are and how the company came to be? 

Aldo Comi: Soccerment is a Milan-based analytics company with the mission of accelerating the adoption of advanced data analytics in team-sports, thereby enhancing objectivity, meritocracy, and inclusivity within the sport. 

The genesis of the company stems from the observation that while other industries are rapidly adopting data-driven approaches, football has been comparatively slow in its transition. 

Our innovative and scalable tools bridge this gap, offering sophisticated analyses that are accessible to both professionals and enthusiasts. 

What made Federico Dimarco the right fit for how Soccerment intends to evolve player growth and development? 

AC: Federico, a highly versatile player, embodies the kind of athlete our analytics are designed to assist. He’s the prototype of a modern footballer—dynamic, adaptable, and technically gifted, traits that are best refined and maximised through data-driven insights.

Can you explain the technology behind the X-SEED shin guards and how they analyse player performance to provide key data insights? 

AC: Our XSEED shinguards are embedded with various types of sensors that measure everything from ball contacts to player movement patterns, thanks to AI. 

Essentially, they’re IoT devices that gather real-time data to offer an analytical snapshot of a player’s game. Advanced algorithms process this data to provide actionable insights that can be used for training, player and team evaluation. XSEED is the only wearable device able to provide advanced metrics like Expected Goals. 

How much has the importance of player data evolved in recent years and why is an efficient data strategy so pivotal to sporting performance? 

AC: Over the last decade, the role of data in sport has evolved from a supplementary tool to a pivotal aspect of performance optimization. An efficient data strategy isn’t just a ‘good-to-have’ anymore – it’s essential. 

Data can validate or challenge human intuition, augment coaching decisions, and lead to more precise, individualised training regimens. In a sport where fractions of a second can make a difference, understanding the metrics can be a game-changer.

Can you outline what makes different from other football data analytic platforms?

AC: What sets apart is the comprehensiveness and granularity of our data, combined with state-of-the-art machine learning models. 

We don’t just provide raw numbers; we offer synthesised insights that are immediately usable, whether you’re a manager trying to optimise team strategy or an athlete looking to fine-tune your skills. 

Our technology is scalable and continuously evolving, with an emphasis on both predictive and prescriptive analytics.

Do you believe the attitude from older generations is warming up to advanced data analytics (XG, Field Tilt, etc.) over recent years and how well do you believe AI’s involvement in the sport will be received?

AC: Yes, the attitude is gradually changing. Even traditionalists are beginning to see the value in stats like xG (Expected Goals) and Field Tilt. These metrics offer nuanced perspectives that standard statistics like ‘goals’ or ‘assists’ can’t provide. 

As for AI’s role, while there’s still some resistance due to misunderstandings about its capabilities, the potential benefits are too significant to ignore. It’s a matter of education and demonstration.

What steps can be taken to boost the adoption of AI and ensure that it’s embraced by all demographics in sport?

AC: I see a few potential initiatives. For example: 

  • Educational Initiatives: Training programs that explain the benefits and limitations of AI can help demystify the technology.
  • Transparency: Being open about how data is collected and used can alleviate concerns.
  • Accessibility: User-friendly interfaces can make advanced analytics more approachable.
  • Finally, and thank you for your time, to put it simply, how much potential do you believe AI has in football and will it become the next evolution of player performance? 

Finally, and thank you for your time, to put it simply, how much potential do you believe AI has in football and will it become the next evolution of player performance? 

AC: AI has an immense potential that we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of. As machine learning models become more sophisticated and data collection methods improve, we can expect a revolution in how we understand and play the sport. 

AI will likely become an integral component of player development, game analysis, and even fan engagement. It’s not just the next evolution; it’s the future.

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