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The FA partners with Google Cloud for new player profile system

The FA is creating a better future for football with Google Cloud. Guillaume Roques, director, Marketing Google Cloud EMEA tells us how.

The Football Association of England (The FA) is the custodian of English football and the oldest football association in the world.

Driven by new ways of thinking fuelled by supporting inclusivity, diversity and innovation with technology, The FA has recently seen a resurgence of success on and off the pitch across the youth, men’s and women’s games.

As part of this transformation journey, The FA has chosen Google Cloud as the official cloud and data analytics partner for the England Teams and St George’s Park, which is their centre of technology excellence.

Through this multi-year partnership, the first step in the transformation has been to put G Suite at the heart of everything, shifting from working in silos to fostering collaboration between coaches of all teams.

The FA’s distributed support team share information through G Suite applications and use Hangouts as their number one communication tool.

“The first step in our transformation at St. George’s Park was to unify the way our coaches train and develop our 28 national teams to increase productivity,” said Craig Donald, CIO at The FA.

“We needed the ability to collaborate and share across the coaches and team managers. G Suite allowed us to do that and was the first part of our Google Cloud partnership.”

Going forward, The FA want to continue to transform and develop the game further by applying advanced analytics on Google Cloud to find meaningful insights from their data.

“Google Cloud was our preferred cloud of choice as we embarked on our digital transformation journey to better support the national teams,” said Mark Bullingham FA chief commercial and football development officer and incoming CEO.

Over the coming years our partnership will focus on three areas:

Success: Enabling the England men’s and women’s senior teams to be ready to win in 2022 and 2023.

Diversity: Doubling female participation in the game.

Inclusivity: Making football more inclusive and open to all.

Using Google Cloud technology, we will work together to help The FA solve these big challenges using our smart analytics tools combined with our unique capabilities in machine learning and AI.

The FA have many terabytes of data stored within Google Cloud that The FA’s analysis teams will use alongside Google Cloud products such as BigQuery to extract relevant information for the teams at St. George’s Park.

Their next step will be to expand their proprietary tool, built on Google Cloud, called the Player Profile System (PPS) to measure performance, fitness, training and form of players at all levels.

Together, The FA and Google Cloud will work to supercharge the PPS to automate near real-time data analysis, allowing The FA to better compare and analyse team and player performance and make data driven decisions.

PPS will be further enhanced by Google Cloud smart analytics, data management solutions and machine learning capabilities to analyse even more player data signals.

“Smart analytics and data management plays a critical part for our PPS. Everything we do at St George’s Park for this workload is built on Google Cloud,” said Nick Sewell FA head of application development. 

Dave Reddin, The FA’s head of team strategy and performance, further added, “We believe technology is a key area of potential competitive advantage for our 28 teams and everything we do at St George’s Park.

“We have progressively built a systematic approach to developing winning England teams and through the support of Google Cloud technology we wish to accelerate our ability to translate insight and learning into performance improvements.”  

The FA look to focus on the societal impact of football in the wider community and we look forward to building on this, as well as helping drive success on the pitch, starting with the England Senior Men’s and Women’s Teams.

As Baroness Sue Campbell, FA director of Women’s Football said, “The FA’s mission is to develop the game for all. I am looking forward to partnering with Google Cloud to see how technology can tackle some of these societal challenges.”

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