BLAINE, Minn. – Cleats, jerseys and blinking devices strapped to their back are all routine for Minnesota United.
“It's giving us a clearer picture of what we're actually doing,” says Jarryd Phillips, Head of Fitness and Sports Science for Minnesota United.
He’s talking about Catapult, a GPS tracking system out of Australia the team has been using for a number of years.
Players wear the technology for every training session and match. It allows staff to track a ton of things, including how hard players are working and how much ground they cover.
“How much the guys are sprinting, how much the guys are stopping, starting, accelerating, decelerating,” Phillips says.
Phillips says the technology helps keep players on track and show them what they need to work on sometimes.
“You can look at one player and say, he's not working hard enough, or why is he looking tired, or why is he looking flat, for instance. This is just a way to take the emotional aspect out of everything, so it gives us objective data on the guys,” says Phillips.
Loons defender Carter Manley is in his first MLS season and says he used the same technology in college at Duke.
“It's helped me keep track of my progress, how hard I'm working during practice, how much distance I'm covering,” Manley says.
According to Phillips, a soccer player can run up to eight miles over the course of a match.
“What a lot of people, just to the naked eye don't see, is how much high speed running these guys do,” says Phillips. “How much distance they cover above a certain velocity and then how much sprinting they do.”
Phillips says this type of technology is pretty standard across all of MLS. Just a piece of the puzzle as the club looks to pick up wins on the pitch.
Minnesota United is in Portland to take on the Timbers Saturday. Their next home match is Saturday, April 28th at TCF Bank Stadium against Houston.