Live tagging games from 200 miles away? Hartford Athletic is analyzing video from home

2020-09-10 News, Soccer/Football
Hartford Athletic

Between them, Nick Ravosa, Daniel Cohen, James Skahan and Patrick Lagonigro, performance analysis and scouting interns for Hartford Athletic, analyze and tag every touch of the ball that occurs during a game. 

With as many as 1,200 moments tagged over 90 minutes of play, Hartford Athletic’s video analysis interns have proven valuable in gathering useful insight from the video footage captured during games.

“[The coaches] have an iPad on the bench so that if they need to see certain clips of certain players or a certain phase of the game, they can go back, look, and adjust at half-time,” Patrick said.

Their efforts ensure that coaches have access to important, consumable information on both their players and the opposition for any given moment of play. With analysts seated around the stadium for home games – and at their homes for away games – tagging in real-time, insight is delivered to the bench instantly, without delay.

“If we know that the opposition is going to consistently try to play diagonal long balls, we know that we have to be good about defending it,” Nick added. “We can make a tag panel to mark every time they do it, which provides coaching staff both a statistical sense of how many times they’re doing it, but we also have the video to show.”

Hartford Athletic - Spiideo

Analysing video during a pandemic

When the United Soccer League returned to action on July 11 following a three month break, things were different. Not just for the fans or the players, but also for the coaches and analysts as they prepared to lead their teams out amid the ongoing pandemic.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the interns would travel with the team to matches to tag footage of the game live. Yet, following the restart, as a result of limited stadium capacities, the club has been forced to leave some of them at home.

Recognising the value of gathering insight during games, the club’s staff knew that an alternative process was required.

“We realized that some of our video and performance analyst interns wouldn’t be able to be in the stadium to analyze our matches for us to review during and after the game,” said Luiz Fernando Silva, Hartford Athletic’s First Team Assistant Coach & Director of Scouting and Performance Analysis. “But because Spiideo has a league-wide deal with the USL, we are able to use Spiideo cameras and our Spiideo Perform account to live-tag and analyze video from the cloud. The interns can tag every crucial moment for me to view from the bench instantly, for both statistical and qualitative analysis purposes.”

Through the Spiideo Perform platform, the interns were able to access the same high-definition live streams that they would usually view while in the stadium from home through their iPads, iPhones and desktop devices.

As Spiideo automatically captures the entire pitch, using artificial intelligence technology to analyze and track the most important moments of play, the system has proved invaluable in allowing the analysis team to continue providing insight in-game, at half-time, and immediately after the final whistle.

“It was weird at first being at home while the match was happening because I’m used to being in the stadium,” said Nick. “Spiideo’s technology has really made it possible for us to maintain the same workflow, even with all the restrictions and precautions.”

An easy transition

Effective live video analysis is reliant on getting footage and data to coaches when they need it. And even before the pandemic, Hartford had planned on deploying a remote tagging process for some away games.

“We knew from the beginning that we would be able to maintain a high-level of analysis and keep the same workflow,” said Luiz. “We can provide the coaching staff with key strategic information to support their decision making because of Spiideo’s features in performance analysis.” 

Working on Spiideo’s entirely cloud-based platform meant that their newly created tags – no matter where they were working from – were available instantly for coaches to make use of.

Hartford Athletic - Tag Panel

“I thought there could have potentially been some issues, whether due to the internet connection or just because we weren’t watching it live in the stadium,” Dan said. “I was shocked how easy it was for me to work and get my tags over to coaches to use at half-time.”

Spiideo, implemented throughout the United Soccer League in 2019, has allowed clubs such as Hartford Athletic to create seamless and effective video analysis processes.

“It’s way easier to tag games live like this,” Nick said. “As soon as the games end, within minutes I can go on Spiideo and start doing the tasks that I need to do, versus having to download everything and then try to figure it out.”

Now, in the midst of a global pandemic, having access to a powerful video analysis solution, accessible from anywhere and everywhere, isn’t just a luxury, but a necessity for video analysis teams.