Google Cloud and The FA reunite in Qatar yet again

A historic tournament has kicked-off in Qatar a week ago. And, after the England men’s football team reached the Euro 2020 final in last year’s pandemic-delayed competition, there is genuine confidence in a successful run in Qatar as well for them.

The Football Association (The FA), governing body of association football in England, has left no stone unturned in its preparations; they have increasingly looked to physical performance data as a way to help support players on the pitch. Maintaining accurate and insightful information on fitness, conditioning, and nutrition also helps ensure player welfare — something that gets more important with every fixture in a tournament environment.

The need for improved understanding of how players are faring was the reason The FA set up the Performance Insights strand of its Physical Performance, Medicine, and Nutrition department during lockdown in 2020. And they used Google Cloud to help them revolutionize the way they capture, store and process information.

BigQuery allows The FA’s data scientists to combine data on many aspects of a player’s physical performance captured during a training camp, from intensity to recovery. This can enable more useful conversations on the ground and can help create more individualized player management. And by using BigQuery’s user-defined customisable functions, the same data can be tweaked and tailored to fit the needs across departments.

In-game and training performance data, along with data pertaining to players’ sleep, nutrition, recovery, and mental health can be captured and fed through Python, which links straight into BigQuery using its Pub/Sub functionality. BigQuery’s native connectors then stream insights to visual dashboards that communicate them in a meaningful, tangible format.

Before leveraging the power of Google Cloud, this work could take several hours each day. Now, it can take a minute from data capture to the coaches having access to clear and actionable information.

We won’t have long to wait to see how England will perform in Qatar. But the benefits of The FA’s cloud-enabled approach to data science will continue long after the final whistle has blown.

Meanwhile, you can follow the Data Analyst Learning Path and get hands-on experience in Google Cloud’s powerful data tools and know for yourself how they can help the three lions in Qatar.

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