The first Soccer Science conference took place in the UK on Monday June 4th, 2018 at Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol. The conference topics included the technical, tactical, physical and psychological aspects of modern soccer coaching and brought the delegates some fascinating insights from the highest level of the game from a selection of elite level practitioners.
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All of our speakers have vast experience & knowledge of working at the top level of the professional game.
This week saw the inaugural Soccer Science Conference at Bristol City FC which proved to be a fantastic event for all involved in science, performance, coaching, analysis and technology in football. The information on offer was diverse educational and eclectic with contemporary, experienced and international speakers all contributing wise words and wisdom in abundance. Dr Tom Little of Preston North End set the ball rolling in the sports science round table with his grandiose biological referencing and complimented the impressive outline of the modern practitioner provided by Arsenals Tom Allen and Jonny Northeast form MLS outfit DC United.
The second session saw the arrival of football powerhouse Germany with Impect managing director Lukas Keppler. Impect software provides innovative algorithms of analysis for the purpose of goals and key passes (or bypasses) for unlocking defences and creating goal scoring opportunities.
Mike Phelan and Dave Horrocks followed and the first shock result of the day materialised as Greece beat Germany 1-0 courtesy of a disputed goal from the eternally cerebral Greeks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur5fGSBsfq8. Horrocks provided insight in organisational structure for winning teams and discussed the importance of summarised information from the multi-disciplinary team in enabling football mangers to win games. Key points included: The Dunning-Kruger effect in high intelligence transfer, and how scientists should trust themselves in their roles, be concise, be brave and make clear decisions if the relationship is to be successful.
Serial winner and Manchester United legend Mike Phelan offered a fascinating insight into the operational practices of a consistent and multiple winning organisation. Content included the chain of command through to Sir Alex Ferguson, the culture and expectancy of Manchester United Football Club, the coaching process, the professionalism and training diligence of players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney and how challenge is a bi directional relationship in the elite player – coach dynamic. Mike closed the session referring to the importance of information and the decision making process in an elite environment. “Practitioners must be evidence based, be brave, and be rapid and clear to operate efficiently in an organisation playing every 3 days and winning trophies in battery fashion.”
The vastly experienced Chris Neville then complimented this real world backdrop with his lived and logical insight into the session planning and the rationale of a sports scientists work. Chris’s slot provided excellent best practice examples and years of knowledge money can’t buy in a well-received hour of high quality practical information.
After a much deserved lunch break the information juggernaut continued at a relentless pace with further high quality practice and information. David Eccles did a fine Dr Evil impression as he outlined Chyron Hegos impending roadmap for world domination and declared laptop war on Russia in 11 days’ time. The World Cup will see technology present in the dugout this month as football science continues to change the game. The question therefore must be asked, will the most expensive transfer and new superstar of this world cup be he who scores the most goals or a performance analyst from the technical area? (Watch this space….)
Lille assistant manager Joao Sacramento continued the afternoon pointing a critical lens at tactical statistics and provided the floor with best practice examples of how performance analysis can be efficiently integrated into the coaching process. Joao provided an extremely insightful session with the key message of letting the game be the teacher, efficient use of video and how lies, damned lies and statistics could never be a truer statement in the interpretation of everything you see as being accurate in the world of football data.
Next up Tom Allen part of the new breed Arsenal evolution. Tom delivered an assured presentation on managing the training loads, having an eye on worst case scenario physical requirements of players and how to record then use information. Important points were made in assessing multiple markers in any decision making process and a professional awareness in the fact that science is important but is only one part in a vast jigsaw. This session dovetailed perfectly in support of Mike Phelan’s earlier rationale that information must be clear, to the point and detailed evidence must be available if required.
Experienced coach and Welsh FA educator Dave Adams provided the penultimate session of the day with real world practice and coaching rationale from his many years of experience at varied levels. Dave’s session once again highlighted the importance of evidence and video in the modern game and provided simplistic yet effective coaching advice for any coach and scientist crossing the boundaries or working together.
As the day drew to a close the ever popular and energetic Tony Strudwick closed the conference with an inspirational keynote on winning moments and operational practices at the highest level of the sport. Tony followed on from the earlier markers laid down by Horrocks and Phelan with regard to winning. “Ultimately that is the objective, it is why we are here and it is what will keep you in a job”
An information packed hour took the audience on a journey through the rationale, the culture, the people, the working practice and the operational challenges of Manchester United. Key soundbites included
“The sports science department must push players and build robust, readily available athletes”. “These players must be capable of navigating unprecedented demands with sustained regularity in an organisation which plays every three days and internationally over 10 plus months of the calendar year”.
Tony then elaborated on how you may only ever get 30 seconds a week with the manager or key decision making team and that as a result your information must be meaningful, concise and relative. The session concluded with extreme pressure real world evidence from the champions league final of 2008. The lesson highlighting the importance of analysis and player psychology at the pinnacle of the game, and how evidence based player decision making in a champions league final was ultimately the line between success and failure.
Overall the Soccer Science Conference was a fantastic event. Credit to Rhys Carr founder and organiser of Soccer Science. A well organised information rich and professionally delivered event which is sure to be a success in years to come and a regular on the football CPD circuit.
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Tony works as Head of Performance at Manchester United. He has worked at one of the worlds biggest clubs since 2007, winning some of the most prestigious trophies in world football including the Premier League & Champions League. As well as this, Tony has worked at international level with England senior mens team. His previous clubs include Coventry City, West Ham United & Blackburn Rovers. Alongside this already impressive CV, Tony also has a PhD in football science from Liverpool John Moores University.
Mike has worked at the highest level as both a player, coach, assistant and manager.
As a player, Mike won the Premier League with Manchester United. After transitioning into coaching, Mike worked again at Manchester United and helped develop players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, winning the UEFA Champions League in 2008. After the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, Mike became a Head Coach in his own right when taking the job at then Premier League club, Hull City, and also winning the Premier League manager of the month in August 2016.
Mike will be involved in a Q&A where his experiences will bring some fascinating insights into exactly “What does a Head Coach want from his performance team?”
As a holder both the UEFA A licence and the UEFA elite youth licence, Rhys has most recently been working as 1st Team Development Coach at Bristol City Football Club. Initially being employed as Head of Fitness & Conditioning, Rhys transitioned into the technical coaching environment where he has combined his coaching qualifications with his academic background. He has a passion for player development and has developed a novel way to manage and monitor the technical load of each players training in an attempt to make player training more specific to the individual.
Rhys holds an MSc in Sports Coaching Science from the University of South Wales and is currently studying for his PhD titled ‘The transfer of training to match performance in elite football’, also through the University of South Wales.
Previous to his work at Bristol City FC, Rhys has held roles at Cardiff City and Swansea City Football Club’s and has worked as a consultant for the Football Association of Wales in their Coach Education department. Rhys is also a director of Soccer Science.
Bryn has been working in the broadcast media for over 25 years, spending over 20 years working with Sky Sports. He now works as a freelance sports media trainer and consultant via his own company, TAGG Media.
Bryn has the experience of hosting many types of events in that time including charity dinners and awards ceremonies, including the FAW player of the year awards as well as corporate functions.
For over a decade, Bryn has been working with the FAW Trust Coach Education Program, providing media training for candidates on A and Pro license courses.
Recently appointed as Technical Director of the Football Association of Wales following the departure of Osian Roberts. Dave’s most recent role in elite football was as 1st team coach at Middlesbrough FC. After beginning his coaching career as a 17-year-old, Dave quickly earned his UEFA A licence followed by his UEFA Pro-Licence.
Furthermore, Dave has worked at the FAW as a coach educator for several years as well as at Swansea City where he held the role of Head of Coaching and later 1st team coach. Alongside an impressive technical coaching resume, Dave has worked as sport scientist with Wales U21 and holds a PhD in football science.
We’re extremely excited to announce that Gary Neville will be speaking at the 2019 Soccer Science conference at Hotel Football, Manchester.
Gary has had a hugely successful career in football as a player, coach, manager and now famously as a TV analyst.
Gary has played 400 games for Manchester United winning 8 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cups, 2 League Cups and 2 UEFA Champions League trophies. Further to this Gary featured for England 85 times and at 3 FIFA World Cups.
Since retirement, Gary has worked as a coach where has was assistant manager for England, as a manager of Valencia in La Liga, as a club owner of Salford City and also as a leading TV analyst for Sky Sports.
Gary will be providing Soccer Science delegates with fascinating insights into topics such as “a champions mentality” and “the future of the game”. As coaches we need to understand what we’re training for and Gary will be discussing where he see’s future advances in the game over the coming years. Further to this, Gary will also be taking questions from the floor around these topic areas too.
Tom currently works in the Championship as Head of Fitness at Preston North End FC. Tom has extensive experience in the game and has worked at several top clubs including Manchester City, Sheffield Wednesday, Burnley, Nottingham Forest, Huddersfield Town and Birmingham City. Alongside this, Tom has worked as a performance consultant to the New Zealand football federation. Tom also holds a PhD in football science.
Tom currently works as Lead Sport Scientist at Arsenal Football Club. He has held this role since July 2017 and was previously at Aston Villa Football Club for 6 years. As well as holding a BSc and an MSc in Sport Science, Tom has done extensive work on the relationship between training loads and injury occurrences.
Joao is a UEFA A licenced coach who has extensive experience as an analyst and technical coach. Born in Portugal, Joao moved to Wales to study at the University of South Wales before moving in to analyst and coach education roles with the Football Association of Wales. After working as a consultant analyst with Argentina at the 2014 World Cup, Joao moved to Monaco to work as Head analyst before being taken to Lille SC to work as Assistant Coach under Marcelo Bielsa. On Bielsa’s recent departure, Joao stepped in as interim Head Coach for a short period.
David is the Sports Performance Director at ChyronHego. ChyronHego are the world’s leading camera-based sports tracking system for capturing the live positions and movements of players and balls. TRACAB is employed across entire leagues such as the English Premier League, German Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga and Major League Baseball, as well as some of the largest international sports tournaments including UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup.
In his role David will often consult and work with elite football Clubs to refine their technology strategy to achieve success. David has taken ChyronHego’s sports products from zero to complete market saturation in the UK within 18 months. Working closely within the members of Performance Analysis, Sports Science, Coaching and Senior Board Level.
David is a passionate football expert with expansive knowledge around how technology can positively impact on-field performance.
Jonny worked at Swansea City FC for 7 seasons, experiencing their promotion to the Premier League, League Cup winning campaign and European football, all whilst adopting a precise training methodology and playing philosophy. Before leaving the club, Jonny held the role of Head of Sport Science and has recently been appointed at D.C. United in the MLS as Head of Sports Science
David is a leading academic and the World’s only published scientific author on the performance protocols of Manchester United Football Club. David delivers educational content for The FA on The UEFA Pro Licence and The FAPL on the ECAS education scheme as well as consulting on the formation of The EPPP, he has been part of backroom teams winning promotion to The FA Premier League on two occasions.
In addition David has also worked as a performance director on the European, South African and US Tours in Golf and has been involved in numerous Domestic, European and South African wins. In business Dave has consulted for global companies such as Johnson and Johnson Medical, Hewlett Packard, NHS and The banking industry.
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