Union Soccer Players Using Sports Science Technology To Track Performance

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Union soccer players are upping their game with a unique sports technology.

Professional soccer is a game with of speed and strategy, and  for the Philadelphia Union, there’s also sports science technology.

On the field under their jerseys, the players wear vests equipped with a heart rate monitor and tracking devices.

“A GPS unit, accelerometer, gyroscopes and all this sort of helps us understand what the athlete is doing on the field,” said Garrison Draper, the Union’s director of performance.

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Draper says the all the information is monitored with a unique software program designed specifically for the Union.

“We have data points on everyone along the way,” said Draper.

The system monitors things like speed, agility, how the body reacts, so trainers and coaches know when players can be pushed a little harder, or if they need to back off.

“It’s been a really nice way to kinda learn about what sports science is about and how it affects your performance as a player,” said Union player Josh Yaro.

Yaro, who’s recovering from a shoulder injury, says the technology has been especially helpful for him.

“To see the progression and my recovery process,” said Yaro.

The team’s training also includes plenty of time in the gym, where they work on strength training and more endurance.

“We feel it’s a really important piece for getting guys through 40 matches,” said Draper. “The research is showing us stronger athletes fatigue less.”

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Draper adds that being super fit helps reduce injuries with the science of sports, helping to get the players at peak performance levels.

“Our athletes are running more, they’re sprinting more and their work rates are higher every single game of the season,” said Draper.

So far, this season is off to a slow start. The Union had been winless until Saturday when they won their first game.

However, the coaches and players are convinced the specialized training will help turn things around.

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