By: Greg Oldfield, special to the Florida Cup
The Florida Cup hosted a day of discussions and idea sharing for the business and soccer community Friday at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando Resort. The event featured representatives from the Florida Cup’s participating clubs, as well as speakers from businesses and community organizations working to build the Beautiful Game in the United States and abroad.
The morning discussion, hosted by Florida Cup CEO Ricardo Villar, focused on youth development, comparing the methodologies and models of the Netherlands, Brazil, and the U.S. Corné Groenendijk from Ajax, Alexandre Passaro from São Paulo, and Mike Potempa from the Soccer Institute at Montverde Academy shared their experiences in youth development from the age of 4 to the professional ranks, highlighting the philosophical models of their academies and the various challenges that can affect soccer development in the future.
Dr. Mauricio Tannure, Health and Performance Director at Flamengo, spoke about High Performance Soccer and the benefit of Point of Care Testing, an individualized player program to analyze player health and performance while preventing injuries. Due to their attention to player health, Flamengo had the fewest number of injuries among the major Brazilian clubs in 2016, despite playing a high number of matches.
The morning concluded with Andreas Barras from Kin Analytics, a company that helps clubs analyze player data and metrics. Barras emphasized the need to measure playing issues before knowing how to solve them by analyzing Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, that help align measurable data with playing style. Statistics such as Expected Goals Per Game (EGPG), Velocity of Passing Rhythm (VEL), and Counterpressing Percentage of Recoveries in 5 Seconds (REG5) help clubs quantify needs and compare themselves to their opponents.
Felipe Kozlowski from Facebook Sports gave a demonstration about the benefits Facebook and digital media can have on players, clubs, and fans. Through innovative features like Facebook Live and Facebook Watch, clubs can build a stronger connection between the players and more of their fans.
Fredi Bobic, Eintracht Frankfurt Board Member for Sport, and Achim Ittner, Director of Sports at SAP spoke about the use of business software to enable the more than 400 employees and 200 players at Frankfurt to communicate on the same platform, coordinating marketing, finance, operations and player performance data to provide an easier, user-friendly connection in every facet of the organization.
Melanie Fitzgerald, head of Bundesliga Americas, and Marcos Barros, Universal Orlando’s vice president of sales and marketing for Latin America, spoke about the marketing strategies their companies use to stay relevant, reach global clients and challenge their competition. Fitzgerald gave several examples of how the Bundesliga’s “Football As It’s Meant To Be” campaign helps bring the game to a wider, global audience.The final panel of the event featured Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar, São Paul’s CEO Raí and Flamengo ambassador Zinho, in a discussion led by Greater Orlando Sports Commission’s Jason Segal and Florida Cup’s Villar. The players shared their experiences at the 1994 World Cup, training and playing in Orlando.