"In the near future, everything done by both analyst and club will be replaced by an AI machine.”
Jan Boden is a football analyst at the Belgian first division team KV Mechelen. He is working there since 2018. Boden uses football data every day so he is the right person to share his view on the future of data in football.
KV Mechelen uses data to give relevant annotations on the video footage. This allows them to convert important topics instantaneously into relevant videos that are sent to their players.
"Data enables us to convert a 90-minute match into a number of playlists or clips that are important to us."
The data is mainly processed automatically via our data provider, however, when there are important events, they can also be tagged manually during a match. For instance, relevant topics the coaching staff wants to see during the half-time.
We already know that not every club or player is as data-intensive. Some clubs only work on a collective level, other clubs work with players individually. KV Mechelen does a mix of the two. Individual meetings with players mostly happen on a monthly basis, so it fits the busy schedule the team faces.
"There are players who request videos on a weekly basis, others do not ask for videos at all. We give them the choice whether to watch the videos, but it is up to them to come to us. We always make sure we provide everything that is needed."
The staff of KV Mechelen values the willingness of players to watch the videos.
As a software developer by training, Boden is convinced that in the long run, the biggest part a club does will be replaced by automation.
"If you have all the data of every single player on earth, I don't see why this change would not happen in the future. It will be interesting for European clubs that also have mid-week matches. There are two reasons: firstly, it is too time-consuming for human analysts. Secondly, it would be cheaper than hiring multiple analysts."