TAMPA, Fla. – The Super Y League and Soccer Genius reveal a new partnership for the 2016 North American Super Y League Finals in Bradenton, Florida from Dec. 9-13.
Soccer Genius, a soccer metric company that specializes in measuring soccer athletes through five different stations, will be located in the SYL Player Village at the SYL Finals. Soccer Genius measures data on an individual's passing and receiving, game-action running, dribbling, shooting proficiency and shot velocity. To register your club for the 2016 SYL Finals, visit Soccer Genius' website.
The SYL Finals will kick off on Dec. 9, as group play takes place during five game slots: 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET. Group play will then continue on Saturday and Sunday before semifinals kick off on Monday and finals take place on Tuesday.
The Super Y League, founded in 1999, provides more than 90 youth clubs an unparalleled experience through its advanced player tracking, an established pathway – which includes the Regional Scouting Series and USL Experience – and opportunity to compete for a North American Championship. Carrying on a 17-year tradition as a mainstay in youth soccer while utilizing a professional, full-time staff with strong youth development resources and college soccer connections, the Super Y League continues to create benefits that set it and its member clubs apart.
Patton began his coaching career at the University of South Alabama before leading the University of Vermont and, most recently, the University of Mobile. Patton retired from college coaching with an overall record of 369-167-7. In 27 seasons as a collegiate coach, Patton received 10 Coach of the Year awards from his coaching peers.
SYL: When was Soccer Genius founded?
RP: In 2005, the idea started to take form when Brynjar Bjarnason, the founder, began to design the protocols and applied them in the training of his daughter. After the development of the protocols and equipment, lasting a couple of years, the first station opened in Iceland. Soccer Genius has only grown in popularity since the first testing done in 2011. Substantial technical progress has been made, opening up the world for players all over to see where they stand and make improvement tangible.
SYL: How did you personally become involved in Soccer Genius?
RP: I was working on a series of soccer metric ideas in the USA, and Brynjar and I were connected by a mutual soccer acquaintance. Brynjar and I talked, and after a brief telephone conversation, I agreed to go to Iceland, meet Brynjar and see Brynjar’s Soccer Genius Base in operation. I was delighted with what I saw, and I could quickly tell that Brynjar would be a great person to work with. Gudni Bergsson, a former Tottenham Hotspur player and a former lcelandic national team player joined our partnership and developed the Soccer Genius quote, “A New Dimension in Coaching." The partners believe that Soccer Genius and soccer metrics are exciting, new and useful tools to help cultivate and develop soccer players.
SYL: How do you think the partnership with the Super Y League will benefit Soccer Genius, and vice versa?
RP: Soccer Genius' mission statement is to set the standard in soccer skill-based evaluation, helping players to improve as well as providing clubs with player-specific information for customized coaching. Soccer Genius enables players and coaches to see their skill and improvement in a new, objective light. Coaches can access their teams' overall and players' individual skill levels, comparing to past performance and Soccer Genius data sets. This will inform player- and team-level training decisions like never before. A partnership between the Super Y League and Soccer Genius would help the Super Y League to get a better overall picture of the league’s skill level and Soccer Genius would be able to provide meaningful analysis for Super Y League to work with. A partnership would of course be a great opportunity for Soccer Genius to showcase our product offerings and a gateway into Super Y League’s network of clubs and help develop their players as we expand in the U.S. market.
SYL: Specifically, why does a Super Y League player benefit from Soccer Genius?
RP: A player has the additional tool of an objective assessment at their disposal. He or she has benchmark numbers to continually strive to improve in dribbling, game-action running, shot velocity, passing, receiving and shooting proficiency. The magic in Soccer Genius is observing how sensors, radars and computer technologies seem to energize the players to compete and attain their best score. Every participating player wants to do better.
SYL: Does Soccer Genius’ coaching curriculum reflect the Football Association of Iceland’s training and playing philosophy?
RP: I have been fortunate to recruit many Icelandic players during my tenure as a collegiate soccer coach, and I was always impressed with the Icelandic player’s high level of technical abilities, their knowledge and enthusiasm for the game, their inherent work ethic and their ability to become tremendous teammates. In my opinion, Soccer Genius reflects the Icelandic ideology, in that stellar technique is derived from promoting joy for the game, respect for the game, purposeful practice, hard work and top-flight coaching. Iceland’s biggest club, Breidablik, currently uses Soccer Genius as an adjunct to training.
SYL: Being familiar with Iceland’s coaching and philosophy, are you surprised by the national team’s recent success – reaching the Quarterfinals of the 2016 UEFA European Championship – on the world stage?
RP: I was not surprised. I have been watching the progress of Icelandic players since the mid-80s. Despite having a population of approximately 330,000 people, Iceland had a spectacular showing in the recent European Championship, reaching the Quarterfinals and knocking England out of the competition. Currently, Iceland has an astonishing number of soccer professionals playing abroad. The number is estimated to be around 90 players. Almost 100 percent of Icelandic coaches, even at the grassroots level, have attained UEFA A or B licenses. Facilities in Iceland are superior with a disproportionate number of top-class indoor facilities and a well-structured professional league. Perhaps the small size of the country allows for a unified philosophy and coaching methodology.
SYL: How does Soccer Genius’ philosophy and methodology correlate to the Iceland FA’s change in infrastructure and coaching methods?
RP: The Icelandic emphasis on coaching qualifications has undoubtedly infused the developmental coaching ranks with a learn-how-to-play philosophy. Developing superior players is understood to be a culmination of years of carefully orchestrated grassroot-player development and giving talented youth an opportunity to play at the highest possible level. Soccer Genius aspires to mirror this approach and to provide objective data by measuring the technical progress made by participating players.
SYL: In regards to Soccer Genius’ player-development model, what best practices and methodologies have you personally learned through working with Soccer Genius President Brynjar Bjarnason, Board Members and Owners Gudni Bergsson and Johanna Brynjarsdottir?
RP: We all agree that promoting technical proficiency is the key. We wanted to create a training system that was fun, soccer-charged and naturally competitive. We wanted to build a training system that would challenge players to work independently, provide valuable data for coaches and associations but, most importantly, improve the quality of play for many. Lastly, we wanted players to become excited when they saw the Soccer Genius protocol set up during a training night.
SYL: As a distinguished college coach yourself, what do you think Super Y League coaches can learn from Soccer Genius?
RP: Coaches will gain support from objective measurements. Objective results, for example, will identify the quickest, the most efficient and, most importantly, who has been working to improve. Coaches can set goals for players by using archived results to chart progress and compare. One benefit that I particularly appreciate is the ability to watch players in isolation as they go through the Soccer Genius stations and learn how I can improve their performance.