Kitman Labs Performance And Operations Data Coming To Columbus Crew A MLS First

Kitman Labs, Columbus Crew Announce Wide-Ranging “Innovation Partnership” To Support Advancement in Player Development, Coaching, Scouting & Recruitment

Innovation Partnership a First for Major League Soccer; Creating the Prototype for a Data-Driven Soccer Club

Kitman Labs and the Columbus Crew have signed a landmark “Innovation Partnership” aimed to support player development, coaching, scouting and recruitment, as a first for a MLS team. The Melon Park, California based performance intelligence company are implementing their proprietary sports technology at the Crew’s cutting-edge facilities in Columbus, Ohio at Field and the OhioHealth Performance Center. The Sports Techie community blog recognizes this deal as representing a data-driven standard for the soccer club setting an elite sports organization standard that transcends the professional sports industry. With roots as “The Team of Firsts in MLS,” the Crew – under Crew President & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko’s leadership since 2019 – have secured three championships: 2020 MLS Cup, 2021 Campeones Cup, 2022 MLS NEXT Pro Cup. Cleary, this sports tech-centric arrangement with Kitman Labs is designed to win more MLS Cup Championships while enhancing football performance, improved coaching, and identification purposes for second tier Crew players and potential Academy kids from around the nation, North America and the rest of the world.

Crew Performance Enhancement

“We welcome the Crew and their entire Organization, led by Tim Bezbatchenko, into the Kitman Labs performance family,” founder and CEO Stephen Smith said. “As the first club in Major League Soccer history, the Crew are paving the way as the first in MLS to become an ‘Innovation Partnership’ club – a multi-faceted partnership which will impact every level of athlete performance and club operations, from their first team to their scouting and youth programs to their approach to investment and resource allocation. Our collective goal is to create a fully integrated operating system designed to elevate and advance player and team performance in North America, and we are proud to be able to collaborate with a club that has been known as an innovation leader since the founding of MLS.”

Kitman will collaborate with the Crew to leverage its proprietary performance intelligence platform and analytics to support three key areas of focus:

1.     Player Development – delivering a tailored and data-driven talent development process to maximize player potential

2.     Evidence-based Coaching – development of a real-time integrated system to enable objective, outcome-driven coaching and planning

3.     Scouting and Recruiting – development of a data rich, configurable recruitment analytics solution to maximize the return on current and prospective players

Leading the day-to-day roll out of this key partnership are Crew Vice President of Soccer Administration Jaime McMillan, Crew Director of Analytics Alex Mysiw, Kitman Labs Performance Strategy Lead Darcy Norman and Kitman Labs Project Manager Courtney Steward.

“The Crew and Kitman Labs are two organizations with complementary philosophies which is why this groundbreaking partnership makes so much sense,” Crew President & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko added. “We are both deeply committed to fundamentally changing how data is used in sport to optimize performance, reduce injury risk, support operations, and ultimately drive success across every aspect of the organization, from the First Team, through Crew 2 and to the Academy. That common mission has now evolved into the development of an all-encompassing operations platform that will hopefully yield dividends in every aspect of team operations – not just for the Crew, but for North American soccer in the years to come. We are proud to be the first adopters in MLS as we look to try and set a new standard in how performance intelligence is leveraged across the sport.”

The Kitman Labs Innovation Leadership partnership will provide Columbus with robust, strategic insight and metrics into all areas of on-field performance, ranging from developmental club best practices to assisting with gamify trade and transfer scenarios. Look for injury prevention and maximal performance scenarios to be created effectively and easily for all athletes, enabling performance leaders the ability to maximize all aspects of athletic and rehab performance. The Crew and the Kitman Labs teams will work in lock-step to develop and instill the infrastructure and processes necessary at the ground level, to support the accurate, real-time collection and distillation of relevant data across the business to enable the analysis necessary to drive the desired KPIs.

Kitman Labs

This new business launch follows other recent business strategy moves Kitman Labs have undertaken. That includes the successful close of a $52M Series C funding round led by Guggenheim Investments, a global asset investment and advisory firm with more than $259 billion* in assets under management and two strategic acquisitions of The Sports Office and Presagia Sports, both made in the last two years. The combined companies represent the industry’s largest network of elite and youth organizations (700+) and created the industry’s largest dataset of talent, performance, and medical data for all stages of the athlete lifecycle.

Sports Techie, one aspect of performance equally as important as data is superior sports gear.

Today, truly marks an important moment in Crew, MLS and American soccer history thanks to Kitman Labs.

Ideally, this business partnership brings the club closer to their third MLS Cup, adding to the 2008 and 2020 championships. The Crew first began MLS play in 1996.

Might the 2023 season be the beginning of a league dynasty?

Kitman Labs performance is doing their “Innovation Partnership” part to make it so.

See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!

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Tags: Sports Techie, sports technology, sports tech