Major League Soccer, Adidas bring Tracking Technology to Uniforms

MLS All Star Logo

I missed the MLS all start game a few days back that pitted the best that Major League Soccer had to offer against visiting Chelsea Football Club, winners of the UEFA Champions League, a game that the MLS won on a deflected goal.

While the win was a nice boost for MLS I just have a hard time getting all that excited about all star matches, in any sport, but in looking back at some of the news from the match one item caught my eye and this is something that will likely spread to other sports.

It seems that Adidas, one of MLS’ most important backers, used a data tracking technology that is embedded in the uniforms that all of the MLS players wore during the match. The league has said that next season the technology will be used by all of the teams in the league.

Apparently Adidas started developing the technology several years ago, and since it also supplies MLS with uniforms and shoes, it will be a pretty easy feat to incorporate the technology for the season. The technology monitors a variety of player metrics, according to a piece in the Portland Business Journal.

The technology, called the “micoach professional team tracking system” is designed to give coaches and trainers the ability to monitor player position, power output, speed, distance covered, intensity of play, acceleration and GPS heat mapping.


It uses a small data cell that is embedded in the back of a uniform and is designed to rest between a players shoulder blades. It has the ability to wirelessly transmit 200 pieces of data a second, enabling a coach to have a real time outlook on a players effort and performance.

The MLS is expected to make at least some of the data streams available for fans to follow live at a game. I wonder if rivals can hack into a team’s stream to track which layers are lagging and so focus a team’s efforts against said player?

The ability to track athletic performance has been growing, with runners, bikers and a host of others getting anything from Nike + to smartphone-based apps to help monitor and improve performance but this is the first I have seen at a pro level. I hope that the league shares its results at the end of the year to find out what if anything, the data helped improve.