Welcome to StatsBomb Data Diaries. Here, professional analysts, coaches and scouts from clubs across the globe will share what it’s really like to work with data in football.
In our first-ever diary, Sam Green, Assistant Coach & Director of Video Analysis at LA Galaxy, talks to us about his journey to Major League Soccer as part of a wave of expert coaches from leading European clubs, before sharing his matchday-to-matchday routine.
What were your first jobs in football, and how did you get started?
My first full-time job was as Lead U9-U16 Performance Analyst at West Bromwich Albion. I worked predominantly with the U16 team and managed an internship program covering all home academy games. After a year at the club, I progressed to the U18 role for a short period before moving up again to Lead Academy Analyst, working with the U23 team and overseeing academy analysis.
You have a BSc in Sports Science. Did you gain anything valuable from that qualification?
There was a Performance Analysis module as part of my course at Sheffield Hallam. This was the first time I was made aware of the profession, and I felt that my skill set was well suited to the coaching, analytical, and strategic side of things. This led me to apply for the internship position at Rochdale AFC, which set me on my way.
What do you wish you knew when you walked through the door in your first analysis job in a team?
To be successful and impact team performance, you need to do much more than just the day-to-day analysis work. The quality of this work is fundamental, but the power and transferability of your work is determined by the relationships you build with others.
The ability to connect with coaches and players - for them to trust in you - will make your hard work have true meaning in a team environment and hopefully positively impact performance.
You’re now at LA Galaxy. Can you sum up your role and responsibilities in a couple of sentences?
In my current role as Assistant Coach & Director of Video Analysis, I work with the first team, where I’m responsible for opposition, training, in-game and post-match analysis. I also oversee the club-wide analysis provision.
Can you describe how you use StatsBomb’s services and products in your work?
We use StatsBomb to profile opposition teams and review our performances after games and throughout the season. We utilise the API and feed this into Power BI, where we have created our own dashboards with the metrics we deem most important to us.
We also use the StatsBomb IQ analytics platform on a daily basis. Both help our recruitment department identify potential transfer targets from around the world.
Day One - Tuesday (four days to matchday)
6:45 AM - I usually arrive at the training ground at this time every morning to workout before starting in the office around 7:45 / 8:00 AM. This day is mainly used to create a post-match review that we will present to the players the following day.
7:45 - 10:00 AM - The other coaches and I informally discuss the weekend game and identify key takeaways that we want to share with players - individually, in small groups or collectively. This is also when we will check over the data from the weekend game to identify anything interesting -- both positive and negative -- at an individual and team level. We will then begin to plan ahead for the week, firstly with training for the coming day.
10:00 - 11:30 AM – Training. We usually have a smaller number of players this day following the weekend's game. This is generally used as a session to get everyone going again before we begin the preparations going into the weekend and usually follows a day off.
11:30 - 3:00 PM - After training, I work to get the filmed footage shared with players and coaches. If we are lucky, we may catch a bit of a Champions League game if it's the right time of the year! I then work on collating all of the coaches’ clips from the weekend's game and trimming it down into an 8-10 minute video that shows the key themes discussed earlier in the morning. I will then annotate and draw on the footage - or ‘telistrate’ as we call it - with corrections to positively reinforce our playing style and highlight key aspects of play that will be relevant for our upcoming opponent.
3:00 - 5:30 PM - I work to finish coding the game I started on Monday on our opposition, organising and collating clips across several games identifying key themes, strengths and weaknesses ready for the morning.
7:00 PM - The laptop will then usually come out at home, much to the disapproval of my wife!
Day Two - Wednesday (three days to matchday)
6:45 AM - Another workout. It’s a great routine to start each day.
7:45 - 10:00 AM - If I haven’t already, I will distribute all the opposition content. This is generally a more refined set of clips on the opposition that takes advantage of the coaches having access to the StatsBomb platform and data dashboards online. We will also discuss this weekend's opponent as we begin to plan the training session for the day. We will then finalise and tweak the team game review video, ready to show the players at 10 AM.
10:00 - 10:30 AM - Team meeting. This usually lasts around 20 minutes. We may drop in some of the key data here that we discussed and agreed on the previous day.
10:45 - 12:15 PM - Training. This is usually our tactical day and is shaped by the opposition analysis that I carried out, working on how we can exploit their weaknesses and account for their strengths. The footage from this day is particularly useful for the week's preparations.
12:15 PM - I will then work on coding training to share with players and coaches. We will review this individually and share any relevant clips that we then discuss with players later on.
1:00 - 2:00 PM - I am part of a technical leadership group made up of staff from around the club which is helping to shape the future of the club’s academy. At this meeting, we discuss what work our department is doing with the academy for the coming week and plan the bigger picture for youth development within the club.
2:00 - 5:00 PM - I end the day working on trimming the opposition meeting for the next day, again aiming for around 8-10 minutes of video. I will telistrate this footage to make the focus of each clip clear.
Day Three - Thursday (two days to matchday)
6:45 AM - We start the day with a staff football game if we have the numbers. It’s small numbers 3v3/ 4v4 depending on who is available and features a mixture of support staff from the club's first and second teams.
7:45 - 10:00 AM - I will take this time to finalise the meeting for the morning and go over set plays to discuss in the meeting. We utilise a set-piece dashboard that I have created using the StatsBomb API that shows delivery locations, taker, takers foot, and first contact. It’s interactive, allowing me to quickly identify themes and trends and points us in the right direction with what relevant video to show the players, e.g. a team that is consistently delivering the ball in the same area to the same player. We may also review training footage from the previous day during this time to see if there is anything we need to touch on further in today’s training session.
10:00 - 10:30 AM - Team meeting. We touch upon individual players' trends before talking through the clips. We have a touchscreen TV that we use to draw over any clips that we feel are necessary during the meeting, which is useful to show how we are going to set up against them. This might be when we share a small piece of data with the players, for example, if they’ve created the most chances in the league from high press shots, flagged on the StatsBomb platform or within our dashboards.
10:45 - 12:15 PM - Training. This is when the match preparations are in full flow, and we build on the tactical plan for the weekend's game.
12:30 - 2:00 PM - I take this time to finalise the clips I share with players, specifically on their direct opponents in upcoming fixtures. I utilise the data here to point me in the direction of which areas I should highlight and focus on, alongside the games I have already watched on the opposition.
2:00 - 5:00 PM - Here, I look to do some bigger picture work, department planning, and databasing and starting to look at our next opponent and watch and code their latest relevant game in preparation for the following week.
Day Four - Friday (one day to matchday)
6:45 AM - Boxing. Tom Williams, our Head of Sport Science, will run a staff boxing session. There is no sparring, just pads, which is probably a good thing for me!
7:45 - 10:00 AM - On this day, we usually don’t have a meeting unless we are on a short turnaround following a previous game. We may loop a few reminders in the changing room for players to see as they arrive.
10:00 - 11:30 AM - Training. The session is kept short and sweet this day in preparation for the game.
12:00 PM - If we are away, we will travel and fly after training. Either way, I use this time to get ahead by watching our next opponent at my desk -- or on a plane!
Day Five - Saturday (matchday)
Before kick-off - The best day of the week. All the preparation is complete, and we will do a quick meeting either at the hotel or in the changing room when we get to the opposition team.
During the match - I am usually positioned from an elevated viewpoint, and I am in constant communication with the bench. We’ll set up a live feed from my camera straight to an iPad. We will perhaps show relevant clips at halftime to reinforce or correct a common theme that was happening in the first half. We then can talk individually with coaches and show players clips from my laptop or the iPad. It's then a sprint to get back upstairs before the second half!
Share your own data diary
If you work as an analyst, coach or in another data-led role at a professional club, then we would like to share your data diary. If you're interested, please get in touch.