*Header image credit: Chicago Fire FC
Meet Kevin Minkus, Director of Football Analytics at Chicago Fire FC
In the latest StatsBomb customer case study, Kevin Minkus, the Director of Football Analytics for Chicago Fire FC, sheds light on his role within the organisation. Leading a team across both Chicago Fire FC and FC Lugano in Switzerland, Minkus focuses on delivering key insights to decision-makers, leveraging data to inform strategic choices.
His team provides detailed analysis for opposition preparation, ongoing club recruitment and contract decisions, and offers a data-driven approach for broader strategic questions from the club’s hierarchy.
A Week In The Life Of Chicago Fire’s Analytics Department
The rhythm of the team’s work shifts with the season. During match weeks, the team is focused on supplying crucial insights for post match analysis and upcoming fixture preparations. During the off-season, Kevin and his teams’ attention shifts to recruitment searches and future squad building.
Throughout the year, the team also dedicates efforts to enhancing internal tools, and continually refining their workflows for improved efficiency and effectiveness.
Embracing Data Excellence with StatsBomb: A Game-Changing Partnership
Before becoming a StatsBomb customer in 2021, Chicago Fire FC sought to establish themselves as a leading analytics department in Major League Soccer (MLS) and the broader soccer landscape.
Minkus was the club’s first full-time analytics hire and searched for a proven data supplier covering a comprehensive selection of top leagues. StatsBomb's advanced data offering, coupled with the customisable IQ platform, perfectly aligned with the club's aspirations as he explains.
“We were looking for a best-in-class data provider with a robust data spec that measured everything we wanted, across the full spectrum of leagues we wanted to monitor. StatsBomb IQ, as a front-end on top of the data, was an added bonus as a self-service tool that we can give directly to our stakeholders.”
Minkus went on to discuss how becoming a customer has helped to create a data-driven culture across both clubs and how StatsBomb’s products are enhancing his workflows.
“With StatsBomb, we’ve been able to foster a data-rich environment in which all of our stakeholders can operate. The combination of fully featured data, vast league coverage and an easy to use platform has been instrumental to our analytics work within the two clubs.
In particular, we’ve been able to leverage StatsBomb 360 for specific reporting and modelling work to address what happens off the ball in a match. StatsBomb’s detailed pressure data is also vital to us as it informs much of our reporting and analysis in our phases of play against the ball.”
Evolving Success: StatsBomb's Continuous Product Development
StatsBomb's continued commitment to product development, particularly in enhancing machine learning models, has impressed Minkus and his team. The ongoing improvements directly benefit Chicago Fire FC's analytics work, ensuring they consistently possess cutting-edge insights to fuel their decision-making across key club departments.
“We want to have the best possible information, all the time. StatsBomb’s commitment to improving and updating their models is vital to that goal. The models come through in the API and they’re able to live side by side in our in-house platform with our own models and metrics.
This saves us time as we aren’t having to duplicate any modelling work and creates a better end-product that is easier to distribute into the hands of our stakeholders.”
Data-Driven Transformations and Measurable Outcomes
Minkus also spoke about the tangible impact of utilising StatsBomb’s products, and how he has witnessed performance enhancements at team, line, and player levels. The insights derived from StatsBomb's Data have also started to directly influence coaching decisions, shaping training focus and individual player development plans.
“It all starts with the coaches, of course, but the better information we can get into their hands as they make those decisions - about what to work on in training, what to focus on when working with a particular player or group - then hopefully the better outcomes we can get.
And then, using StatsBomb Data, we can directly measure and improve those outcomes as the season goes on.”
Influence on Decisions and Continuous Improvement
The comprehensive use of StatsBomb Data has influenced internal decisions, particularly in player development strategies and coaching methodologies. The clubs prioritise leveraging data, particularly StatsBomb, as a cornerstone for their evolution and growth.
“We want to be an organisation dedicated to the development and improvement of its players. StatsBomb’s Data is a fantastic tool to get into the hands of our coaching staff as they try to achieve this.”