Earlier this year the Quakes announced a collaboration with the German Football Association, DFB, and the DFB Academy, focusing on knowledge exchange, game development and machine learning.
One of the most successful countries in the international game at both the senior and youth levels, Germany is the reining World Cup champion after defeating Argentina in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. This year the DFB have also won the 2017 Confederations Cup and the 2017 U-21 European Championships.
The aim of the collaboration is to develop new tactical, technical, physical and, in particular, cognitive standards in a measureable and actionable manner.
Last week, the DFB made a visit to the Bay Area to spend time with and observe the technical staff from both the first team and the Quakes Academy, and meet with sports and technology influencers in the Silicon Valley.
A group of seven members from the DFB joined the Quakes for a week, including senior national team assistant coach Marcus Sorg, senior national team scout and scientific advisor Stephan Nopp, senior national team management coordinator Thomas Beheshti, U-18 national team head coach Meikel Schönweitz, strategic advisor and head of TechLab for the DFB Academy Nicolas Jungkind, head of the youth teams office Panagiotis Chatzialexiou and DFB Academy head of content Markus Weise.
Each afternoon, the DFB group met with the Quakes’ technical staff to discuss their methodology and practices. They then observed training sessions and provided feedback.
The group also visited multiple locations throughout the Bay Area, meeting some of the most important figures in technology and American sports.
Monday, Sept. 11 – Mr. Moneyball
The DFB met with the Oakland Athletics’ Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Billy Beane on Monday. Beane is the inspiration of Michael Lewis' best-selling book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game and was portrayed by Brad Pitt in the 2011 film Moneyball.
Tuesday, Sept. 12 – Google
Pictured above, Quakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli poses with the DFB group at The Garage at Google.
On Tuesday, the group met with Google’s Chief Innovation Evangelist Dr. Frederik G. Pferdt. He is the cofounder of The Garage, Google’s tech workshop where employees can create their ideas and experiment. He also leads a team that helps solve problems through creative mechanisms and trains people on using technology to benefit the future.
Wednesday, Sept. 13 – Gold Rush
During their third day in the Bay Area, the DFB group went to the San Francisco 49ers Training Facility to meet Stanford University professor George Foster, watch training and take a tour of the facilities.
Professor Foster is the Konosuke Matsushita professor of management at Stanford, specializing in entrepreneurship and early-stage companies, financial analysis -particularly in commercial disputes - and sports business management.
Thursday, Sept. 14 – The Cardinal
The DFB group spent the morning at Stanford, meeting with professor George Foster again, athletic director Bernard Muir, senior associate athletic director Earl Koberlein and the men’s soccer staff.
Friday, Sept. 15 – Tesla and Virtual Reality
After a breakfast with the Earthquakes Innovation Board, the group toured the Tesla Facility.
That afternoon, the Quakes Academy players experienced virtual reality as it pertains to soccer, provided by Ekkono Method, one of the companies that presented at the Innovation Showcase earlier this year.
During the busy week in the Bay Area, much technology and information was exchanged. The DFB group attended the game on Saturday night, watching the Quakes defeat the Houston Dynamo. The visit was just the start of this collaboration, as many more visits are in store.
Caption: Pictured above, Earthquakes President Tom Fox and the DFB group following the Quakes’ 1-0 victor against the Houston Dynamo.