The Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL / German Football League) has entered into a joint venture with sports data producer deltratre to service the German professional soccer industry. The JV — Sportec Solutions GmbH — headquartered in Köln (Cologne) is now hiring, and the job descriptions give some idea of how much of a landmark this enterprise could be. See the positions under the Sportec heading.
I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Dr Daniel Link at conferences over the past few years. Daniel is a serious researcher (in that very German way) who is also responsible for writing and maintaining the documents that describe how data should be recorded in soccer. These are official documents of the DFL that each data provider must follow in order to provide consistent definitions of Zweikämpfe (duels / one-on-one contests), Torversuche (goal attempts), and everything else you want to observe about performance in the sport.
It is no accident that Germany won its fourth World Cup in Brazil 2014. The culture of analysing football in Germany would be foreign to most other national sporting organisations, based on evidence and theories of the game that are both well-tested and innovative. In some professional clubs here, I am seeing the same type of culture leading to success. It’s not so much the data methodology or analytical techniques that matter, it’s about being able to question practices and approach the answers with confidence that the majority of coaches are open to having a dialogue about evidence and its meanings.
If you’re interested in moving to Köln, I would highly recommend these opportunities. Although it would be a distinct advantage to speak or at least read German, it is not required.
Here’s a translation of some of the key points in each job:
- Director Operations & IT
- In your kit-bag, you have a degree in computer science or engineering and operational expert knowledge in sports media or a club environment
- Head of IT Entwicklung (Development)
- Manage the IT Development department using agile methods; be the “champion” of IT issues; experience in real-time databases
- Manager Tracking
- Responsible for the management of “tracking” for the DFL, i.e. collection, validation, and processing of position tracking data
- (Senior) Produkt Manager
- Both customer-facing, and responsible for design and specification of products and projects
- IT Operations Manager
- This one is less about football specifically: manage the entire IT infrastructure including live delivery
I’d also encourage other sporting leagues to take their data responsibilities in-house the way the DFL has, and resource it properly. The data analytics community is watching!