Atlanta United taking steps with data to improve its future

Credit: Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

Club contracts with SRC FTBL and StatsBomb

Atlanta United is taking several steps to strengthen its data analytics in an attempt to ensure a more successful future.

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Club President Garth Lagerwey told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday that the MLS club has agreed to a one-year contract with SRC FTBL, one of the premier soccer-focused data-analytics companies in the world, StatsBomb, another analytics company used by several MLS clubs, and will be hiring a data engineer.

“Every goal is going to involve multiple players doing something well, multiple players doing something important,” Lagerwey said. “In order to pull that apart and get to objective analysis, I think this is critical to the foundation and even to the culture that I want to establish here.”

Lagerwey is a self-professed big believer in data. Some of that information helped his former club, Seattle, win the Champions League and two MLS Cups.

Lagerwey said that SRC FTBL will help Atlanta United with player scouting, player valuations, self-scouting and opponent scouting. The company will provide an objective viewpoint to better help Atlanta United make decisions, Lagerwey said. They will do most of their work from video, from which they will send data points to Atlanta United.

“We want the analytics to underpin everything,” Lagerwey said.

Lagerwey said SRC FTBL’s greatest impact will be on player acquisition and identification. That will include what key performance identifiers will be used to evaluate players and what else may be needed to find and sign players. They will be tasked mostly with helping Atlanta United find first-team players that will help it win its next championship.

“Can we plan out, literally a year or more ahead of time, what we want for the team?” Lagerwey said.

Lagerwey said another goal with SRC FTBL is to mentor Arjun Balaraman, Atlanta United’s analyst.

“It’s how you use the data and do you apply it objectively and do you apply it systemically?” Lagerwey said. “And do you plan consistently. The temptation is to use the data to reach the conclusion that you want to reach. Having outside consultants, I think will help us keep us honest. Right?”

Atlanta United isn’t new to data. Former head of technical recruitment and analysis Lucy Rushton helped put together the roster that resulted in the club winning the MLS Cup in 2018 and U.S. Open Cup and Campeones Cup in 2019. She resigned in 2021 to become D.C. United’s general manager.

Lagerwey hopes to have the data engineer hired within the next four weeks. He described it as a massive job because this person will be responsible for taking internal and small bits of the sourced data and applying it to Atlanta United’s systems. That data will include everything from records of education for players in the academy, to how the first team uses scouts. They will be tying all that info into the systems in place with the Arthur M. Blank Sports and Entertainment and the Falcons, which like Atlanta United are also owned by Blank.

“It’s literally laying the infrastructure that we can build on going forward for years to come,” Lagerwey said.

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Atlanta United’s 2023 MLS schedule

Feb. 25 Atlanta United 2, San Jose Earthquakes 1

March 4 Atlanta United 1, Toronto FC 1

March 11 at Charlotte FC, noon, Fox

March 18 vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m.

March 25 at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

April 1 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

April 8 at New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.

April 15 at Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.

April 23 vs. Chicago Fire FC, 4:30 p.m., FS1

April 29 at Nashville SC, 1:30 p.m., Fox

May 6 at Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.

May 13 vs. Charlotte FC, 7:30 p.m.

May 17 vs. Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m.

May 20 at Chicago Fire FC, 8:30 p.m.

May 27 at Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m.

May 31 vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m., FS1

June 3 at Los Angeles FC, 10:30 p.m.

June 10 vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

June 21 vs. New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.

June 24 at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

July 2 vs. Philadelphia Union, 4 p.m., Fox

July 8 at CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

July 12 at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.

July 15 vs. Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m., FS1

Aug. 20 at Seattle Sounders, 10:30 p.m.

Aug. 26 vs. Nashville SC, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 30 vs. FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 2 at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

Sept. 16 vs. Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 20 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 23 vs. CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 7 vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 21 at FC Cincinnati, TBA