By Barry Janoff
May 18, 2012: Major League Soccer players Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake), Teal Bunbury (Sporting KC) and Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers) have lead roles in a new adidas commercial, “Smart Soccer,” which supports the micoach Speed_Cell.
The spot will break on Fox during the UEFA Champions League Final on May 19 , and then go into regular rotation with a media buy skewed toward sports networks and programming.
According to adidas, the next generation of micoach technology will debut at the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game. The game — being billed as "the world's first smart soccer match" — is scheduled for July 25 when the MLS All-Stars host Chelsea FC at PPL Park, home of the Philadelphia Union. The game will air live on ESPN2 and Telefutura.
The adidas micoach Speed_Cell "captures 360-degree movement and measures performance metrics during practice or gameplay," capturing up to seven hours of data via a memory chip that "wirelessly syncs with the user’s smartphone and uploads performance stats that can be shared through Facebook and Twitter," according to the company.
Players in the All-Star Game will be wearing adidas cleats equipped with the new adidas micoach professional soccer team tracking system. Coaches will be able to measure real-time performance metrics such as player position, power output, speed, distance covered, intensity of play, acceleration and GPS heat mapping. The information can then be outputted and displayed on a mobile tablet or computer over a WiFi network.
In the “Smart Soccer" spot, Shea, Morales, Bunbury and Nagbe are seen putting on their uniforms, shin guards, tape and other equipment as the prepare for a game. Each of the players is also shown inserting the micoach system chip into their adidas cleats. On the field, stats are superimposed on the screen ("Speed: 3.3MPH," "Distance: 64 Feet," "78% Ready").
"Revolutions are born from simple ideas," states a voiceover as the players hit the pitch. "Insights that become emotions. Desires that become innovations. Systems that unleash true potential . . . It's time for a new revolution. It's time for smart soccer."
“The new micoach team tracking system combines state-of-the-art technology with real-time analysis, bringing the game the most significant advancement in soccer coaching in the modern era," Patrik Nilsson, president of adidas America, said in a statement. "MLS understands digital innovation is the future of team sports and we are proud to make the MLS All-Star Game the world's first smart competition."
Shea made other news on May 17 when the MLS Disciplinary Committee suspended the FC Dallas midfielder for three games and fined him an undisclosed amount for "deliberately kicking the ball at an assistant referee" during a game against Columbus Crew on May 12.
(See the full spot here.)