Javier is the Head of Sports Analytics at FC Barcelona, where he combines research on machine learning for football analytics and the development of statistical tools to aid coaches in their everyday analysis tasks. His role is centred in gathering questions from football coaches and providing practical applications built on top of high frequency positional data. A typical week is centred in a constant communication with football experts, mapping tactical concepts to algorithms and heavy use of visualisation to explain results.
Javier holds a MSc in Artificial Intelligence, and is currently a PhD Candidate in Artificial Intelligence.
Speaking ahead of Tactical Insights, Javier said: "What we have is if you compare football with other sports that it’s been used in – basketball and baseball, ice hockey, too – there is a big gap in what the sports have achieved in the last few years. Analytics in football in the last two years has seen clubs starting to hire people with interesting profiles. Analytics in football is shifting towards a fine analysis of what the game is about. With simple steps, you can correlate a lot of stats with what can happen in different sports, but football as a sport has the highest value of points in sports. For example, there are a lot of points in basketball, but one goal can change the game directly in football.
"Analytics has provided a new way of seeing football, and it allows us to make sense of information. Giving this kind of information, you can do what is needed to grasp the complexity of football. We can start measuring the difference in a match where you have 20 shots and three are high quality or in conditions that you’re likely to score, rather than not many shots but the same probability to score.
"It’s very interesting that this kind of conference is being promoted by a football club. Leicester City are an interesting club that’s a role model for others in the Premier League. You don’t see often a club that can win the Premier League with the competition from other teams that they have. They’re a very good example of a club not just trying to win once, but also looking into the future and trying to invest in what can make the Club better as a whole.
"I’m really excited to be there, because elite conferences can be quite similar, but the people that will be attending Tactical Insights will be very interesting. It is an approach that will provide a variety of speakers – it gives a look at football from all different angles, and how different people can work together."
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