Goals win games, shape careers, and create legends. Goals also develop the road we travel and navigate us along the journey of who we want to become. They pave the path, provide guidance, and set a destination.
What is COPA STC’s goal? To combine training methodologies rooted in sports science with cutting-edge technologies to transcend player development and player identification through an assessment-based approach.
Assessments are the catalyst behind engaging feedback loops and integrating gamification into COPA STC’s player development and identification ecosystem. After all, COPA does stand for Comprehensive Objective Performance Assessment. These provide a quantitative benchmark used to measure an athlete’s progress and compare their performance to their peers.
The traditional approach to player development and identification has been heavily influenced by subjective observation. We’ve all heard the cliché “don’t judge a book by its cover,” yet countless athletes have been passed over because they didn’t pass some coach’s arbitrary eye test.
More often than not, a coach’s goal is to prepare for next week’s match, not necessarily emphasizing the long-term technical, physical, and cognitive development of each individual athlete. Their plan to win may come at the cost of developing and mastering an athlete’s necessary lifelong skills. It doesn’t help that most coaches also do not have access to advanced technology to measure and train their athletes.
“COPA STC’s purpose is to optimize the player development and player identification efforts of clubs, coaches, organizations, players, and parents,” says Charlie Campbell, COPA STC General Manager. “We spent 5 years visiting the world’s top clubs in pursuit of an assessment-based approach. By combining the world’s leading assessment technologies with our own proprietary ones, we aim to provide the best opportunity to identify potential talent and assist in the long-term development of all athletes. We want to offer the same elite-level sports science methodology that the top clubs in the world are deploying to every athlete that walks through our doors.”
“The COPA Soccer Assessment objectively quantifies an athlete’s skills, identifies areas for development, and creates a baseline for each player to work from,” says Barry McCabe, COPA STC Senior Director, Development Division. “No matter how an athlete performs in the assessment, they will receive actionable information back. This is the key to the development end of what we aim to do – learning and development can only happen when the athlete is engaged in the process, receives feedback to guide the learning, and has clear objectives (goals). The scores can accelerate this process dramatically.”
“These comparative data inform us of the next phase of training,” says Dr. Ming-Chang Tsai, COPA STC Managing Director, Science, and Technology. “Once we identify strengths and gaps, we can individualize training sessions and development plans to address these. This is where the data comes into play. Now that we have the athlete’s completed assessment and a database to compare their skills to, we can prescribe training. We individualize the training approach in a small group setting tailored to focus on highlighting each athlete’s strengths and developing their shortcomings.”
The athlete has a goal, we provide the guidance and tools to get them there.
And this is not a one-off assessment. It’s repeatable. By assessing, data comparison, training, reassessing, and so on, we provide the opportunity for constant and continued growth.
“Soon, the days of purely subjective observations and player identification will be gone,” Charlie adds. “Quantitative data will assist decision-makers in their evaluation of talent. Organizations like the Oakland Roots, NorCal Premier PDP Program, Walnut Creek Surf, and multiple NCAA Division 1 programs are already leveraging COPA STC’s Soccer Assessment to assist in player identification. By establishing benchmarks, these assessments will become a filtering mechanism to objectively evaluate talent.”
In COPA’s pursuit of building the most comprehensive database for all ages and skill levels, we have utilized our partnership with the Oakland Roots to assess players in all pillars of the club – Roots Recognize Initiative, Project 51O, and the Oakland Roots 1st team.
COPA has performed over 50 assessments of players in the Oakland Roots Organization, from 1st team through youths in the Roots Recognized Initiative who have been tipped for future success. These assessments have provided the Roots technical staff an extra layer of insight into the makeup of their talented players, while also objectively comparing players across the playing levels. “The info provided has fueled more conversation about players, their potential trajectory, as well as areas the players will focus on developing with their coaches at the club,” says Barry.
COPA STC and the Roots are completing the assessments of their current players to establish their competitive benchmarks, assisting their technical staff in making team selections in the coming years. This objective player identification pathway will also be provided to the general public to see how you stack up against professional athletes.
The COPA Soccer Assessment objectively optimizes player development and identification in order to unlock their maximum potential. No more clipboard-wielding coaches on the side of a two-day tryout determining the fates of hundreds of young athletes. No more eyes tests or gut feelings. No more slipping through the cracks.
COPA STC’s goal is to transform soccer’s subjective approach to player development and transcend its subjective identification in order to objectively help every athlete unlock their full potential. We want to change the game so everyone has a fair shot at their goals.
That leaves us with one final question – what is your goal?