Football Data Analytics: Understanding football player and team performance through the combination and relationship of technical (event/ball) and physical (player) tracking data

  • Loughborough University
  • 6th October 2019

Employer: Loughborough University
Bursary: Tax-free stipend of £15,009 per annum
Contract type: 4 years full time, fixed contract
Start date: January 2020

Applications are invited for the above studentship commencing January 2020. This is an exciting opportunity to study for a PhD at Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise & Health Science whilst working with leading football data analysis company OptaPro to investigate the performance insights available from combining technical and physical data.

The School has been ranked 1st in the world for Sport-related Subjects for the last three years (QS World University Rankings). Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral Collage.

OptaPro provides detailed performance data, analytical insight and cutting-edge technology to support over 350 professional teams from the world of professional sport. Working across football, rugby and cricket, OptaPro’s bespoke tools, platforms and resources are used to inform and enhance decision-making across performance analysis, recruitment and strategic planning.

Football analysis data tracking the movements of all the players (physical data), and their interactions with the ball (technical data) are increasingly available. However, the way in which physical and technical components interact and combine to influence the performance of players and teams is poorly understood. Given that team success is known to be multifactorial this would seem to be an important step in understanding football match play. The aim of this project is to combine physical and technical data to generate performance insights.

Applicants should have a good first degree (and preferably an MSc) in Sports Science, Computer Science, Data Analytics, Statistics or similar. Applicants will need to demonstrate an aptitude for data analytics, and experience of working in sport, applied sports science and/or performance analysis (see Further Information). A good understanding of the current state of sports analytics, in particular football science would also be valuable.

Find out more:
Additional information is available at
For information about the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, postgraduate study at LU, and OptaPro, respectively:

Contact details:
For general enquiries about applying please email
For specific queries about the project please contact Professor Jonathan Folland
Package description
This studentship is for four years starting in January 2020 and provides a tax-free stipend of £15,009 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. International (non-EU) students may apply however the total value of the studentship will cover the International tuition fee only.

Vacancy website address:

Vacancy email address: 


BASES stands for the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. BASES is the professional body for sport and exercise sciences in the UK.



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  • 0113 812 6162