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Atlanta United uses analytics at all levels of player acquisition

Lucy Rushton tells Leaders how the club implements analytics at this stage

“The key in analytics is to realise the potential of analysis to assist in risk management during player recruitment.”

Lucy Rushton, Atlanta United’s Head of Technical Recruitment and Analysis, wrote a piece for Leaders about her role at the club and how her department assists in player acquisition at all levels of the club. Leaders is an organization that promotes excellence in sports business and sports performance through events and newsletters.

Rushton discusses some of the complexities of building a roster in Major League Soccer and how analytics can help in identifying potential targets. However, she says:

“This level of specialized recruitment cannot be achieved through analytics alone, and requires considerable contributions from the technical staff.”

She works closely with Darren Eales, Paul McDonough, and Carlos Bocanegra to “ensure that all angles” are used when identifying targets. The club will use a combination of the analytics and observations to make their decisions.

Rushton’s article gives a great deal of background in how the club will try to fill each of its roster spots from the senior roster through the supplemental roster, how they will identify players within the league and in the college game, and how foreign players will be identified and prioritized.

Atlanta United is among the leaders in MLS already when it comes to utilizing analytics. There are not many similar roles to Rushton’s in the league.

Eales told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Doug Roberson in April:

“Analytics will hopefully give us the edge for every roster spot we pick to make it the best we can.”

With the Expansion Draft, college SuperDraft, and the January transfer window coming up quickly, Rushton’s value to the organization will be evident quickly.