Sports Medicine Corner

Dr. Don Kirkendall

This is a departure from my usual sport sciences topics. I’ve been asked on more than one occasion if I have any favorite soccer websites, so I thought I’d offer up a few.


Quantifying sport has taken off in a HUGE way, especially after MONEYBALL was published. The Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at MIT opened maybe 5-6 years ago to an audience of about 2,300. It has quickly expanded to over 4,000 with speakers from all major sports and leagues in the US, Europe and more. One can find a ton of soccer analytic sites and each website really is an acquired taste, but I like these analytic sites the best.

I saw reference to this site in the buildup to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, in the New York Times no less. The author is a German born business professor at Cornell. He has access to the soccer statistical bureaus in Europe and conducts analyses on (mostly) the English, German, Spanish, and Italian top divisions.
I’ve found his insights to be objective and very thoughtful without prejudice. And I’ve mentioned him in previous columns here at Southern Soccer Scene. This is my go-to site for soccer analytics.
He is currently finishing a sabbatical in London so he doesn’t post as often as he did when was at home in NY. But that ends soon and I expect him to jump back in pretty soon. He has a book coming out this summer where he expands on his commentaries called The Numbers Game by Chris Anderson and David Sally. His May 16 post has an excerpt that will surely send you right to

Believe it or not, the lofty New York Times actually has a pretty good blog about soccer. The articles are longer than most and well researched. Lot of Major League Soccer posts and traffic on the site picks up around major matches/tournaments.

(commentary and analytics. Neat interactive graphics)
Of course, the English would be expected to have dozens to the nth power of websites. Fanboys are predominant, but the Manchester Guardian has a special site devoted to soccer. It’s not all quantitative, some of the posts are devoted to personalities as well.

This interesting site presents infographics about the game. It is very graphics-heavy so it may be slow in loading, but the patient will be rewarded. Very creative and informative.

This blog of a corporate sports company in the US where you would send your videos for data reduction somewhat akin to what one might get from ProZone. Some of the articles are their own posts while many are reposts from other sites.

Most of the posts on this site are links to other sites, so it’s sort of a one-stop shopping. Think of it as a DrudgeReport-like format – little original work but a ton of links.

Soccer Training Sites
Coaching and tactics all about tactics from the birthplace of soccer. Obviously slanted toward the EPL, so if that is your cup of tea, then bookmark this site.

John Cone definitely has the chops to walk the walk. A PhD in exercise science as well as MLS coaching experience. One of the site’s purposes is to advertise his consulting services. The other part is educational.
Let me draw your attention to one part of this site. From the homepage, click on Presentations. Near the bottom you will find links to three Presentation Videos on dynamic flexibility.
You are probably hearing a lot about the limitations of static flexibility and praise for the dynamic form. But if you haven’t seen dynamic flexibility exercises, you might feel a bit in the dark.
These videos are some of the best examples I’ve seen online, simply presented and highly informative. Whenever someone asks me about dynamic flexibility options, I send them to these videos.

To those of us in the sport fitness business, the name Vern Gambetta is ubiquitous. Before he went out on his own, he was the fitness coach for the Chicago White Sox. He has consulted worldwide and has extraordinary insights into general training, especially when it comes to speed. Rom the US MNT to youth clubs, Vern’s been there, done that.
What I like about Vern is that he is about the work, the effort, not the gadgets or the latest trends. I’ve known Vern for going on 20 years now and he is still at the top of his game. If you think Mark Verstegan’s Athlete’s Performance started it all, sorry, Vern was there first. One of my go-to sites.

You’ve probably seen dozens of those ‘next level’ academies that proclaim all kinds of successes. Most I ignore, but this one caught my eye with its sound training philosophy and adherence to the principles of periodization. Based near Kansas City, I find their presentation to be very professional and the videos are instructive and well produced. A great place for training ideas specific to soccer.

Sport Sciences
The author is an exercise science professor at Virginia Tech. He summaries current research and offers commentary. New content goes up on an irregular basis so sign up for an email alert of a new post. Or join up on his Facebook page.

Sign up for their newsletter, which will be emailed to you about once per week. They present summaries of current research on soccer (without much commentary). Topics generally include fitness testing, training, injury prevention, recovery, stretching. They also are for hire to design personalized training programs.

George is a Greek PhD who was Head of Performance for Panathinaikos FC. He posts pretty regularly on current research with commentary. He is as likely to talk about team building as he is about endurance.
Nothing gospel in this list, just sites I’ve come to like. Yes, there are dozens upon dozens more. FYI, Dr. William Garrett (Duke orthopaedic surgeon and the head of the Duke FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence) and I will be doing weekly research summaries for FIFA’s F-MARC site soon. I’ll publicize the site when it becomes active, probably sometime this Fall.

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