OptaPro Data Scientist Devin Pleuler has joined MLS’s Toronto FC as their newly appointed Manager of Analytics.
While losing Devin is a loss to the Opta family, it demonstrates the growing demand for data analysts in football, and the role they can play within a professional club environment.
Over the past 12 months we have seen an upward trend in clubs’ approaches to data and how they use it, and Devin is an example of another club investing in this style of analysis.
At last month’s OptaPro Analytics Forum, feedback from clubs elaborated on the need for relevant data analysis that could be applied within a football club’s existing working processes.
Since joining OptaPro, Devin’s work has demonstrated how advanced analysis and data research can be innovative and maintain relevance and application in the fast-paced world of professional football.
Upon graduating from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA, in 2011, where he played on the Men's NCAA soccer team, Devin worked at a data analytics and quantitative marketing company as a Data Scientist. During the 2012 fall season, he had his first taste of college football coaching as an assistant with MIT, helping to win the school's first ever conference title.
Since joining OptaPro nearly two years ago, Devin has strengthened his reputation as a leading figure in football analytics. His has been at the nucleus of Opta’s partnership with MLS and has provided regular in-depth analysis to the OptaPro blog, which can be viewed here.
Under his Central Winger banner, Devin has also contributed to leading football websites, including MLSsoccer.com.
Devin’s work has consistently showcased his ability to concisely and eloquently present his results, which has included tactical network infographics and predictive passing models.
Devin also played a leading role in the development of the OptaPro Analytics Forum; in both 2014 and 2015 Devin was part of the five-person judging panel.
Speaking to OptaPro, Devin said:
"The last two years have been incredibly rewarding both professionally and personally. I have been lucky to work on cutting edge analytics projects alongside some of the very brightest in the world of soccer media. This new opportunity in Toronto comes at a time of rapid change in the soccer analytics community and I am convinced that OptaPro will remain an industry standard as we venture into this new frontier."
John Coulson, Head of Professional Football Services at OptaPro, said:
“Devin is one the most talented analysts in this field. He has significantly progressed our understanding of our own data and demonstrated what insights are now possible. We are sorry he is leaving us but obviously delighted for him in this new opportunity.
“Devin possesses a rare blend of technical skills with an acute understanding of the game. These combined with a very sharp analytical mind make him a perfect fit for a progressive team like Toronto.”
OptaPro will be replacing Devin as we continue to invest in data-led analysis. A full recruitment process is underway, with an announcement to arrive in the coming weeks.
Follow Devin on Twitter