Sign up to the Irish FA Newsletter today

Keep up-to-date with all the latest news from the Irish FA including ticket updates, match information, competitions, articles and much more.
Thank you

Thursday 18 Apr 2024
STATSports and Irish FA to host Talent ID Day

A group of aspiring young footballers from across Northern Ireland will be given the chance to earn a place within the Irish FA JD Academy next month.

Twenty young players have been invited to a Talent ID Day after registering performance data with STATSports that simply could not be ignored.

The Talent ID Day on Sunday 5 May at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park is being hosted by the Irish FA and STATSports.

At the event the 20 young footballers, selected primarily via data from their STATSports GPS trackers, will play in front of an Irish FA JD Academy Talent ID team.

STATSports, the world’s leading GPS performance technology company, and the Irish FA have worked in partnership for many years, and STATSports has been an official partner of the association since September 2020.

The Newry-based company’s elite GPS technology is used by Northern Ireland’s senior men’s, women's and youth teams to maximise physical performance levels and reduce risk of injury.

Young players across the country have been using the STATSports Apex Athlete Series GPS tracker for several years - to track their training and match day data. The device allows users to compare their data with Premier League, Champions League and Academy players of the same age within the Apex Athlete Series app.

STATSports and the Irish FA have worked together to select a group of players with outstanding GPS data to showcase their talent in front of the Irish FA JD Academy coaches on 5 May.

The association’s Head of Elite Player Development, Andrew Waterworth, said: “We’re very excited to be at this phase of our project with STATSports. The opportunity to track and identify players using their GPS data is an added layer of information we didn’t have before.

“Since we brought STATSports into the JD Academy several years ago, our coaches have kept a close eye on players’ data and have been hugely impressed with a group of young players who will now get the chance to showcase their skills at the National Stadium. This unique opportunity has allowed us to track players all around the country.

“This innovative project reinforces the importance of performance data within football. Data at every level of the game is informing the decision-making around the Talent ID process in youth and academy football.”

He also pointed out players’ physical outputs are increasing. They are running further, faster and more efficiently than ever before.

“This is why it is important that we not only identify players but develop them, so that they can meet the demands of the modern game,” he added.

The JD-sponsored academy is Northern Ireland’s only full-time residential academy for young footballers. It is based at Ulster University’s Jordanstown campus and operated by the Irish FA in conjunction with the university, with support from UEFA. It is focused on developing emerging talent at school years 11 and 12 (U15 and U16).

Sean O Connor, Co-Founder of STATSports, said: “It’s a genuine possibility that on 5th May, together with the Irish FA, STATSports may find the next generation of talent for the JD Academy.

“As a long-standing partner of the Irish FA, we’re thrilled to work on this project together. We can help Northern Ireland’s gifted young players to unlock potential that may well go unnoticed.”

He explained that STATSports technology is an essential component of a player’s kitbag these days.

“Young, aspiring players know that just because they have not been picked up by a top club or academy, they still have a chance to get spotted via their data,” he said.

“STATSports has been a trusted partner of the Irish FA for over a decade – and this next step potentially helps the Irish FA and STATSports to identify the next generational talent to come through the JD Academy and make the grade with the national team,” he added.

To find out more about the STATSports Apex Athlete Series GPS tracker, visit

Image: Irish FA JD Academy player Braiden Graham tries out STATSports technology.