Racing de Córdoba are in their early stages of data adoption and are using Wyscout to gain a competitive edge in Argentina’s second tier.

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One of the biggest challenges for any club in modern football is making the most of your resources, especially for teams operating on smaller budgets. 

Argentinian second-tier side Club Atlético Racing de Córdoba have proven that adopting data and technology can level the playing field and provide a sporting advantage further down the footballing pyramid without breaking the bank.

A historic club based in the neighborhood of Nueva Italia, Racing de Córdoba, celebrate their 100-year anniversary this year, and, after two promotions in three seasons, the future looks bright as they reach their centenary.

Racing enjoyed a golden age during the 1980s, spending most of the decade in the Argentinian top flight and finishing as league runners-up in 1980 under legendary manager Alfio Basile. However, more recently, they have bounced around the lower divisions and, as recently as 2020, found themselves in the fourth tier of Argentinian football. 

Promotions in 2021 and 2022 have seen Racing return to the Primera B Nacional - the Argentinian second division - for the first time in 18 years.

During their return to prominence, the club took the decision to invest in technology, which proved to be a catalyst for their rise up the divisions.

“In line with the evolution of modern professional football, the club took the institutional decision to promote the creation of a sports performance analysis and data management department, understanding that it was a strategic tool that didn’t just depend on the coaching staff but as an active part of the club,” explains Angel Repossi, head of data analysis at Racing de Córdoba. 

Initially, Racing incorporated human performance technology in the search for a competitive edge, distinguishing themselves from other clubs: “In the Federal A, the third division, we were among only three clubs that used technology,” says Repossi “Its impact was clearly notable, especially in terms of physical preparation.”

“Using data, we realized we had better physical effort, intensity, and stamina than other teams. We won in the physical battle and this helped us a lot. We knew we could gain an advantage and keep working on that.”

Since returning to the Primera B Nacional, Racing have continued their evolution by adding Wyscout to their analysis department’s workflows. Despite being at an early stage of their data journey, their use of technology marks them out as a forward-thinking club.

“Most clubs use technology, but many don’t have permanent departments dedicated to it. They might just have it for certain games or pre-season,” says Repossi. “We do a more exhaustive use of data than most, even in the Primera B Nacional. We are measuring more and making more data-driven decisions. We believe we are at least in the top half when it comes to use of data.”

By using this data, Repossi and Racing have been able to align decision-making and squad planning to a distinct game model. 

“Before, we played a 4-4-2 system, very vertical, with quick recovery of the ball in the centre of the park and looking to attack with two quick wingers,” Repossi explains. “Now the current manager has brought a new style of play, with more possession of the ball. Still a 4-4-2, but with a more defined number 9 in the area and a ball-winning number 5.”

“So, using this data, I put together profiles for each position to help find who will fit the system and build reports. From there, we take that to Wyscout to scour the huge range of players available to see who match the criteria and characteristics of the player profile.”

“It opens up a lot of possibilities,” Repossi continues. “In previous years, our scouting was maybe not the best because an agent might present a player with not a true representation of their capabilities, but since we’ve had Wyscout, we can do a better analysis of potential players and make better decisions that are more in line with the team’s needs.”

Perhaps the biggest benefit that Repossi has seen has been when it comes to analyzing opponents and in pre-match preparation.

“It gives us a huge advantage,” he says. “Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent, thanks to Wyscout, we can adapt the management of our human resources. We can focus our attention on specific areas in training where we can beat our rivals. It’s a question of efficiency.”

Racing manager Diego Pozo does video analysis at least twice a week with the players and is able to select and share clips of the opponents he wants to focus on, such as how they bring the ball out of defence, where they recover and lose the ball, and how they fare in 1v1 situations. Everything is personalized, with specific clips shared with players individually.

It has also helped save the club time and money: “Before Wyscout, we had to go out and look for footage from various sources and make our own compilations. It was very difficult,” Repossi explains. “With the Wyscout platform, in just a few clicks, it gives you all the options; you can look for profiles, and they appear. It’s essential.”

Racing de Córdoba put a strong focus on player development and have started to see the rewards that technology can bring.

“A coach can tell you one thing on the pitch, but it’s different if you can see it yourself,” says Repossi. “This is the strength of Wyscout; it helps you make better decisions”

“Perhaps they are looking at what is in front of them, but maybe there was a better passing option available. The video helps them to learn. The next time they are faced with this situation, they can come up with a better decision.”

Repossi is aware that their analysis project requires patience, and there are other factors besides raw data that contribute towards success:

“The evolution of the data department is a mid-to-long-term plan. It requires training and education of coaches and players in order to learn how to best use and get the most out of the available data.”

“You need to strike the balance without being over-reliant on the numbers. There are lots of factors that go into a player’s performance, so we need to reconcile the human element too.”

This consideration of the human element links to a key facet of their unique identity: their strong ties to the local neighborhood.

“For us, it’s fundamental,” Repossi states. “It’s a club that feels the neighborhood in its soul. And the fans live and breathe for that same neighborhood.

“There is a feeling of belonging. When you understand the values, the people who work here… It’s inevitable that you end up falling in love with the club.”

Racing were one of the first clubs in the country to have an affiliated school, teaching physical education and offering other sports and social activities to youngsters. Within walking distance of the Estadio Miguel Sancho, it creates a close connection, where kids can see and interact with the players up close, creating a fierce loyalty. 

“They come out of school, and they see their idols,” says Repossi. “That’s what it’s all about.” 

This loyalty and bond is personified by their fans, with attendance regularly reaching 15,000 in their stadium. “It’s really notable that, even when the club was in the fourth division, the fans were always there. When it’s the time to be there, they’re there.”

Having everyone singing from the same hymn sheet - within the club as well as in the stands - is crucial to Racing’s evolution and future success.

“I don’t think you can speak about modern football without the use of technology.”

“Our objective is to keep building on and improving the department and the use of data within the club, but it’s a step-by-step process,” says Repossi. “As well as being more efficient at the moment of signing players, in terms of footballing objectives, qualifying for the Copa Argentina is one, as is the possibility of getting promoted.”

“The more we can professionalize and unify all the data - from the coaching staff through to every element of the club - the more we can speak the same language and be on the same page. It goes without saying that we have the capability to play in the top flight.”

“If we continue on the path we have already set and we keep doing things right, one day, we will get there.”

Learn more about how Wyscout and the Wyscout Scouting Area is powering modern football scouting processes.