Oliver Gage began his career as a Volunteer Assistant for the Performance Analyst at Sheffield Wednesday, currently in the second tier of English football - the Championship.
After finishing the season with Sheffield Wednesday, Oli took on the role as Operations Assistant at the University of Virginia men’s soccer program. Putting his analytics to good work, Oli contributed over an 18 month period culminating in an NCAA Division I National Championship in 2014. In May 2015, Oli took on the role as Performance Analyst with Houston Dynamo.
Performance Analyst - Houston Dynamo
Sheffield United FC.
ONE WORD THAT DESCRIBES HOW YOU WORK
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL GAMEDAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
I usually get to the stadium around 3 hours before kick off. Sometimes players will want to see last minute video of opponents so I may spend some time doing that with them. I’ll spend time setting up ready to code the game live so the coaching staff and players can see events at half time. Any other time is spent buzzing around the changing room and keeping myself busy before kick off. It’s probably my favourite few hours of the week!
Post-game, the head coach will usually want to see major events in the match before he speaks to the media so I’ll go through them with him before beginning my post-game analysis ready to present to the coaching staff and team the following day.
HOW DO YOU DELIVER YOUR ANALYSIS/FEEDBACK?
I use a combination of objective statistical reports alongside a subjective video.
WHAT APPS, TOOLS OR SOFTWARE CAN’T YOU LIVE WITHOUT AND WHY?
For work I use Sportscode Elite, Prozone and OPTA as my big three. Other tools include Wyscout or Instat. Other than software, the most valuable thing to me at work is my Twitter account. There’s a great community of analysts online who share ideas, thoughts and generally try to improve my side of the game. I can honestly say I don’t think I would be where I am now without my Twitter account. Writing my blog and promoting it through Twitter was key to getting recognition from MLS clubs.
WHAT’S YOUR BEST TIME SAVING SHORTCUT OR LIFE HACK?
Every time I read a good article online I copy and paste it and save it in a folder as a .pdf file. I now have about 1,000 articles in a library on my computer so I can refer to them whenever I’m stuck on a subject.
BESIDES YOUR PHONE AND COMPUTER, WHAT GADGET CAN’T YOU LIVE WITHOUT AND WHY?
I’m pretty boring to be honest. I don’t own and never have owned an iPod or iPad, I rarely listen to music unless I’m running (which is on my phone). The only other gadget I have is a Fitbit and I’ve only had it for a week!
WHAT EVERYDAY THING ARE YOU BETTER AT THAN EVERYONE ELSE?
It’s not an everyday thing for some people, or even me anymore, but you won’t be better than me at Football Manager. I never played FIFA or PES growing up and I’m rubbish at them. I much preferred the detail oriented and tactical side of things that Football Manager could offer. I usually go with Sheffield United, because I support them or Aston Villa.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I don’t read as much as I would like to other than blogs and articles from analysts. Almost all my free time when I could read is spend watching games, if I spend a couple of hours reading, I often feel guilty and nervous that I’ve missed something or there’s a game or a player I could have watched instead. I most recently read Grant Wahl’s ‘The Beckham Experiment’ which was recommended to me as a good way of getting to know the history of MLS and the story behind it’s growth. I definitely won’t read fiction and would rather choose a sports autobiography where I can learn something. One day I hope I can learn to switch off a little more!
FILL IN THE BLANK: I’D LOVE TO SEE ____________ ANSWER THESE SAME QUESTIONS.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
When I do try to switch off I listen to a famous philosopher named Alan Watts. One of his talks named ‘What If Money Were No Object’ always helps me.