Major League Soccer (MLS) and London-based technology company ai.io today announced a partnership that will help provide all soccer players with the opportunity to be scouted by MLS for free without having to travel. This innovative new program leverages the latest in computer vision and AI to enable any player to use ai.io’s breakthrough product, aiScout, to easily participate in a virtual trial program.
Available in December 2023, clubs across MLS, MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT will have access to aiScout and aiLabs, and starting in January 2024 aiScout will provide the opportunity for players across the globe to be scouted by MLS for free. The latest computer vision and ai.io technology eliminates barriers like cost, geography and time commitment that traditionally limit the accessibility of talent discovery programs.
“At MLS, we believe this partnership is going to be a real solution for some of the most important issues faced in Soccer across North America namely, cost, geography, and accessibility,” said Fred Lipka, Technical Director, MLS NEXT. “It is critical that we provide all players with an opportunity to access MLS NEXT and MLS NEXT Pro programming, and ai.io has built a fantastic technology platform that enables us to eliminate these traditional barriers and increase opportunities for players at no cost to the player.”
Through ai.io’s proprietary technology, aiScout, players can download the app and complete a series of assessments and drills in any backyard, field, or open space via their mobile phone. The app will analyze players’ ability and through a fully connected platform, MLS will be able to evaluate players via data generated. Players who score highly will be offered a chance to train with MLS at events around the United States and Canada.
ai.io’s core platforms include:
- aiScout: A talent analysis and development platform that will provide MLS and MLS clubs the opportunity to reach, engage, analyze, rate, score, trial, develop and scout amateur players from around the world who have access to a mobile phone. The platform consists of a player app, scout app and recruitment control center.
- aiLabs: Multi-use elite performance labs that house state-of-the-art technology and gold standard equipment that provides professional and amateur players and club staff real time physical and cognitive analysis, usable insights and outcomes and connected data.
“By encouraging aspirational players and fans to download our aiScout app and film themselves replicating club standard drills on their mobile devices, players have had success, and in some cases are now playing for clubs in the English Premier League,“ said Darren Peries, CEO, ai.io. “We are thrilled about this partnership with Major League Soccer, and greatly look forward to soon providing players around the world with an opportunity to be seen, analyzed, evaluated and developed by MLS clubs.”
This new partnership is part of MLS’ Emerging Ventures program, and continues the League’s significant investment in MLS NEXT to better serve the sport and network of MLS NEXT member clubs. By increasing opportunities and minimizing costs, more players will have the ability to reach their full potential by participating in the highest quality soccer training programs in the U.S. and Canada.