The black, half tank top that many players wear under their jersey is a high-tech GPS tracker that is designed to chart the player’s movement while they practice or compete. Many of these GPS tracking vests also collect other data, including heart rate and body temperature. They resemble sports bras and are made to fit as seamlessly under a jersey as possible. Over the course of the last couple of seasons, they’ve become widespread in many professional leagues, especially in La Liga and the English Premier League. Often worn during practice, as the designs become lighter, they are being worn more and more during matches.

The Latest in Sports Technology

Licensed soccer jerseys are big business, and many customers ask, “what do soccer players wear under their jersey?” At first glance, you might think these tight half vests are made to support an upper-body injury, similar to how KT tape works. You might also assume that they prevent chafing or add some layer of comfort. But alas, they are just functionless clothing that houses a group of sensors. Pretty much every player in a major pro league has worn one, at least during practice. You don’t see too many of them under goalkeeper jerseys (perhaps because they don’t often leave the goal area), but they are becoming more common with keepers too.

A Data-Driven Future

GPS trackers can carry a number of sensors that track much more than speed and location. They can measure acceleration and deceleration, and help gauge a player’s agility. This is particularly helpful when you’re monitoring recovery from an injury. Dynamic stress load, or DSL, is a measurement of the accumulated G-forces experienced by a player during a workout session or game. This data can be used to manage workload and keeps players healthy throughout a season. When combined with location data, you can map out an entire match or session’s worth of action, identify moments of peak performance, and areas that you need to work on in practice. By making data-driven decisions, players can improve their individual performance, and coaches can guide teammates on how to cover more ground together.

Helping Athletes & Clubs Reach Their Potential

Premium soccer apparel and gear help you perform; it’s true of everything from the socks you wear to cutting-edge electronics like GPS vests. You might think that the latest technology is only for the pros, but several companies offer GPS smart vests at a variety of price points, making them an attractive option for players of all levels. Whether you’re rehabbing an injury, trying to manage workload over a long season, looking for metrics to help you rate your speed, stamina, and agility against the pros, or trying to figure out how to get your team to work together more effectively, data from a GPS tracking vest may be able to help.

 

Unfortunately, there’s no substitute for good old fashioned conditioning drills.