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Whether it’s investing in the latest training equipment and developing new techniques or allocating millions of dollars to the latest tech gadgets that provide insight into each individual player’s performance, soccer teams have been doing whatever is in their power to stay at the top of the game for decades. One of those innovations is the soccer vest.
Soccer vests, commonly referred to as soccer bras, are a piece of garment that holds a GPS device. This device serves the purpose of recording the data on the player’s movement. By obtaining this data, the soccer coaching staff is able to determine the amount of strain that players are under. Soccer bras are used by both male and female soccer players, in matches as well as in practice sessions.
At the rate that the technology has been advancing, it was only a matter of time before soccer teams realized their potential and introduced these tracking devices into the sport. In this article, we will learn more about soccer bras and their function, as well as look at some of the most popular models on the market that both professional and amateur players can utilize to improve their game. Read on to find out more:
What do soccer players wear under their shirts?
Those of us who watch soccer regularly couldn’t help but notice the new trend that showed up a few years ago. As soon as a player takes their jersey off in celebration or to exchange it with an opponent after a game, a black bra-looking undergarment strikes the eye. What is this thing that soccer players wear under their shirts?
At first glance, the thing they’re wearing looks like an item that is meant to support the player’s upper body, just like KT tape. After further inspection, it might seem like something that has to do with the players’ comfort. However, it’s none of those things:
Believe it or not, the thing that soccer players wear under their shirts is a soccer bra, or soccer vest, and it has nothing to do with breast support. This piece of garment is worn by male and female soccer players around the world and it holds an essential piece of equipment. A sports vest houses a myriad of sensors that record and send the data on every wearer’s movement. In their more advanced forms, these soccer vests also record the data on the player’s heart rate, body temperature, as well as other vital functions.
While in a match, the sensors are housed in the soccer bra, or vest, and covered by a jersey in order to comply with the official FIFA rules. In a training session, however, players most commonly choose to wear this piece of equipment over their shirts.
After explaining what are soccer players wearing under their jerseys, one question arises: What is the purpose of recording all of this data? Read through the next chapter to find the answer to this burning question:
Why do male soccer players wear bras?
Male soccer players wear bras because they have nowhere else to store the GPS devices and other sensors that their teams require them to wear. Hidden under the jersey, the soccer vest is the perfect spot for these sensors, as it stays hidden and doesn’t impair the players’ ability to perform during the game.
Devices stored in these bras are there to collect information that can be used in either in real-time or after the wearing to improve both individual player’s as well as the entire team’s performance. As we’ve already mentioned, these soccer vests are used in practices as well as in games.
When worn during practice, GPS devices are most commonly strapped outside of the shirts. In training sessions, these devices collect the data and send it to the coaching staff where they can determine how far each player can be pushed in order to lower the risk of injury to a minimum. Based on all of the data collected during the first few sessions, players can receive training programs tailor-made for them.
In the past, coaching individual players involved a ton of guesswork and was based on trial and error. Basically, coaches used to alter the individual players’ training once they’ve noticed that they needed to, which is usually too late. With players wearing sports bras with sensors, the guessing is eliminated from the equation; based on all of the metrics recorded through no more than several practice sessions, coaches can see which part of the play each player needs to work on.
During games, the device, as well as the soccer vest, remains hidden under the player’s jersey. The benefits still remain the same. Coaches know which players are tired and potentially on the brink of an injury, and they can substitute them when needed. After the game, both coaching staff and players can use the data gathered to analyze the game and work out a plan on how to improve for the next time around.
GPS trackers stored within soccer vests are a great investment in player development. Those who have additional sensors, such as heart rate and body temperature monitors, are definitely worth spending on. Soccer teams around the world have recognized their value and there are basically no major teams that don’t use this technology, especially in practices. Once you have each player’s movement, average speed, distance covered, and numerous other statistics at your disposal, determining what to work on with each player becomes an incomparably easier task than it was just a few years ago when there were no such devices available.
Data on players’ movement also allows coaches and players themselves to analyze their movement more objectively, both in training and in games. With this and everything mentioned previously, soccer vests are, undeniably, an excellent asset in every player and coach’s arsenal. The best part is, you don’t even need to be a professional player to use one. Even amateurs can use soccer bras to analyze and improve their game in real-time.
Best soccer vests (bra) with GPS
With all of the technical details out of the way, we are only left with one thing; choosing the right soccer vest for you. Through rigorous research and testing, we’ve discovered what the three best products on the market are. The only thing left to do is explain their functions and abilities:
1. STATSports APEX Athlete Series – The Best Advanced Soccer Bra with GPS on the Market
Available on Amazon, STATSports Apex is a soccer vest, or a bra if you will, that provides accurate, real-time information about the person wearing the device. Designed for professional athletes, this device is able to track the wearer’s max speed, total distance covered, their number of sprints, average pace, as well as display a heat map that shows their positioning throughout each session.
If this isn’t enough, STATSports Apex also has a live tracking function, as well as a heart rate monitor. Even though it’s intended for professional use, this device is easy to use and provides useful information that even amateurs soccer players can use to their advantage. The device is easily connected to your phone through the app, and there you can compare your stats with your friends, as well as some of the top soccer players on the planet using the app’s leaderboard function.
Here are some of this device’s key functions and advantages:
- Live Tracking
With its Live Tracking function, STATSports Apex stands above all competition. This technology brings special insight; the coaching staff is able to follow each player’s parameters closely during practice or during the game. This enables them to alter their playstyle mid-game, improving the whole team’s performance. It can also be a feature that soccer parents can utilize to improve the play of young soccer beginners.
- Heart Rate Tracking
STATSports Apex is also able to analyze the user’s data gathered through a separate monitor that, unfortunately, doesn’t come with the device. This feature, however, might be worth investing in, as it can show the flaws in cardio practice instantly.
- Pro Rating Comparison
Users can choose from a wide range of professional soccer players’ data and compare their own stats against the top players of the world. This includes Premier League soccer players, as well as female Champions League players, showing that the device is created with both genders in mind.
- Personal Bests
If you want to see the improvements you’re making in your game as soon as they happen, there’s no better way to do so then use STATSports Apex. This device keeps track of your best scores in the top five key metrics which you can share with teammates, coaches, and friends. This is what helps players to stay motivated on their path of improvement, as well as with staying competitive.
- Multi-Session Battery
One of the commonly disregarded features among those searching for a new soccer vest is the battery life. With STATSports Apex, worrying about the battery running out is something you won’t have on your mind, as a single charge can hold for more than six hours.
STATSports Apex is recommended for serious soccer players Whether they’re professional or amateur shouldn’t be an issue, as long as they take their personal improvement seriously. This is confirmed by the list of clients that this product has. The list includes teams such as Manchester United, Liverpool FC, Arsenal, as well as the US Soccer Federation.
2. CATAPULT PLAYR Soccer GPS Tracker – The Best Soccer Bra with GPS and Basic Functions
For those who don’t need all of what the previous model offers and want to save some money, Amazon has Catapult Playr soccer GPS tracker available. This device is very light, at just 628 grams, it provides some excellent data points for player monitoring and improvement, and it’s also approved by FIFA for professional use. However, there are some setbacks that come with the lower price: The Catapult Playr doesn’t offer the options such as live tracking and heart rate monitoring that come with the previous model on this list. To compensate for the lack of these features, the Catapult Playr offers the following:
- Built with comfort in mind
The device is made with both female and male soccer players in mind, and it is designed to be light and comfortable to wear for both genders. The build quality ensures that Catapult Playr lives through the toughest conditions such as high temperature and humidity. The device is also waterproof, so it can be worn on top of the jersey even when it’s raining during practice.
- Stand-alone GPS pod and a long-lasting battery
The actual device is situated on the back of the soccer vest, right between the player’s shoulder blades. There’s a lithium-ion battery that takes up most of the space and can last for five hours on a single charge. Once placed on the vest, the GPS pod turns on automatically, so the user doesn’t have to worry about turning it on. With Catapult Playr, you don’t need a phone or a tablet to store the data, as this device is standalone.
- Numerous metrics
Once the training session or the game is finished, users can transfer the data from the device to their phone, computer, or tablet and analyze it using the official app. Catapult Playr records data on the total distance covered, top speed, sprint distance, power plays, load and intensity metrics, as well as a GPS positional heat map.
- Insight and Advice
Together with the raw statistics and numbers, Catapult Playr provides the users with insights, advice, and tips from professional coaches on how to improve their play. With use and time, the insight obtained becomes more specific and focused on the lacking parts of the user’s game, which is one of the best features of this device.
As proof of its effectiveness, the manufacturer provided us with the information that after 3 months of use the average user notices the following improvements:
- 26% improvement in sprint distance
- 11.6% improvement in total distance traveled
- 3.5% improvement in top speed
- 25% improvement in power plays
Catapult Playr is an excellent GPS soccer vest that can help both amateur and professional players improve their game and make their practice sessions more effective. It is an excellent choice for soccer players who don’t need advanced functions such as Live Tracking that come with the previously listed model.
3. First11 Soccer Tracker – The Best Soccer Bra with GPS for Amateurs
If both of the previously listed options are out of your price range or too advanced for you, Amazon has the First11 Soccer Tracker listed as the third-best thing in this category. During our tests, we discovered that this is the best option for those who are less serious about their soccer skills, yet aim to improve them.
This device uses multiple sensors to keep track of kicks, movement, speed, calories, strength, and other parameters during practice and games. Here are some of its key features:
- Dual Sensor System
When you order the First11 tracker, you’ll receive two separate devices. In order to provide the maximum amount of data, both sensors need to be worn. Unfortunately, the devices will arrive without a vest. This is the reason why amateur players commonly choose to wear them strapped to their legs using the provided elastic bands. Semi-professional and professional players can use the device in the same way, if their league’s rules allow it.
- User-Friendly App
Another major feature of this model is the app that is used for the actual analyses of the recorded data. There’s no live tracking option, so the data will need to be transferred after the session is completed. The First11 soccer tracker comes with a wireless data transfer option, up to 10’. The app enables users to track their performance over time, as well as create and join events with other users around the world.
- Long-Lasting Data Capture
At this price point, users can’t expect a device that can record for five or more hours. First11 soccer tracker is able to record data for up to 150 minutes, which is more than enough to cover an entire game.
First11 Soccer Tracker is an excellent product, but it’s far from the first two listed, both in terms of function and quality. We find this device to be suitable for kids over the age of 12, as well as amateur and semi-pro soccer players who want to improve their skills but can’t afford the top of the range products.
Soccer bras, or vests, are an excellent way to utilize technology in your advancement in soccer. With dozens of constantly monitored aspects, the sensors placed in them keep track of every movement and allow us to analyze and improve our game. As evidenced by superstars such as Messi, Ronaldo, and Ibrahimovic, there’s always something that these trackers find about our weak spots that can’t be discovered otherwise. If you’re seriously into soccer, invest in one of the three listed options without hesitation.