It’s official. The Colorado Rapids have taken the ‘interim’ tags off of the top two club officials, naming Pádraig Smith Executive Vice President and General Manager, and naming Wayne Brant Senior Vice President of Business Operations.
Pádraig (pronounced ‘Porrick’) joined the Rapids at the end of 2014 as the club’s Sporting Director. He came with background of working in Europe for FIFA in finance and statistical analysis, and brought to the Rapids a fresh vision of how the club could use statistics and data to identify key players and smarter, more efficient ways to build a team tailored to the wants and needs of the technical staff.
To read more about the analytical wizardry that Smith works, check out this Burgundy Wave interview with Pádraig from our voluminous archive.
Wayne Brant, who until now had the title of ‘Interim Senior Vice President of Business Operations’, essentially takes over the role previously held by Rapids President Tim Hinchey. Brant joined the Rapids in 2007, working his way up through a variety of roles that include Director of Marketing and Senior Director of Fan Development. Brant was principally involved in the search and interview process for Colorado’s new head coach, Anthony Hudson.
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, Matt Hutchings said that “for both Pádraig and Wayne, these are well-deserved promotions. They have managed this transition period very well, and given their combined knowledge and experience, we look forward to watching them guide this club to success both on and off the field.”
The Rapids also announced the addition of a new statistics guru of sorts, as Fran Taylor was named Assistant General Manager. In a statement, the Rapids said that Taylor “will report to Executive Vice President & General Manager Pádraig Smith and will assist in all soccer-related functions, including oversight of the club’s data and analytics program.” Taylor spent the last eight years as VP of Analytics Application at StatDNA, a sport-centric software development and analytics company that was acquired by Arsenal Football Group in 2013.
The hiring seems to be a clear indication that the club will continue to expand their data-driven efforts in decision making. The team would like to use statistics and analytics to make the best use of its salary and transfer dollars and its international acquisitions, as well as the other various complex mechanisms for evaluating and bringing in the best possible soccer players for the club. This emphasis on metrics in building out is part of the slow change of the club in the direction of a 21st century methodology for football management.
There is no doubt that this culture shift towards the regular use of measurable data in making decisions is due to the influence of Pádraig Smith. It will be most interesting to see how, and when, the use of line graphs and spreadsheets translates to a rise in the league table for the Colorado Rapids.