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Sport Science: Vini Jr.

Fresh off of our Aaron Donald feature, ESPN asked us to tackle the other kind of football for our next Sport Science. Specifically, we broke down the rise of Real Madrid superstar Vini Jr., and looked at just what makes his game so special.

Like America, Vini Jr.’s game is all about speed – hot, nasty, bad-ass speed. In this Sport Science, we utilized trackers, spot shadows, and vector graphics to make that skillset more visually apparent. We also relied on comparisons to other sports in order to contextualize Vinicius Jr.’s impressive performance, as the audience might not be as familiar with soccer as they are with other sports. Given his prominence on the global stage, we know that comparing an athlete to Stephen Curry will always make its mark.

While we always find our 3D-model to be the most exciting part of the Sport Science process, the Vini Jr. video was particularly cool because it felt so close to the FIFA games we grew up playing. Displaying the launch angle and trajectory of a cross using the model felt incredibly natural, in part because we’re so familiar with that interface from the games. It can be easy to forget just how impressive these precision crosses are at game speed, so it’s useful to be able to slow them down and illustrate the marginal room-for-error in more detail.

There are world-class athletes pulling off unbelievable feats in every sport. We love getting to expand Sport Science into new territory, and can’t wait to dive into a new sport sometime soon.


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