Ravi Ramineni — long considered one of the top data analysts in MLS — will be leaving the Seattle Sounders, GM and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey announced during the Alliance Annual Business Meeting on Thursday.
It was not immediately clear what Ramineni will be doing next, but it comes less than a year after he had received a title promotion to VP of Soccer Analytics and Research. Ramineni has been with the Sounders since 2012 when he first started helping then High Performance Director Dave Tenney make sense of the fitness data he was already starting to gather. Prior to joining the Sounders, Ramineni had been a data analyst for Microsoft while blogging about soccer.
From there, Ramineni’s role started the expand. When Lagerwey was hired as the GM in 2015, Ramineni started doing less with fitness data and more with statistical analysis. More recently, he’s also taken over salary-cap management and talent identification.
“For any decision, we want to use all the information we have available,” Ramineni told the Sounder at Heart podcast earlier this year. “Some of that will come in the form of a personal interview, some of it in analytics, some from watching video, some from watching in person. We want to get all of that and see how it will fit and how we can use to make as good of an addition as possible.”
The Sounders recently posted an opening for the Head of Soccer Analytics to job site TeamWorkOnline.com, which suggests they have just started their search for Ramineni’s replacement.
Ramineni is just the latest in a growing list of key members of the Sounders front office and coaching staff to leave in the last year. That list includes Chris Henderson, Adam Owen, Djimi Traore and Gonzalo Pineda.
Henderson was ultimately replaced by Craig Waibel and Freddy Juarez was added to Brian Schmetzer’s coaching staff a few months ago, but Owen’s position of High Performance Director remains open and the Sounders are still looking to add another assistant to the coaching staff.
Ramineni may prove to be the hardest person to replace, if only because he was considered by many to be the top data analyst in MLS. His research was a key reason why the Sounders were so focused on signing Nicolas Lodeiro in 2016 and he’s since become an invaluable part of the team’s talent identification apparatus. While almost every team in the league has at least one person crunching numbers, few have gained the kind of trust and respect Ramineni seems to enjoy with the Sounders.