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Microsoft scrambles to become player in new game of sports analytics

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The Seattle Reign’s win early this month was the product of conditioning. And the singular talent of Megan Rapinoe.

The U.S. women’s national soccer team star struck first with a 30-yard sprint that caught a Portland Thorns center back off guard, intercepting a lazy pass for a tap in goal.

In the second half, Rapinoe, who just turned 32, outran a younger defender to get on the end of a long pass and launch a strike from the corner of the penalty box.

The tallies extended her scoring lead in the National Women’s Soccer League, a remarkable feat for a player a year and a half after major knee surgery.

The team in charge of keeping her fit and on the field has a new tool at its disposal: data-tracking software built by Microsoft. The Reign is among the dozen teams piloting Microsoft’s Sports Performance Platform, which officially launched last month.

The software is part analytics display tool, part web-based data repository.

The Reign players take a brief wellness survey daily, rating sleep, soreness and hydration. GPS and heart-rate trackers that they wear during training sessions and games feed in data about how much ground players cover and how hard they’re working.

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