Football Analytics: An Informal Education

Football Analytics: An Informal Education

In the United States, “sports analytics” is no longer the taboo subject it used to be. The days of scoffing at spreadsheets while favoring the raw and undefined “tools” of the prospect have finally disappeared over the horizon. “Sabermetrics” in baseball and “APBRmetrics” in basketball have transformed their respective sports. Scouts no longer judge players solely on how fast they look or whether they have the infamously undefinable “it” factor. Instead, they can quantify the players' potential through analytics.

How efficient was that left-fielder's path to the fly ball? 74% or 92%. Such seemingly insignificant disparities could be the reason a player is called up Majors or is discarded to Minor League purgatory.

Football or Soccer, however, has been slow to embrace the push for analytics. Though some clubs have adopted them into their scouting networks, many clubs are wary of changing their system. For a sport with hundreds of professional leagues throughout the world, the potential database for a football-based prediction system is tremendous. With games like Football Manager producing frighteningly accurate predictions of future Ballon d’Or winners, the hesitation from many boards to alter their boardroom habits baffles many analytics enthusiasts

Read More