Does soccer analytics work?

(Alternate title: “Do football analytics work?”) This is a question that I like to ask – I don’t find it insulting, dismissive, or silly. To answer it, first we have to define analytics, and then we can talk about whether it might be any good. So let’s start with the basics. There’s a hierarchy in the way we use numbers in soccer, or really any field: We can count things: “Joe Fullback made 32 tackles last season.” Or we can do some simple arithmetic: “Joe Fullback made 1.5 tackles per game last season.” And we can try to add some context: “Joe…
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Diversity in analytics

For the past several months, I’ve been thinking hard about how to correct the diversity deficit in English-speaking soccer analytics. This is overwhelmingly a white male field, and – to my eye at least – poorer for it. Can a white man do anything to improve matters? There is some irony to this problem, as diversity in disciplines is actually one of the great assets of soccer analytics. Climate scientists, evolutionary biologists, computer scientists, marketing experts, and hobbyists with any day job you can imagine have all brought their unique abilities to the field. They’ve also imported ideas from many…
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