Soccermetrics graphic with data by DataFactory LA.
Soccermetrics graphic with data by DataFactory LA.

Moneyball 2.0 – Soccer Edition

Credit: Soccermetrics, with data by DataFactory LA.

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About This Episode

What is a goal worth? Can you assign a value to each pass of the ball? On this episode of Playing with Science we look at the ever-growing presence of big-data in the global world of soccer. Hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly, a former British footballer, sit down with two leading experts in the field of data analytics: Dan Altman, founder of North Yard Analytics and Howard Hamilton, founder and CEO of Soccermetrics. 

Learn more about the rise of data analytics in soccer and when it started to gain traction. We explore the typical metrics used when measuring data. Find out the difference between “match data” and “tracking data” as well as “mechanistic” modeling and “agnostic” modeling. Discover how data trackers can quantify the unquantifiable intangibles of players. You’ll learn how coaches implement the data that’s being provided to them by Dan and Howard. We look at the case-study of Wayne Rooney, England’s all-time leading striker, and how data analytics helped DC United evaluate if he would be a beneficial signing. 

You’ll learn if the attributes of winning can express themselves in numeric value. Find out how computer modeling tries to get rid of biases when implementing data and how the modeling is meant to work alongside coaches on the sidelines. Discover more about how big data analytics can be used in the front office. Explore passing networks and “eigenvector centrality.” You’ll hear how big data can impact sports betting and how certain clubs are already being run with some analytics in the decision making. Investigate how agents and individual players can take advantage of the ever-growing world of data-driven statistics. We also discuss whether or not France was the best team at the World Cup from an analytics standpoint, even though they won, Howard tells us why this year’s World Cup was inconsistent, making it great to watch for fans. We also explore if referees can make a difference in effective playing time. All that, plus we peer into the future of big data in the world of soccer. 

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Moneyball 2.0 – Soccer Edition.

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