While we have seen advanced stats revolutionize baseball and basketball, soccer has not been as quick to get on the analytical bandwagon. At the end of July, Bruce Arena, the godfather of American soccer even dropped this dropped bomb:
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) July 24, 2016
I do agree with Bruce that soccer is harder to quantify than baseball or baseball, but his argument is a false cause. The problem is not using stats to analyze player performance, it is that the traditional soccer stats that people use are broken and not useful. Looking traditional stats like number of shots is not an example of using analytics.
The purpose of advanced stats is to create stats that can better quantify player performance than traditional stats. Traditionally in basketball, Field Goal percentage (FG%) was the measure of whether or not you were a good scorer. However, FG% does not account for the fact that a three-point shot is worth more than a two-point and that players can be fouled while shooting. This lead to development of True Shooting Percentage (TS%), which adjusts for both three-point shots and free throws to create a more accurate stat to analyze shooting efficiency. We can do the same thing for traditional soccer stats. (more…)