Soccer Analytics 2021 Review

The soccer analytics community is growing year after year. The potential of soccer data is not only catching the attention of researchers and amateur analysts but is also attracting more and more interest from soccer clubs. While the increased availability of freely available data and tools as well as the global pandemic led to an explosion of soccer analytics content in 2020, soccer clubs have arguably made a record-number of signings for data-related roles in 2021. Nevertheless, a significant number of high-quality blog posts and research papers has appeared in the past year. Like last year, this blog post provides an overview of the content that I liked the most!

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De zin en onzin van Expected Goals

De geavanceerde statistiek Expected Goals duikt steeds vaker op in de traditionele voetbalmedia. Zo gebruikte de IJslandse bondscoach Arnar Vidarsson de statistiek onlangs in Villa Sporza, het EK-praatprogramma op Eén, om de prestaties van de Rode Duivels tegen Denemarken te duiden. Hoewel de statistiek reeds een achttal jaar geleden zijn intrede deed, werpt het gebruik ervan nog regelmatig vragen op. Deze bijdrage gaat dieper in op de zin en onzin van Expected Goals bij het analyseren van voetbalwedstrijden.

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Soccer Analytics 2020 Review

The increased availability of free data, tutorials and tools has led to an explosion of interest in soccer analytics. The number of research papers, blog posts, webinars, podcasts and events has spiked in 2020. Access to granular data has been a privilege for data analysts and data scientists within clubs and companies until recently, but that situation is fortunately slowly changing. The release of several match event and tracking datasets has enabled more academics and amateur analysts to develop their own metrics and to perform more profound analysis. This blog post provides an overview of the content that I liked the most!

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When Will the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference Truly Embrace Soccer?

Will soccer ever embrace the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference?

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending my fourth consecutive MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. This year I experienced the conference from a slightly different perspective though. After three earlier failed attempts, I finally managed to get a paper to the conference phase of the research-papers competition and secure a poster presentation at the conference together with my SciSports colleague Lotte Bransen and KU Leuven collaborators Pieter Robberechts and Jesse Davis. Nevertheless, I arrived home with mixed feelings for the first time since the 2016 edition although I had enjoyed every second of my stay in Boston. Rather than full of energy and new ideas as I had gotten used to after the three earlier editions, I was left wondering what I had learned from this year’s edition. More than ever before, I was stuck with the feeling that the soccer analytics community had in fact made only little progress since last year’s conference.

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