Sunday, November 23, 2008

"How to Score" -- a soccer sabermetrics book

When I was in London a few months ago, I stumbled across an interesting soccer sabermetrics book. It's called "How to Score," by Ken Bray, and was originally published in 2006.

Actually, the book is only partly sabermetrics – most of it seems to be physics and strategy. But there's a substantial amount of sabermetric analysis in it. I'm about halfway through, so I haven't hit the meat yet, but here are a few things I learned from the introduction:

-- only 20 percent of goals scored result after four or more passes in the attacking zone (far third of the field).

-- 60 percent of goals result when the scoring team gained possession in the offensive zone (as opposed to bringing the ball in from outside without the defensive team intervening with a touch).

-- in the professional game, approximately one goal results from every ten shots.

-- in a 90-minute game, a midfielder runs about 6 miles.

I'll post more, and perhaps give a full review, as I finish reading.



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