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Creating a New Sport

It is fun to speculate what it would be like to create the next dominant professional sport or breakout statistic. What if you were a modern day Abner Doubleday? What if you were Dr. James Naismith? What if you were sitting at the Rutgers game against Princeton and witnessing what we have come to know as football for the first time?

One of my main areas of interest is sports statistics. Therefore, this piece will seek to answer the question: what are some of the new statistical inventions or innovations that need to be infused into professional sports?

If I had to just pick one thing, it would be advanced football (soccer) statistics. A cutting-edge statistic is needed for three reasons. First, soccer is the only major sport without a tell-all statistic. Baseball, football and even basketball all have a major Sabermetric statistic. Second, soccer would be uncomplicated to understand and assess with a meaningful statistic. In baseball, announcers frequently mention WAR (wins against replacement) when talking about a fledging player. What is the equivalent in soccer? Unfortunately, there isn’t one.

Currently, the most relevant statistic for soccer is goals scored. I purpose a new statistic, Goals Above Replacement (GAR). This statistic would show how each player’s behavior elevated or decreased their teams chance of scoring a goal. Conversely, it also would show how each players actions reduce/increased the other team’s chances of scoring. When I watch soccer on T.V, I often hear, “Rooney has chalked up three goals, while Mata has only scored 1”. The problem with this is we do not know what caused these goals. Mata could have split the defense with a stopover and scored an upper-90 goal. Rooney could have scored three tap-ins. You wouldn’t know. Hopefully, one day Gary Nevile will say, “Mata’s GAR is 2.58, while Rooney’s is only 0.81.”

In conclusion, revealing statistics help fans understand what is happening on the pitch and desperately needed. I have made my case for one possibility. What might one of the early era groundbreakers like a Doubleday or Naismith say? More notably, what do you think?

-Powers Trigg

Posted in Soccer Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
8 comments on “Creating a New Sport
  1. WGT says:

    SOCCER!!!!! Tim Howard is great. He probably could score from the goal. In fact, he has done it. G-Turbo in the house…

  2. DT says:

    Well done. I felt like I was reading Soccer-nomics. Soccer is a critical juncture in the US market. They need to keep building soccer-specific stadiums, having the best fan experience. Advanced statistics would also help…

  3. GAR-DED YES says:

    I give this one a GAR-ded yes of approval. I like it. Let’s send something to the MLS Commissioner and see what we can get done!

  4. Football Fan says:

    I continue to think that it is an apostasy to publish soccer articles on a site targeted at Americans during football season. What about some new metrics for American football? Now, I like that piece, particularly if it helps inform my approach to my fantasy league.

    • phtrigg says:

      This site is a sports blog for kids. More kids play Soccer than any other sport in the USA except Basketball. Five million Kids play soccer, more than three times the kids that play football. We realize that many kids who play soccer don’t follow it closely, but we will still keep posting soccer article s. Source on the Numbers: http://www.aspenprojectplay.org/the-facts

  5. KC Kid says:

    Why is there a bunch of writing about soccer on this site during the heart of NFL season? I thought that my latest concussion must be acting up on me and I was hallucinating. Let’s see some NFL posts. I want to talk Fantasy Football. My team is reeling with the loss of Charles for the season.

  6. Big Dawg says:

    I love this post. Soccer needs new statistics. Your idea is a good one. Bill James would be proud…

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