Nashville SC

Pitch Points is on the edge of statistical innovation

Welcome to Pitch Points, wherein I run down some links of interest in the world of Nashville SC, US Soccer, and more. As always, feel free to share with a friend, and if you come across a story you think would be a good fit for one of these pieces, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Adding goals. Surely if you’re interested in advanced soccer stats, you’re not finding out about the latest American Soccer Analysis project at club country u s a dot com, but if you’re more on the NAshville SC side of things with a passing interest in stats, Goals Added is the next wave in advanced metrics derived from event data.

The elevator pitch:

Ever since we founded American Soccer Analysis in 2013, I’ve hoped to construct a metric that credits players for actions all over the field, not just for goals and assists. I’ve always wanted something that could be used to ascribe values to players in a currency all soccer fans could understand.

Some of the “why,” and friend-of-the-blogn Eliot McKinley’s beautiful graphics.

There’s a lot more at American Soccer Analysis. If you’re interested, methinks you’ve already headed to their site. Check out the other pieces about g+. If you’re not interested, we’ll be moving along here.

Soccer history. With no games being played, there’s been a bunch of interesting historical content going out on outlets like A history of Project 40, the youth super team in the early days of MLS.

Andrew Wiebe on the all-coaches XI:

There’s only one goalkeeper in the bunch. The decision makes itself. We’re throwing it way back to the mid-1970s, to Nassau Community College, Cornell and, briefly, the Tacoma Tide and US men’s national team. I can’t wait for Arena to start barking orders in his Brooklyn accent. Fact is, you can’t keep sideburns like these out of the team.

Sadly, the Bruce Arena picture he uses is not one of the veteran coach playing lacrosse (which he focused on in college before his soccer talent revealed itself), but alas.

Meanwhile, will we ever play again? Don Garber is growing more optimistic. Obviously with teams returning to training protocols – still a long way away from games, or even from full-team training – we’re getting closer.

Read Mike Jacobs and Dax McCarty‘s initial comments, and McCarty’s along with Jalil Anibaba from NSC’s return to its facility on an individual basis.

Guppy profiled. A brief career rundown of Nashville SC wingers coach Steve Guppy, focusing on his lone senior national team cap.

…in a game which also heralded the England debut of Frank Lampard, he played the whole ninety minutes at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland as England emerged 2-1 winners over Belgium. Guppy earned high praise for his performance from England manager, Kevin Keegan, who declared that the Leicester midfielder was “a little bit like a left-sided David Beckham”. Whilst Guppy was a decent crosser of the ball I think it’s fair to say that Keegan was indulging in a bit of misplaced hyperbole which becomes apparent when you consider that he was never picked for his country again.

I don’t know why I find Guppy fascinating enough to be in essentially every Pitch Points piece, but apparently I do. That, or there’s just a lot written about him so I toss it in.

Your audio content. The MLS Players Association official podcast, hosted by former player Bobby Boswell, recently had Walker Zimmerman on as a guest. Pretty good conversation, both with things that are interesting as well as some that we’ve heard plenty of by now (his reaction to being traded is old hat).

As is the case with BSI The Podcast, players tend to open up to their current/former compatriots a bit more than in a traditional media setting, so you get a bit more personal stuff in.

Also in audio, Friend of the Blog Kean Barclay* has begun a pod of his own, called Down the Tunnel. The Director of Coaching for Clarksville Soccer Club, he’s got friends throughout the world of soccer, and particularly in the coaching scene. In my opinion, his most interesting episode yet was with assistants from New Mexico and Cincinnati, a pair of men’s programs that were recently shuttered.

Obviously, that’s bound to touch on the subject matter of this very blog (at least in the sense that the scope here is bigger than just Nashville SC or Nashville in total), and it does exactly that. Highly recommended listen on the future of youth and college soccer, as well as more broad discussion of the future of development in our country.

* Sometimes when I use this term it’s sarcastic or exaggerated for effect; in the name of full disclosure, Kean is a friend and fellow Nashville Hammer.

Etc.: Using machine learning to train xG models, and how data recency can affect the accuracy thereof. Also: are there xG differences between top leagues? … Update on St. Louis’s expansion project. … Beau Dure on the WNT lawsuit. … Soccer America on the difficulty of debuting a new MLS stadium in the next couple years thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. … A Joe Willis shout in a Houston Dynamo five-a-side draft. Quarantine content!

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