My Son, Melvin – 8 years old, plays soccer every saturday. And guess who his biggest fan is? Yep, that’s me! If you have read a few of my earlier posts on this site, you’ll know my focus is on data and the sense making of it. But you’ll probably also recognized i’m a bit all over the place sometimes.

The reason for that is me ;). And now again, a new initiative. Youth soccer analysis. I’m always looking for data that is close to me and with that trying to figure out how stuff works. So the question for this new private project is: “How do my son and his team play on the pitch?”

So I decided to create my own manual notation system. Handling data in excel after the game by watching the video I recorded. Then capturing all ball attempts and handling of my sons’ team, Veendam 1894 F1. Some will think it is a bit freaky, and you are right! But it’s worth the effort because of the insight I want to get out of this research: “How can soccer analysis be done?”. Adding that I don’t have professional experience doing this.

So in the next few examples I will share some data visualizations and observations with you guys of the recordings and analytics I have been doing. (Captions, titles and labels on the charts are in dutch, 8 year old kids in Holland don’t understand english that good…)

Ball handling on the field – per position:

Here you can see what the total actions are over all games played per position on the field. The yellow square represent the total actions resulting in possession, the red diamond represent the total actions resulting in a loss. These markers are referenced versus the right-handed axis. The bars show the total actions on the pitch.

Productivity and involvement per match game:

This chart shows the productivity and involvement per action of the players during the games. The blue line shows the involvement of players, the yellow line shows the total actions, the red line shows the succesful actions during the game.

Improvement potential per playing theme:

This visual shows what the teams’ potential for improvement is. This is shown for themes from defensive to attacking plays.

Succesful actions and ratios of the different action types:

This chart shows what actions during the game went well and which could be potential material for the training or line-up. This covers action types like: passing, tackles, dribbles, interceptions, clearance, shots, etc.

Possession and losses per action type:

This is a scatter chart showing the actions which result in a loss or possession of the ball during all the games played.

These vizzes represent a small selection of what is available in the app I use for the analysis.

Luckily for me the charts already reveal a huge amount of information that can be drawn from a soccer game. That helps me in not having to spend too much time typing what I want to tell from this data. 😉 My research will continue from here with a focus on how to really make sense of this data. The data and it’s variety really make it a challenge for me to see how this can benefit the team, the trainers and myself.

If you are interested in future updates regarding my findings, just let me know in the comments.

For now, thanks for reading, and hopefully this also shows that, again, data from unexpected sources and activities can be very interesting and valuable.