Can the Concept of an “Error” Be Added to Soccer Statistics?

Much as errors in baseball and unforced errors in tennis, I believe keeping errors in soccer could lead to much more insight and understanding into the quality of a player. Scoring an error in soccer would be difficult and very subjective since failure in soccer happens so often as previously discussed in this blog, but that in no way would diminish the value of the stat since I have already shown in previous posts on this blog how important it is for players to make high-percentage choices while moving the ball downfield (and defending, too).

I personally think the concept of an error in soccer should be slanted more towards the concept of “unforced” errors since those I feel are more likely to show a lack of skill or a lack of quality decision making. Errors should also be kept for defense as well as offense.

Some common plays that could be examples of soccer errors:

  • An uncontrolled dribble moving up the field under little or no defensive pressure.
  • Losing a dribble in the defensive half of the field while dribbling towards your own goal.
  • A badly missed forward pass under little or no defensive pressure.
  • A missed backwards pass in the defensive half of the field.
  • A badly missed attempt to control the ball without any defensive pressure.
  • A wild shot on goal with little to no accuracy.
  • A failed defensive clearance that still leaves the ball in a dangerous position.
  • A goalkeeper badly misplaying a shot or cross.
  • Own goals.
  • Senselessly committing a foul, particularly when it results in a dangerous free kick within scoring range for the other team or when the foul ends your own team’s scoring opportunity.
  • A badly missed tackle.
  • Kicking the ball directly out of bounds on a corner kick or goal kick.
  • Not picking up a runner on defense allowing the runner to immediately receive the ball and get a shot off.
  • Playing a “hospital ball” to a teammate that might technically be considered a completed pass but puts the teammate in the crosshairs of a bad challenge from the opposition with little opportunity to do anything with the ball except try to survive the challenge without getting hurt.

Leave a Reply