In previous posts, I have discussed how important it is to consistently create with every touch of the soccer ball high percentage plays for your team. To move the ball down the field to create scoring chances, the team using low percentage passes and dribbling attempts does so at their peril, because eventually the odds will catch up with you, your turnover rate will be too high, and your team will give up scoring chances from those turnovers that can lose games.
From that view, I think some of the most important new statistics that can be kept in soccer with the use of GPS tracking technology are the distances players move the ball by dribbling and passing, their rate of turnovers dribbling and passing, and also their team’s continued rate of possession and scoring chances created and converted five touches, ten touches, and fifteen touches after a player’s possession ends. By doing this, we will see which players create good chances for their team and which players put their teams in bad situations. Midfielders and defenders who are able to spot advantageous situations develop on the field and then put their team in the best positions to capitalize on those chances will be recognized in ways never before possible. Forwards will have their talent and creativity in ball control seen in a new way that can be quantified beyond the simple shots on goal and goals scored numbers.
Skilled and talented players on a soccer team must work for the team in order for the team to be successful. On offense, this means keeping possession of the ball and eventually shots on goal and goals scored. However, very little of a team’s offense is the actual act of taking a shot — far more time is spent in the buildup and possession to create a scoring chance for the team. Looking at the team’s qualities of possession after a player’s touches on the ball will show how much that player adds to the team’s offense across the entire field and the entire time the game is played.