In this special podcast I recorded for Forza Futbol, I talked to Professor Stefan Szymanski, economist and author of the recently published Soccernomics 2nd edition. Stefan is a Professor of Kinesiology at School of Kinesiology, University of Michigan and is an author of various books on economics in sports.
We talked about the contents of Soccernomics, soccer analytics, financial fairplay and Soccer in the US.
For a detailed list of questions please go here.
Here are the excerpts of interest to this blog.
1. Do coaches matter? How much of an impact does a coach’s style have on the performance of the team?
2. Youth development in Spanish League and EPL
3. Soccerclubs don’t make money: What about the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations?
4. Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey – Analysts are a commodity and what matters is the data.What do think of that when most clubs are using the same data?
“Analysts are a commodity and so is data”
”The problem with Moneyball is not the difficulty of getting the data or identifying the right strategy but it is how you stop people from copying your strategy”
“Can data help you to be unpredictable in what you do in a way to give you an edge?”
5. Where do you think soccer analytics have made the most impact?
“Fitness and scouting”
6. Where do you thinksoccer analytics have made the least impact?
“tactics”– Liverpool example
“analytics is only going to work well strategically when people get the game theory issues and actually start developing that kind of randomness which is impossible to defend against”
5. Power of agents in Football - We recently did a post on the power of agents in football and found out that 50% of all the players of EPL are represented by 20 player agencies
What impact does this have on the efficiencies in the transfer market?
6. What are your thoughts on match fixing and do you think it is widespread across Europe & UK?
“Legalizing betting willeliminate a lot of the fixing because the betting companies will have a lot atstake to ensure there is no fixing”
Soccer in USA
7. How far do you think USA has come as a soccer country?
8. What are the three things that you would change in US soccer if you had the power?
9. Why is it that Athletic Club of Bilbao has been so successful over the years and yet their catchment area is very small and big country like US with a huge population that plays soccer is unable to produce consistent # of quality players?
10. What are you going to write about in your next book?
We thank Stefan a lot for spending time to record this interview.