Throughout the college season we’ve been compiling data on the so-called “top 100 freshman to watch“. With this data we hope to gain many insights into college soccer and these players.
It’s one thing to declare these players to be the incoming elite, and it’s another to follow up and see what impact they had. I don’t know of any source that actually does this.
Most conferences are only several games away from wrapping up, so I thought I’d put out a sample of the data and jot down some ideas on what kind of insight might be gained.
So far the average amount of minutes played is:
47 minutes per game
Players With Greater than 80 Minutes per Game
Players With Less than 20 Minutes per Game
Some thoughts on insights that might be gained from analyzing the full data set.
- Are these really the best 100 in the country?
- What did each player average in minutes?
- What schools/conferences/coaches played their coveted recruits?
- Can we make any kind of recommendations on what schools to possibly avoid (ie lack of playing time)?
- Average minutes played per position.
- How did the 100 fare as far as points go?
- How did the 3four3 selections fare by comparison?
- Average minutes played / point accumulation by youth club.
- Aside from minutes and points, analyze “starters”.
- Individual player minute trend (increase, decrease, or stay the same) … (indication of performance?)
- Point/shot analysis compared to rest of team.
- Analysis compared to “strength of school” (ie ranking).
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John Doe says
Some of these top 100 living on reputation alone. Made ODP at the earliest age, never left the ODP program, and resting on their laurels.
Gary Kleiban says
John, you have an excellent point!
I definitely think that is a big part of the problem. Other potential contributors to their underperformance:
1) Early commitments to college as sophmores or juniors. Once they are in what motivation do they have to continue getting better.
2) They already think they are big time.
3) Lack of continued development by their coaches.
4) Parents overly praising them thereby reinforcing the idea they are already the cream of the crop.
5) The shocking realization that their physical prowess no longer gives them an edge.
6) Mentally weak. They find themselves not the darling of the team anymore and they fold.
7) Talented, but low Soccer IQ.
8) Their college coaches have what I call the “freshman” syndrome. “He’s a freshman, so he’s not ready yet.”
OR what I believe to be the biggest and all encompassing …
maybe these simply aren’t the best (and haven’t been all along). Meaning there is a flaw in our ODP, college, & national team selection criteria.
It would be interesting to know on this list, who were Academy players and who were not. The premise being, those that prepared for the rigors of college soccer by playing in the U.S. Development Academy in their senior years of high school vs. being kings among queens on the high school pitch. Any correlation in minutes played?
Gary Kleiban says
Excellent suggestion! I’ll be adding that to our final report (we’re working to publish it by the end of the year).
I also will be writing articles on the Academy vs High School debate …
No punches will be pulled! 🙂
Do you plan on doing another version for this year’s Top 100?
I would be curious about that high school soccer/Academy sort too!
Gary Kleiban says
It was quite time consuming last year. But yes, I definitely want to do it. However, I’m hoping to enlist some help…
Over the past several months I’ve been developing a web application that will enable users to import and explore/analyze all kinds of data. (A big reason for our lower publishing frequency recently).
Clearly we’ll be the primary curators, but user contributions would be enormous.
I guess what I’m saying is we need to “crowdsource” this effort.
If each person curated data on just several players, that would be a big help …
Hint, Hint … 🙂