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Soccer Team Point Spread Inanity

Posted 2010-05-31 Tags: None

This is an amazingly bad idea.

Go ahead, read that article. I'll wait.

If you want the TLDR; version, in Ottawa when a team gets ahead by more than 5 goals in a game, they are declared the loser of the game. So here is the immediate take home message:

If you win too much, you lose.

This is pretty backwards. It's not how the real world works. It's wrong on many levels. I'd like to propose a different solution. It's one that I had personal experience with on a soccer team.

First, let's find a better way to define a blowout. A 5-goal lead isn't necessarily insurmountable. If the score is 10 - 5, it's clear that both teams have firepower, and the game could still go either way. Obviously there's got to be some kind of limitation on how many goals the losing team is scoring. So, let's say that that any time there's a 5+n/2 goal differential, where n is the number of goals the losing team has, it's a blowout. So blowouts happen at these scores:

Loser

Winner

0

5

1

6

2

8

3

9

Basically, it means that if you have a bit of firepower on your losing team, you can put off a blowout.

Next, let's talk about what happens when a blowout occurs. Making the "winning" team lose is a bad idea. It doesn't even make sense. It's going to stunt players ability to play, and rob them of the instincts that they need to go further in sport. Instead, let's say that the players who are "winning" win the game.

It's a crazy idea, I know.

So, the game's over. The problem with this is that if people are tracking personal stats (and some clubs do, and award prizes for them) then you've been robbed of the opportunity to increase your stats. Calculate the remaining time, get the coaches together, assign half of the kids on each team to play together. You end up with two teams, each made half up from kids of either team. Play the remainder of the game for fun, but track individuals performances (if you want) or just have a good time. Either way, both sides will learn something, and the team that's weaker will improve by having the opportunity to play with kids that are better than them.

This happened to me twice when growing up playing soccer, one time as the losing team and one time as the winning team. I remember both games to this day as amongst the most fun I had on the teams.