How to Build up the Most Effective Soccer Team

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Name: Yuntao Zhang
Major: Mathematics
Advisor: Dr. Drew Pasteur
Second Reader: Dr. Christina Horr

Soccer is the most influential sport in the world. Professional soccer leagues have been evolving for more than 100 years. One way most European soccer teams try is to hire data analysts to help them improve their performance. One of the most important jobs they have is to investigate players’ contributions on the field to help team management decide which players are important to their team. In this work, our objective is to find out how a player contributes to his team’s expected goal and the opponent team’s expected goal. In order to achieve this target, since there are hundreds of variables in the data set, the first thing to finish is to narrow variables down. My target is to find which category of teams’ performance contributes to winning the most. In other words, which skills a player has are valuable. Then, I will fit data in an appropriate model to find out the relationship between those variables and expected goals. After finishing this part, I can compare players’ salaries and their contribution to their team to determine whether this player is overpaid or not. Then, I will answer the question of how to build the most effective soccer team.

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