Quantifying the probability of a shot in women’s collegiate soccer through absorbing Markov chains

  • Devyn Norman Woodfield, Gilbert W. Fellingham
  • Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, September 2018, De Gruyter
  • DOI: 10.1515/jqas-2015-0076

Estimating the probability of a soccer skill eventually leading to a shot

What is it about?

This publication steps through how we were able to collect data for a women's collegiate soccer team. We then used some complex statistical methods to analyze that data and come up with a way to estimate the probability that a given skill performed in a specific area of the soccer field will ultimately lead to a goal. We did this for two seasons. This allowed us to compare skills across areas of the field and skills within an area. Comparisons were also made between seasons. Doing all of this allowed us to see weaknesses and strengths of the team to focus on in the future.

Why is it important?

This publication is unique in its attempt to show its reproducible results across seasons. It also shows an economical approach to helping collegiate teams collect data and gain timely insight.


Devyn Woodfield
Brigham Young University

This was my thesis project while I was attending college. I spent a long time with my adviser coming up with a way to collect, analyze, and report on this data to make it statistically meaningful and insightful to the coaching staff.

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The following have contributed to this page: Gilbert Fellingham Fellingham and Devyn Woodfield