In past years, a few football clubs have dominated the European Champions League. Whenever the semifinal stage is reached, only clubs from the big leagues of Germany, England, Spain, and Italy are left. Not too long ago, this was not so straightforward. Continue reading
A few weeks ago the Dutch soccer world was upset as one of its biggest talents announced that he would quit soccer. The 19-year-old indicated he would rather go to a university.
This example once again marks an important difference between European and American soccer academies. In the U.S. you can combine professional soccer with a college degree – you are even encouraged to do so. In Europe, you’ll have to choose. Continue reading
With the World Cup moving to the knockout stage in some days, a few teams are destined to be ‘knocked out’ because they lost a penalty series.
Statistical analysis based on historical shoot-outs has shown that the team taking the first penalty kick, thereby starting the series, historically won in ~60% of the times.
This statistic should not be underestimated – teams starting the penalty series have a ~50% bigger chance of winning!
Soccer is one of the oldest sports on earth still being played. Unfortunately, this is reflected by some of its rules, since they are horribly outdated. Let’s fix this by changing 4 of them.
Firstly, a brief note on my absence, since tomorrow it would have been 7 months since my last blog post. In April this year I started working as a strategy consultant at Deloitte. Life’s been slightly different than it was a student, sadly leaving practically no time for writing here.
A while ago Sarah and I were on a trip to the U.S. Somewhere along the trip we watched the soccer game of the U.S. versus Mexico. After the game goalkeeper Tim Howard and offensive midfielder Clint Dempsey were interviewed. Something caught my attention, but at first I didn’t really know what it was. Then it hit me: these guys actually know what they are talking about.
As Sarah wrote some time ago, right before every home match starts the FC Twente supporters sing the You’ll Never Walk Alone from Gerry & The Pacemakers. What the supporters mean to convey is that they will support their team no matter what; in good times and, perhaps especially, in bad times. The past weeks have shown that that was a lie. The vocal supporters of the FC Twente crowd, often referred to as ‘Vak-P‘, named after a stand in the previous stadium, are what one may describe as “fair weather fans“.
Last Sunday something terrible happened on a Dutch football pitch. After a match between two amateur, youth teams, three boys (two 15 year-olds and one 16 year-old) beat up the linesman of the other team. The linesman, 41 year-old Richard Nieuwenhuizen, suffered blows on his head and neck, causing severe brain damage. He passed away a day later.
Discussions now focus on ‘violence on the football field’. Let me be clear. I totally agree with almost all measures that have been and will be taken to address what happened this time and to (try to) prevent such things from happening again. This weekend, all amateur football matches in the Netherlands have been cancelled. Meetings are organised at many clubs to talk about what happened. This weekend, professional teams will be wearing black mourning bands and will observe a moment of silence before their games. It cannot get enough attention. Continue reading