Who can receive the pass? A computational model for quantifying availability in soccer

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The paper presents a computational approach to Availability of soccer players. Availability is defined as the probability that a pass reaches the target player without being intercepted by opponents. Clearly, a computational model for this probability grounds on models for ball dynamics, player movements, and technical skills of the pass giver. Our approach aggregates these quantities for all possible passes to the target player to compute a single Availability value. Empirically, our approach outperforms state-of-the-art competitors using data from 58 professional soccer matches. Moreover, our experiments indicate that the model can even outperform soccer coaches in assessing the availability of soccer players from static images.

Original languageEnglish
JournalData Mining and Knowledge Discovery
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)987-1014
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 01.05.2022

Bibliographical note

We would like to thank Hendrik Weber and Sportec Solutions / Deutsche Fussball Liga (DFL) for providing the tracking data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • Ball dynamics, Elite sports, Football, Graph networks, MDNs, Movement models, Passing behavior, Sports analytics, Tracking data
  • Informatics
  • Business informatics