Earlier this year, HTGSports partnered with Youth Soccer Rankings, the leader in data-based team rankings, to provide tournament and league results to enable all of our events to be including in rankings. Recently HTGSports interviewed Mark Lewis, the founder of Youth Soccer Rankings, to learn more about his company and how they rank soccer teams.
HTG: Tell us about your company–why do you do what you do? What kind of need did you see in this market?
Mark: I developed the soccer ranking system 10 years ago after my daughter’s team received unfair flighting at tournaments in CA based on Got Soccer. Twice they were the 2nd best team in the division, but ended up on the beach on the last day because they were put in the same flight as the best team. After running the system for 8 years I sold it to Sports Illustrated, who then sold it to NBC.
How do you rank soccer teams and why do you rank them this way?
The key to achieving accurate rankings is to use all the data that is available. This means using the scores of every game played to calculate the quality of every team. The rankings are completely objective. We only look at results. Unlike other systems, we look at goal difference in every game and include competitions when a team plays up.
How many teams in your system?
Who can use your rankings? Who uses it today?
The rankings are free to everyone https://youthsoccerrankings.us/rankings/National/All/Both/ They are used by most of the biggest competitions in the country.
How is your ranking system different from others?
Got Soccer rankings awards points for placing in competitions. If you play more competitions (especially those run by Got Soccer) you are ranked higher. Clearly this has little to do with the quality of a team. Soccer in College is better because it looks at the win / loss of every game, but it doesn’t use the information in the game scores, and has a much smaller set of results to work with. We have the most complete set of results and the best algorithm. The relative quality of the ranking systems is compared on our site. It is easy to measure which is most predictive. Another nice feature of our site is the multi year ranking history. You can often see the impact of a change in coach or players in the graph.
How do different users make use of your ranking information?
Our target audience is competition organizers that want to give their teams the best possible experience. This is why we rank U10s (they go to tournaments too!). You sometimes hear criticism from people that don’t like rankings (or even don’t like posting results of competitions), because it promotes winning over development. Soccer is a sport. Sports are about winning and losing. Get over it!!! I’m all about kids having fun. Going to a tournament and being put in the wrong division or flight isn’t fun, especially when parents are paying a lot of money to be there.
Thank you Mark, for your time, your perspective and your excellent ranking system!