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!
Youth sports tryouts can be a stressful time for club administrators as many things need to happen in a relatively short period of time. One piece of the tryout process is player registration. Take a few minutes to think about how players register for your tryout–paper? email? online? walk-up only?
Suffice it to say that if you’re not using online registration you should be. If you are using an online registration system, kudos to you as you’re a step ahead of many clubs. However, are there pain points in your current process? HTGSports has been doing tryout registrations for many years and has refined the process to make it as easy as possible for you to run a tryout.
Some benefits of using HTGSports for tryout registration
- Email notifications – anytime someone registers you’ll receive an email notification.
- Online viewing of registration data–you can easily view sorted lists of players. Players can be filtered by age group & gender.
- Offline viewing – all registration data can easily be exported to an Excel spreadsheet where you can slice and dice the data as you see fit. Some clubs will generate spreadsheets of age appropriate data and then send those out to the respective coaches.
- Tryout cards – our tryout cards are easily printed on big, readable card stock. Tryout cards can then be used at the check-in desk. They can also be distributed to the coaches running that age group tryout. Blank tryout cards can also be printed out and used for walk-up registrations. Information for walk-up registrations can then be added to our system after the fact. (Better yet, if you have wi-fi access at your tryout location, walk-up registrants can register at the event.)
- Player photos can be uploaded as part of the registration process. If a photo is uploaded it will show up on the tryout card.
- Simplicity – our registration is extremely easy to use. The parent doesn’t need to create an account–just register their child (or children) in one step. How many times have you had parents have trouble remembering their login?
- Security – All data entered on our web pages is securely encrypted with SSL. Don’t be the club that puts up a web form and then expect parents to input player data via clear text entry.
Good communication is a key part of running a successful tryout. With HTGSports you can easily communicate with parents via email and push notifications to their mobile devices.
- Weather delays – if your tryouts are outdoors you may have weather issues. With our notification system parents can sign up for notifications and be alerted if a tryout has been delayed or cancelled. As a club administrator, you can easily send the notification from our mobile app from the fields.
- Tryout schedule changes – last minute changes happen all the time at tryouts. With HTGSports you can do a simple email blast to everyone or to a subset of users. You can also use our push notification system to notify parents of changes.
For free, open tryouts we charge a flat fee of $100 for the entire club which allows for unlimited players. We hope you’ll consider using HTGSports for your next tryout event.
As the next update for iSports for iOS is nearing completion we wanted to give you a quick look at what is coming. This version has been beta tested by a number of clubs over the last few months.
This release of iSports includes administrative features to make running your event even easier.
From the mobile app you can now login and
a) view your event information including registrations and games
b) input game scores
c) send broadcast messages (push notifications and emails)
For multiple venue events inputting scores can be tedious particularly if your venues don’t all have Internet access . With the iSports mobile app you can now navigate to a game from your phone/table and from the game detail screen input your scores. Saving the game will trigger push notifications just like in the web application. Note: this feature also works for any users with the “Scorers” role.
How often have you been at the fields and needed to send out a notice to all of the teams at your event? In the past you’d need to login to our web application. Now, with a few taps in iSports you can easily send your message out from your phone:
Searching for Games
Besides the administrative features, we’ve also added a new feature for end users–you can now search for games via date, time, and field.
iSports will be available in the Apple App Store soon. In the meantime if you’re an HTGSports league owner/tournament director and would like access to the beta please contact us.