Machine Learning Enabled Team Performance Analysis in the Dynamical Environment of Soccer

Shitanshu Kusmakar, Sergiy Shelyag, Ye Zhu, Dan Dwyer, Paul Gastin, Maia Angelova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Team sports can be viewed as dynamical systems unfolding in time and thus require tools and approaches congruent to the analysis of dynamical systems. The analysis of the pattern-forming dynamics of player interactions can uncover the clues to underlying tactical behaviour. This study aims to propose quantitative measures of a team's performance derived only using player interactions. Concretely, we segment the data into events ending with a goal attempt, that is, ' $Shot$ '. Using the acquired sequences of events, we develop a coarse-grain activity model representing a player-to-player interaction network. We derive measures based on information theory and total interaction activity, to demonstrate an association with an attempt to score. In addition, we developed a novel machine learning approach to predict the likelihood of a team making an attempt to score during a segment of the match. Our developed prediction models showed an overall accuracy of 75.2% in predicting the correct segmental outcome from 13 matches in our dataset. The overall predicted winner of a match correlated with the true match outcome in 66.6% of the matches that ended in a result. Furthermore, the algorithm was evaluated on the largest available open collection of soccer logs. The algorithm showed an accuracy of 0.84 in the classification of the 42, 860 segments from 1, 941 matches and correctly predicted the match outcome in 81.9% of matches that ended in a result. The proposed measures of performance offer an insight into the underlying performance characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9085411
Pages (from-to)90266-90279
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • distribution entropy
  • Dynamical systems
  • football
  • Kolmogorov complexity
  • machine learning
  • network science
  • performance analysis
  • Shannon entropy
  • soccer
  • support vector machines


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