Two papers on the agenda

The soccer Pythagorean work never stops, does it?  I was invited to submit an article to the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports based on the poster that I presented at NCSSORS in October, which I wasn't expecting to be honest.  (I thought that journal submissions would be reserved for those who gave oral presentations.)  I completed the submission a few days ago; now I'll have to wait and see what happens in the review process.

There are a couple of research papers that I hope to look at in the coming days, but more likely in the early part of January.  The first is the paper published by Ignacio Palacios-Huerta on the structural unfairness of penalty shootouts in soccer.  (Actually, the scope of the paper is much broader than just soccer, but it was used to illustrate the concept of psychological advantage in competitive environments.)  Much of that unfairness is based on psychological factors — the team shooting first feels that they have an advantage during the shootout, and the data reported in the paper indicates that they are justified in their claim.  It also seems that the remedy is easy to implement, such as the adoption of procedures similar to that in set tiebreakers in tennis.  Palacios-Huerta's work on penalty kicks and game theory was discussed at length in Szymanski's book Soccernomics.  The fact that they are colleagues at London School of Economics makes it easy to communicate!

The second paper that I would like to review, which will almost certainly be of interest to readers who follow Major League Soccer, is this demographic analysis of player careers in MLS.  To the best of my knowledge it is the first systematic study of playing careers in the league, and its results should be of great interest to decision-makers at all levels of the league and perhaps player performance analysts as well.

I will attempt to obtain copies of both papers tomorrow, but don't expect reviews to be published before the start of the New Year.

UPDATE: I went 1-for-2 on the paper search tonight.  I wasn't able to retrieve a copy of the Palacios-Huerta paper.  The journal subscription at the university library has a two-year embargo on placing its papers online, so the only option is to view the journal article in the stacks.  This paper was in the December edition of American Economic Review, so I don't expect it to be in the libraries until January. I'll look it up then.

The second paper on player demographics in MLS is in my hands.  I'm reading it right now, and if I'm not too busy packing, I will make some comments on it.  The paper appears to be interesting not just because of its findings, but also because of who wrote it.  He is someone who should be very familiar to long-time Seattle Sounders fans, but I'll give more details tomorrow.