Soccermatics: Mathematical Adventures in the Beautiful Game


Soccermatics: Mathematical Adventures in the Beautiful Game by David Sumpter

Synopsis: ‘Football looked at in a very different way’ Pat Nevin, former Chelsea and Everton star and football media analyst.

Football – the most mathematical of sports. From shot statistics and league tables to the geometry of passing and managerial strategy, the modern game is filled with numbers, patterns and shapes. How do we make sense of them? The answer lies in the mathematical models applied in biology, physics and economics.

Soccermatics brings football and mathematics together in a mind-bending synthesis, using numbers to help reveal the inner workings of the beautiful game.

How is the Barcelona midfield linked geometrically?
What’s the similarity between an ant colony and Total Football, Dutch style?
What can defenders learn from lionesses?
How much of a scoreline is pure randomness and how much is skill?
How can probability theory make you money at the bookies?

Welcome to the world of mathematical modelling, expressed brilliantly by David Sumpter through the prism of football. No matter who you follow – from your local non-league side to the big boys of the Premiership, La Liga, the Bundesliga, Serie A or the MLS – you’ll be amazed at what mathematics has to teach us about the world’s favourite sport.

Published: May 2016 | ISBN: 9781472924124

Discount Code for Science Book a Day Readers: Enter SBAD30 at the checkout on

Mini-bio: David Sumpter is professor of applied mathematics at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, where he runs the Collective Behaviour Research Group. Originally from London, he studied his PhD in Mathematics at Manchester and has held academic research positions at both Oxford and Cambridge before heading to Sweden, where he lives with his wife and two children. In his spare time, he trains a successful 9-year old boys’ football team, Upsala IF 2005. – Bloomsbury

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“This is football looked at in a very different way. David Sumpter is mining a rich and deep seam here in Soccermatics, one that will become an increasingly important part of the game.” –  Pet Nevin, former Chelsea and Everton star and football media analyst, 

“A fascinating study of the structures and patterns that underpin football matches, with revealing and surprising conclusions.” –  Michael Cox, editor of Zonal Marking and Guardian Sports,

Goal Nation Book Review

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