Thursday, June 10, 2010

Want to be a World Cup Soccer Player?---You can't be if you were not born in the right month...

Is your chance of being on the US World Cup team determined by which month OR what part of the year you were born in?  This is a premise discussed in some research but popularized in a terrific book by Malcolm Gladwell called "Outliers".  Here are the months and number of players born in that month (data HERE). I eliminated the players who were explicitly NOT born in the US and make an assumption (maybe incorrect) that they did not play their youth soccer in the US and I assume that the players born in the US played their youth soccer in the US (again, I could be wrong).  There are a total of 23 players on the team but two are listed as foreign born so I don't count them in the total (21) when calculating percentages.  May not equal 100% due to rounding. 

January     0    (0%)                       July              1  (4.7%)
February  2    (9.5%)                    August          1 (4.7%)
March      4    (19%)                     September    1  (4.7%)
April        2    (9.5%)                    October         1  (4.7%)
May         5    (23.8%)                 November      2  (9.5%)
June         1    (4.7%)                   December       1  (4.7%)

Players born in March, April and May comprise 53% (approx) of the team.  Players born in the FIRST 6 month of the year comprise 66.5% of the team...In Spain 9 out of the 23 players (all were born in Spain) were born in January, February and March (39.1%) and 14 out of the 23 were born in the first 6 months of the year (60.8%)...Correlation or Co-incidence?  Statistically, you should give up soccer now if you were born in the second half of the year and play something else that is advantageous to your birth month...What do you think?
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