How Our Womens World Cup Model Works

Check out FiveThirtyEight’s Women’s World Cup predictions.Women’s sports don’t have the same rich data that men’s sports do. So what do you do if you want to forecast the Women’s World Cup? You gather up everything you can get.We put together a database of about 8,000 international women’s soccer matches since 1971 — as many games as we could find. And we used these to develop a set of women’s national team ratings — we call them WSPI (Women’s Soccer Power Index) — and projections for the 2015 World Cup. The United States and Germany enter as front-runners, and you can read more about all the elite teams, the dark horses and the players to watch in our colleague Allison McCann’s World Cup preview. We’re here to take you through the methodology behind these projections.WSPI ratings are based on a simplified version of the Soccer Power Index (SPI), a system that Nate developed in conjunction with ESPN in 2009 to rate men’s soccer teams. Men’s SPI is based on two components: a team rating derived from scores of international matches and a player rating, which is primarily based on results from club play for the individual players on each national team’s roster. For WSPI, we use only the team ratings component because detailed data on club play is not readily available for women’s soccer.Otherwise, the major features of WSPI are similar to the team-rating component of SPI:Ratings account for the final score of each match, including whether the match went into extra time or a shootout, and the location of the game.Ratings also account for the importance of the match: A World Cup match counts far more than a friendly.A team’s rating varies continuously over time. For example, China had a considerably stronger WSPI in 1999, when it played the United States in the World Cup final, than they do now.WSPI ratings, like SPI ratings, are broken down into offensive and defensive components. The offensive rating can be interpreted as how many goals we would expect the team to score in an average competitive international match,1In the past, we’ve sometimes referred to SPI ratings as indicating how many goals a team would score and allow against an average international opponent. But that’s not quite accurate: The way SPI ratings are designed, they indicate a team’s performance in an average international match, controlling for strength of schedule and weighting by match importance. The same is true for WSPI. The distinction matters because stronger teams tend to play more matches than weaker ones, especially in women’s soccer. The average international match, in other words, is typically against a considerably above-average opponent. while the defensive rating is how many goals it would concede in such a match, controlling for strength of schedule. Higher offensive ratings are better. Lower defensive ratings are better.The offensive and defensive components are combined into an overall WSPI rating, which reflects the percentage of possible points we would expect the team to score in a hypothetical round-robin tournament against every other team in the world.Let’s look at a more detailed example of how a team’s WSPI rating is calculated. Here are some of the United States’ recent results, along with the ratings the team received for each match and the weight WSPI gives to the match: You can see some of the key features of WSPI in these examples (a team’s overall offensive and defensive ratings are a weighted average of these game-by-game ratings). The USWNT’s March 11, 2015, match against France receives relatively little weight, even though it was played fairly recently, because it was a friendly. The 2012 Olympics still receive quite a lot of weight, however, given their importance.2Unlike in men’s soccer, women’s Olympic soccer teams don’t have any age restrictions. The Olympic tournament tends to be almost as competitive as the World Cup. (The maximum possible weight for a match, in case you’re wondering, is 1.68.)Meanwhile, you can see how much strength of schedule matters in WSPI. The USWNT gets a higher offensive rating for beating France 2-0 than for beating Mexico 3-0 because France has a tougher defense. It’s not uncommon for a team to win a match against a weak opponent but receive poor adjusted ratings because it didn’t win by as much as WSPI expected. Conversely, a team can receive a good offensive rating just by scoring on a very good team, even if it loses. The location of a match is also important: Home advantage in competitive matches has historically been worth about 0.35 goals and would make the home team about a 60-40 favorite in a matchup between two equally rated teams.Once we’ve generated WSPI ratings for every team in the world, we can estimate the probability that any team will beat any other team.3This part of the model is “trained” on all non-friendly matches between two teams in the WSPI top 50 — matches that roughly approximate World Cup competition. More specifically, we first calculate the expected number of goals that each team will score in a given match and then convert these into a matrix of possible outcomes using Poisson distributions. Thus, in any given match, we’ve estimated the probability that it will end in a 0-0 tie, a 1-0 victory, a 2-3 loss or any other possible scoreline. Knowing this distribution of possible scores is important because the tiebreaker to advance to the knockout stage of the World Cup takes goals scored and allowed into account.With these individual match probabilities in hand, we can calculate the chance that each team in the tournament will advance to the knockout round or eventually win the tournament. To do so, we simulate the tournament 20,000 times: If the U.S. has a 28 percent chance of winning the tournament, this means that it won in approximately 5,600 out of 20,000 simulations. As simulations are played out, each team’s WSPI is updated to reflect its results in that simulation. Loosely speaking, this accounts for the possibility that a team will “get hot” during the tournament and considerably outperform its pre-World Cup WSPI.4For a more technical discussion, see here.Matches in the knockout round continue into extra time if they are tied at the end of regulation and a shootout if tied after that, so we’ve spent some time making sure our simulations handle these cases accurately. Extra time is treated as a shortened match in which teams score at a slower rate than during regulation.5Historically, teams have scored at a rate about 25 percent lower during extra time. Shootout win probabilities are also derived from WSPI instead of being treated as random. There is evidence that shootouts are skill-based — the team with the better WSPI rating has won 58 percent of shootouts in our database — but good teams don’t tend to be as dominant in shootouts as they are in regular time. For example, the USWNT would be more than a 90 percent favorite to beat Thailand in a regular game, but only a 71 percent favorite to win in a shootout. For this reason, it’s usually in the interest of the weaker team to play for a shootout even though it’d be an underdog if one occurred.Have any more questions? See Nate’s 2009 article and FAQ for more of the technical details and philosophy behind SPI, most of which also apply to WSPI. Or drop us a note here. We hope you’ll enjoy following the women’s tournament with us. DATELOCATIONCOMPETITIONOPPONENTSCOREWEIGHTOFF. RATINGDEF. RATING 10/24/14Chester, PennsylvaniaWorld Cup qualifierMexico3-00.963.10.1 7/28/12Glasgow, ScotlandOlympicsColombia3-00.803.10.1 3/11/15Faro, PortugalFriendlyFrance2-00.284.3-0.3 7/25/12Glasgow, ScotlandOlympicsFrance4-20.808.11.3 10/15/14Kansas City, KansasWorld Cup qualifierTrinidad & Tobago1-00.960.30.4 read more

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Horatio AlgerDenny Sanford scholarship award winner at National University

first_img Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter July 24, 2019 KUSI Newsroom 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – National University’s new Horatio Alger-Denny Sanford Scholarship—the first 10 recipients have been announced.The Horatio Alger-Denny Sanford Scholarship Program was established through a generous multi-million donation to the Horatio Alger Association from renowned philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, who is well known in San Diego for his generosity.100 students will be recognized over the next ten years with $25,000 each, according to National University.Cecilia Gonzalez, who is a Horatio Alger-Denny Sanford Scholarship Recipient, joined Good Morning San Diego. KUSI Newsroom, Horatio Alger-Denny Sanford scholarship award winner at National University Posted: July 24, 2019last_img read more

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Afghanistan Unrest 23 civilians killed

first_imgKabulAt least 23 civilians, including women and children, were killed by a US air strike in southern Afghanistan earlier this week, according to an UN investigation, as ordinary Afghans continue to bear the brunt of the 17-year conflict.”Initial findings indicate that the vast majority of the victims were women and children,” the UN mission in Afghanistan said in a report received by AFP late Thursday, adding that at least three people were also injured in the attack.The strike occurred during a firefight between Afghan special forces working with US advisors and Taliban insurgents late Tuesday in restive Helmand province.NATO said air support was requested by security forces on the ground as the militants deployed heavy weapons and retreated into a nearby compound.Provincial authorities had earlier said several members of a single family appeared to be killed in the strike, with one official saying “at least 18 civilians were killed”, which could not be confirmed.NATO has said it was investigating the incident.Haji Mohammad, who lived near where the incident occurred, said the strike came after the Taliban entered a home during a battle with security forces, saying it killed several civilians inside along with nine insurgents.Civilians continue to face “extreme levels of harm”, a recent UN report said, with 8,050 people killed or wounded in the January to September period this year.Violence has escalated in the past year as US and Afghan forces press ground and air offensives against Taliban and IS insurgents.The Taliban has also upped assaults on Afghan forces even as the United States increased efforts to engage the militants in peace talks.Washington is trying to find a way out of the conflict more than 17 years since it began.US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is spearheading efforts to strike a peace deal with the Taliban before Afghanistan’s presidential election, scheduled for April next year though officials have said it could be postponed until July.A Taliban delegation met with Khalilzad in Doha in October and November to discuss ending the Afghan conflict. Khalilzad has said he is “cautiously optimistic” for an end to the conflict.last_img read more

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Betty Williams Retired Baltimore Educator Dies at 94

first_imgBetty Williams, a veteran Baltimore City Public Schools teacher and administrator and a literary scholar, died recently after a brief illness. She was 94.Betty Williams, Retired Baltimore Educator Betty Iglehart Williams, the daughter of Mary C. and Iglehart W. Williams, was born in New York City on Aug. 15, 1923.  She was raised by her grandparents the Rev. William Carpenter and Mrs. Eliza Mary Carpenter in Northeast Baltimore, in the Waverly community.  As a child, she grew up in their Barclay Street home and lived in that neighborhood almost half of her life. In later years, Williams purchased her first home on Barclay Street, down the street from her childhood home.She was educated in Baltimore City schools—a member of the second graduating class of Dunbar High School in February 1941.  Williams is a graduate of the 1944 class of Morgan State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree, and she received her master’s of education degree from Johns Hopkins University.  Additional graduate studies were accomplished at Columbia University (Faculty of Philosophy) and Howard University (Department of English).Williams’ career began in 1950 teaching English at Dunbar Evening School, and for 32 years she worked diligently to advance the quality of education in the Baltimore Public Schools System.  Her assigned schools included Booker T. Washington, Lemmel Junior High, Northwestern High and Eastern High School for Girls.  She held positions beginning with substitute teacher, secondary English teacher, English Department head, special assistant-unit school, assistant principal, principal, and her last assignment was assistant to the regional superintendent (1976-1982).  She considered full retirement in 1982 but decided semi-retirement was a better option.  Williams stayed active teaching courses at Morgan State University and later obtained a work assignment in the ROTC office.  Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke appointed Williams to the Baltimore Commission on Aging.Betty Williams shortly after celebrating her 93rd birthday.For her 94th birthday, Williams traveled to the Dominican Republic with the Black Ski Club. Her travel companions surprised her with a birthday cake and all the young men lined up to dance with the beautiful lady.  Her extensive travel experience includes: Canada, Puerto Rico and islands in the Caribbean, France, Rome, Haiti, Nova Scotia, Austria, Germany, Israel, Egypt, Chile and China.  She climbed the Great Wall, loved the Alaska trip to see the ceremonial start of the Iditarod and she was baptized in the Jordan River in the Middle East.Williams valued her membership in The DuBois Circle, a women’s group founded in 1906 that prides itself on having notable speakers address the issues of the day.  She held every office in this group and continued active membership until her death.  The Johns Hopkins Club highlighted her 45-year membership in The Club Herald (July-August 2017).    Williams enjoyed her work with Our Daily Bread, a kitchen for the poor and homeless. She served meals for seven years and believed, “Anytime you give, it’s doing your Christian duty.” Williams was a member of Waters AME Church.  She also was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.Williams had one brother, Wallace S. Williams who preceded her in death.  Her godchildren Ms. Terri Parker (daughters Erin B. Rigsby and Morgan D. Rigsby), Dr. Marsha Brown and Mrs. H. Lynn Harris Jones will remember her dearly.  She will also be missed by relatives, friends, colleagues and former students.At her request, Williams will not have a memorial or funeral service.last_img read more

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