Exercise in Futility: Soccer Player Grades

By Leander Schaerlaeckens

On the press bus to the Estadio Azteca on Tuesday, a half-dozen or so American soccer writers had a lively discussion about postgame player grades. Also partaking was US Soccer’s Senior Manager of Communications Neil Buethe, who pointed out that the grades were typically all over the map. This underscored once more the senselessness of the entire exercise.

Mercifully, when I joined FOX Soccer, I was no longer required to do them, because as my editor Jamie Trecker puts it: “Player ratings are the bane of the soccer world. They are the rhetorical equivalent of giving every kid who shows up a trophy.”

Well said.

While I understand the utility of grades – they drive traffic, fill comment sections and give you a tool to superimpose a quasi-box score on a fluid sport – they remain highly unscientific and, to my belief, are prone to erode a writer’s credibility.

My issues with it:

Read More