Data in Women’s football: Where and how to find it

D1 Arkema Text graphic for The Data Scout by Marc P. Lamberts.

Everywhere you go on the internet and look for football results, you will find data. Most of the articles written have made use of some form of football data.

Working with data can be very fulfilling, unbiased, and satisfactory, but also frustrating. The first question is obviously, where are we pulling data from?

In this article, we will talk about a few websites that offer you data and review them shortly.

Due to the popularity and accessibility of the Women’s Super League, it has better coverage in data. This can be seen as well in the examples below.

Official websites from clubs, leagues and tournaments

First of all, the official websites of clubs, leagues, and tournaments do offer some data on their website. Think of tables featuring positions of teams, leaderboards in terms of goals, assists, cards, passes, fouls, and appearances.

This data gives a specific image of that league or tournament and does offer help in writing reports/previews. For example, if you go to the FA’s website and go to tables, you will get the standings of the top three divisions in England.

The websites for the international federations and organisations, such as Continental Championships, World Championships, or Olympics, do offer a great variety of statistics as well. Like you can find on the UEFA’s website for the Champions League.

Footy stats

If you want to zoom in a bit more on head-to-head statistics, data based on previous encounters and see how well a team has been doing in relation to other teams in a certain competition, websites like Footy Stats are your friend.

If you are doing a preview of a match or are preparing to go to a game, this kind of data is excellent. It tells you about points per game, the head to head results, the latest form, the difference between playing away and at home, and which players are worth keeping an eye out for. Especially when focusing on match-deciding data (goals, assists, clean sheets, card, minutes played).

This website offers the function to download the data in CSV files, so you can play around with it in excel or any other form of data analysis. Here is an example of the WSL Championship.

Soccerdonna

Transfers — the wonderful world of players moving clubs goes along with the drama of anticipation. Now the latter is not something Soccerdonna does, but they do collect transfer data and player/team data on contracts, player agencies, and market values of players/teams. They are a part of the well-known Transfermarkt, but this website solely focuses on the women’s game.

If we go to the Spanish Primera División Femenina page, we can see the latest matches played, but more importantly, we see the market values of the squads, the average market values per player and the latest transfers that have been concluded in this particular league.

Very important side note: it’s all in German. If you are fluent, good on you. Otherwise, take a translating app or go old-school with a dictionary. Another thing to remember is that this is just taking off and a lot of information has to be added to the website.

The last thing you should remember is that transfer rumours and market values are not solely based on facts, but also on opinions, likelihood, and estimations.

FBRef

If we are looking for a free, more complete, data website – FBRef probably is the best out there at the moment. They don’t only have the history of a player, but present actual in-game data. It takes a step beyond the Footy Stats one and presents data in an easy-to-read way, easy to export for data analysis and let’s you compare to others.

Some extra data is provided by Statsbomb and they offer a huge variety of data to be looked at. This isn’t available yet for all the league, and it probably won’t ever. As it is a service you can pay for at Statsbomb. As of now, you can get that extra data for the WSL and it includes percentile ranks, scouting reports, and metrics such as post-shot xG, pressures, and key passing metrics.

The Analyst

If you are looking for more WSL specific data on the expected goals for and expected goals against, The Analyst has got you covered. Next to their articles, they provide a visualisation on the positions teams are on the WSL table. There is also more information about the Team Sequences in style of play and Team Sequences in pressures. The data is provided by Stats Perform, where Opta is a part of. In the future, they might also show different leagues.

Wyscout & InStat

The two services mentioned above are not free and cost quite some money (as does Statsbomb). They are worth mentioning because their information is quite extensive. Professional clubs work every day with the data they have to offer. The data is based on game results by clubs and players. It’s used for performance analysis, opposition analysis, and recruitment analysis.

The main reason that they are included in this article is that they have a lot of statistics on a variety of leagues, and it’s only growing stronger. I can get free data on expected goals on the WSL on FBREF. But on Wyscout for example I can get it for more than 10 leagues – excluding international teams and tournaments. It means that I can properly assess players and teams based on data, and not only be depending on one league.

You can find Wyscout here and InStat here. They offer trials so you can see what their statistics and video is about.

Final thoughts

There are a few good websites out there that can really help you get forward in including statistics in your work.

Some leagues have better coverage, but other leagues are getting more recognition as well. These examples will help you prepare, understand and evaluate games on a more unbiased way which will help evaluating how players/teams are doing all over the world.

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