The Science of Soccer  book cover
2nd Edition

The Science of Soccer

ISBN 9780367333119
Published December 2, 2019 by CRC Press
200 Pages 110 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Updated and revised throughout, this new edition of The Science of Soccer applies scientific analysis to football, giving us the answers to questions like "what's the chance of a team that wins the Premiership also winning the Cup? Can you predict how many goals will be scored? What's the best height for footballers? Is the team that wins the league the best team?"

Starting with a qualitative description of the basic physics that relate to the ball and its bounce, the author then moves through kicks and throws, to a simple account of the more complex physics of a ball in flight. Fulfilling your scientific curiosity, this book uncovers aspects of the game that are not normally discussed. It includes a look at game theory, how the rules affect the flow and enjoyment of the game, unusual statistics about players, and an insight into the economics of the game.

For those with a more mathematical interest in the physics, the final chapter provides a readable account of the theory behind the beautiful game.


  • Accessible to anyone interested in understanding more about the science behind the sport
  • Updated throughout, with new content on transfer fees, wages, and the top goal-scorers
  • Discusses topics not explored in current literature, including rudimentary game theory
  • Table of Contents

    Chapter 1. The Ball and the Bounce
    Chapter 2. The Kick
    Chapter 3. Throwing, Heading, Punching, Catching, Receiving, and Trapping
    Chapter 4. The Ball in Flight
    Chapter 5. The Rules
    Chapter 6. Game Theory
    Chapter 7. The Best Team
    Chapter 8. The Players
    Chapter 9. Economics
    Chapter 10. Mathematics

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    John Wesson is a theoretical physicist with doctorates in atomic and plasma physics. Outside physics he has applied mathematics to a wide range of subjects, initiating the theory of optimal taxation and providing a theoretical analysis of many aspects of golf. He played football until his retirement and has since played golf, tennis, table tennis and bowls.