KPI, or Key Performance Indicator, is defined as "a quantifiable measure used to evaluate the success of an organization, employee, athlete, etc. in meeting objectives for performance". The first time I heard the term KPI was in a talk by Olympic track coach, Dan Pfaff. While track and field is an objective sport based on distance and time, soccer is often interpreted as a more subjective game. Sure, a striker's goal count can be easily tracked, but coaches may like the way one midfielder plays more than another and it is hard to quantify which player is indeed more effective. All of this is changing, as technology advances and becomes more integrated into world and youth soccer.
Germany, who won the World Cup 2014 and is showing little sign of slowing down, uses the technology SAP Match Insights to identify and evaluate KPI's. They have demonstrated the importance of speed of play, and that by moving the ball faster they are able to get in front of the opponent's goal more quickly. There are several other KPI's that have been shown to correlate to higher performance in a soccer match. For example, I discovered that organized offense presents the highest frequency in goal scoring, followed by set pieces (35.6%) and counterattacks (20.3%). (1)
Anther KPI is the ability to cross and chip the ball into dangerous areas in the opponents final 3rd. "Successful teams were able to execute a wider variety of passes as a tool to create shots, making them less predictable and being able to shoot more frequently. Crosses and chips were used more significantly by successful teams compared to unsuccessful teams." (2)
1. Hughes, M. and S. Churchill, Attacking profiles of successful and unsuccessful teams in Copa America 2001. Journal of Sport Sciences, 2004. 22(6): 505.
2. Yiannakos, A. and V. Aramats, Evaluation of the goal scoring patterns in European Championship in Portugal 2004. International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, 2004. 6(1): 178-188.