2014 ELO Rankings Recalculated: Top Soccer Clubs in Canada

A little under a month ago, NSXI released the 2014 ELO Rankings with an eye for Canadian Clubs. The article created a lot of discussion among numerous soccer aficionados, especially in regard to the starting point given to Division 3 teams in League 1 Ontario (L1O) and Premiere Ligue de Soccer du Quebec (PLSQ). After a great amount of discussion, it was generally agreed that the starting point far exceeded the actual level of play the teams. Furthermore, some calculation checking revealed an error calculating the proper score for an away team. As a result, I have used the past month to update and recalculate the ELO Rankings. There are changes to the rankings of some teams as a result of the corrections.

ELO Subjective Recalc

First let’s look at the new subjective starting points. We left MLS & NASL at their original locations. 3rd Division leagues (USL, L1O, & PLSQ) had their starting points set 100 points lower at 1000. Teams that were ranked lower than 3rd division had their starting point revised downward to match. As a result, there is now a 200 point gap between 1st & 2nd, a 200 point gap between 2nd & 3rd, and a 100 point gap between all other divisions. I chose this gap because the lower divisions are a lot closer to each other in skill level than the top 3 divisions are to one another.

2014 Final ELO - RecalcWith the new starting locations, and some corrections to my ELO calculator, the rankings of teams moved around a little bit. The new rankings are to the right. There is no real change in the top 4 positions. The Ottawa Fury, despite their dismal season last year, managed to take the 5th position, leaping ahead 7-positions as a result of the new starting points. Despite Fury’s leap in the rankings, their position will be at threat this season if the Toronto FC Academy of L1O maintains its winning record.

Positions 7-9 were very tightly contested. FC Gatineau unfortunately ended up dropping below CS Longueuil once the calculator was fixed, but the gap between these three positions is less than 1 point. As a result, the two PLSQ teams are basically tied with Sigma FC of L1O. Predictably, L1O & PLSQ trade positions right through 16th place.

Khalsa, of the Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL), is the first 4th division team on the list. The team outranks 3rd Divison teams Durham FC (L1O, 18th), AS Blainville (PLSQ, 19th), ACP Montreal-Nord (PLSQ, 20th), and the dramatically substandard Kingston Clippers (L1O, 33rd). The USL PDL makes its first appearance with the now-defunct Victoria Highlanders at 21st place.

The new starting points seem to have yielded a much more accurate view of the relative positions of the teams. Ottawa Fury recently played a preseason match against Toronto FC II of the USL, which consists in large part of former Toronto FC Academy players from L1O. The resulting 3 – 2 victory for Ottawa Fury helps show that the NASL club is at least a little better than the USL club (and thus the L1O club that used to have the same players at the end of 2014).

I’m a lot more satisfied with the ranking that the new starting points and corrected calculator has yielded. Although ELO rankings are always somewhat controversial, I’m certain these numbers will seem more accurate than the previous rendition. There have been some major changes to 3rd & 4th Division leagues in 2014, but I’ll have more on that, as well as the up-to-date ELO rankings tomorrow afternoon.

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Shawn Gray

Shawn Gray

Shawn Gray is an experienced author who has previously published articles on transit, cycling & politics. With a Bachelor of Arts (English) degree, a Bachelor of Education degree, an Event Management graduate certificate, and two years of Business Administration, his education has helped him connect with a variety of people, through numerous industries. In 2014, he was a Team Lead in the Club Section of TD Place, where the Ottawa Fury host matches. Now located in Victoria, British Columbia, Gray enjoys the local PDL matches, and tries to watch his favourite clubs online with his infant son whenever possible.

4 thoughts on “2014 ELO Rankings Recalculated: Top Soccer Clubs in Canada

  • April 8, 2015 at 6:26 pm
    Permalink

    How about Champions’ League matches? They’re the biggest matches of all…

    • Shawn Gray
      April 9, 2015 at 8:15 am
      Permalink

      Indeed they are the most important! Unfortunately, ELO rating calculation is not a slow process and clubs from different areas of the world stack up very differently. Although I felt comfortable giving sub-PDL/PCSL teams a starting ELO of 800, I have no clue how to rate the teams and leagues that come into the Champions League, or the leagues that compete with them to earn entry into the competition. Just fudging a number to represent Champions League “other” would be very inaccurate, so I elected to exclude that avenue.

      For clarification, here is what is in scope:

      MLS (regular season & playoffs)
      NASL (regular season & playoffs)
      USL (regular season & playoffs)
      L1O (regular season & playoffs)
      PLSQ (regular season & playoffs)
      PCSL (regular season & playoffs)
      USL PDL (regular season & playoffs)
      Amway Canadian Championship (All rounds)
      US Open Cup (from the entry point of PDL teams through the Final)

      Specifically out of scope:

      All other leagues
      Friendlies
      Championship League

  • May 4, 2016 at 9:43 pm
    Permalink

    Do you have the 2015 Top Soccer Clubs in Canada ranking?

    • Shawn Gray
      May 8, 2016 at 12:49 pm
      Permalink

      Hello Luke. Unfortunately, I didn’t continue working through the Top Soccer Club stats. This past year was crazy for my family (moving, job changes, first child, etc) and I wasn’t able to maintain and update the math. It doesn’t look like anyone else continued my work, but I can try to rebuild it based on the 2015 results and the new matches from 2016 (with some modifications now that L1O/PLSQ are more established).

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