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.
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.
With 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.