About Me



The Short Story


I am a freelance writer that uses numbers to write statistically informed articles about soccer when not doing my day job as an engineer.  I have been writing my own blog for more than two years now.  Starting in May 2012 I became a contributor to the Lifestyle section Forbes.com.  My work has also appeared at The Tomkins Times, the Transfer Price Index, and in the forthcoming Howler magazine.  Please email me at abng@abeautifulnumbersgame.com with any inquiries for work, topics you'd like covered, or general questions about soccer statistics.

The Long Story

I  moved a lot when I was a kid. Five times, living in six cities, to be exact.  My father was in the United States Navy, and like other branches of the military they move service members around frequently enough to not form any deep, non-professional friendships with their co-workers.  So over my 18 years of living with my parents we resided in Westerley, RI (twice), Monterey, CA, Charleston, SC, Orlando, FL, and Bremerton, WA.

I would say that moving around so much gave me several advantages.  First, I became very adaptable and learned how to make the most of any situation very quickly.  Whether it was friendships, schools, sports I played, or activities I was involved in I knew that I only had three years to blend in and have fun.  Second, I learned to appreciate many different cultures, attitudes, and academic pursuits throughout my young life.  In some ways, the world was my oyster and I learned to suck up as much of the culture as I could in the short time I had in each city.  It has made me far more appreciative of just how big the United States is and how, in many ways, it is really multiple cultures and countries within one large border.  What was true for culture was also true of sports, where at various points in my life I learned to love (American) football, basketball, hockey, and NASCAR.

This upbringing would serve me well once I left the house.  I went to university in Pittsburgh, PA, and my eclectic upbringing led me to pursue a Mechanical Engineering and Public Policy double major.  The public policy portion of my degree would also expose me to statistics for the first time in my life, and I fell in love instantly.  I was certainly pre-disposed to numbers being in pursuit of a mechanical engineering degree, but the world of statistics seemed to be a wonderful way to explain so many things.

Graduating in 2001, it was time to move again.  This time it was to the suburbs of Detroit, where I began work designing engines for Ford Motor Company.  While I learned what it meant to be a professional engineer, I continued to nurture my side interest in statistics.  By 2006 I was in Ford's Six Sigma Black Belt training program.  A year later, I was a certified Black Belt having closed four design projects for annual savings of more than $4M.  I had found a way to blend my love for engineering with my love for statistics. At this point statistics came to consume my life.

By 2007 I moved back to the Pacific Northwest to take a job closer to the rest of my family.  It was a fateful decision, as by 2009 the Seattle Sounders FC had started play in MLS.  The city had just lost its NBA team in the summer of 2008, and both they and I were looking for a franchise to own as something that was authentically Seattle.  While I certainly realized many benefits of having such a transient childhood, one of the liabilities of such an upbringing is the inability to never identify with a local sports teams.  Every place we went I was a late comer to a team's fanbase, and I knew I would be leaving in a few years anyways so how could I form any deep ties to a team?  Moving back to a city I knew I would likely spend many years in and a club who was forming a new identity in a new league afforded me my first opportunity in my 28 years of life to form deep ties with a team.

After falling in love with the Sounders during their inaugural MLS season, I turned to Arsenal to fill my need for soccer during the North American offseason.  By the spring of 2010 I felt the need to explore my love for the game further, and thus this blog was born.  Over two years I have been able to able to delve into many statistical topics, and have found great partners in The Tomkins Times, the Transfer Price Index, and Howler Magazine.  Since May 2012 I have been a contributor to the Lifestyle section of Forbes.com.

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