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'Moneyball' brain tries hand at soccer

By Xinhua In The Hague,netherlands | China Daily | Updated: 2015-03-19 07:27

Dutch soccer club AZ Alkmaar has attracted Billy Beane, general manager of the Major League Baseball club Oakland Athletics, for an official adviser role.

The 52-year-old Beane is going to give AZ advice in the areas of high performance and innovation.

In almost two decades as GM of the A's Beane has evaluated players based on a statistical analysis and he achieved surprising results with this method.

The low-budget A's beat the big market clubs on a regular base. Beane even became the subject of Michael Lewis' 2003 book on baseball economics, Moneyball, which was made into a 2011 film starring Brad Pitt as Beane.

"I am truly excited for the opportunity to be part of AZ Alkmaar in an advisory role," Beane said. "Despite being a great club with a storied history, it faces many of the challenges we have with the Oakland A's. My love for soccer and AZ's vision of the future of the club made this an attractive pursuit."

AZ's director of soccer, Earnest Stewart, said: "We've had a lot of contact with Billy In the last few months. His knowledge and ideas are impressive. Also Billy's soccer network is excellent. We have already noticed he thinks two steps ahead in the area of innovation. That's what really connects with the ambitions of AZ."

AZ is currently fourth in the Eredivisie, the top tier of Dutch soccer. It was Dutch champion in 1981 and 2009.


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