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If you want your son to become a pro footballer...


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...better start getting it on now!

A few weeks ago, one of our sports editors, Florian Raz, approached me with an interesting story. Apparently, birth months of professional football players are distributed unevenly over the year, with significantly more being born early in the year and less in the last quarter.

The reason for this: Junior squads, even though named after players’ age – under 15, under 17, etc. – are defined by year. Thus, a player born in December has to compete for a place in the squad against players up to 12 months older than him – quite a disadvantage at a young age. This early selection leads to an uneven distribution among those who make it.

While this has been investigated before, notably by the German Football Association in order to find ways to counter the phenomenon, we thought we could take it one step further, investigate it at a larger scale.

There’s a database called transfermarkt.de with records of more than 240’000 football players, active and retired ones, most of them complete with birth date. We scraped the data, analysed it and came up with a comprehensive view of the phenomenon for football players worldwide. The thesis is confirmed and what’s more: The distribution has become more uneven for the latest generation of football hopefuls.

Similar phenomena have been observed in other sports, perhaps most notably by Malcolm Gladwell (in Outliers) with respect to ice hockey (at least among Canadian players).

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I think a similar trend has been noted with respect to academic performance relative to birth month relative to the start of the academic year. But I understand it's pretty universal among European FAs to define the youth competitions based on age on January 1 of the year.

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December 22 - January 19



Capricorn, the tenth sign of the zodiac, is all about hard work. Those born under this sign are more than happy to put in a full day at the office, realizing that it will likely take a lot of those days to get to the top. That's no problem, since Capricorns are both ambitious and determined: they will get there. Life is one big project for these folks, and they adapt to this by adopting a businesslike approach to most everything they do. Capricorns are practical as well, taking things one step at a time and being as realistic and pragmatic as possible. The Capricorn-born are extremely dedicated to their goals, almost to the point of stubbornness. Those victories sure smell sweet, though, and that thought alone will keep Capricorns going.





November 22 - December 21


Sagittarius, the ninth sign of the zodiac, is the home of the wanderers of the zodiac. It's not a mindless ramble for these folks, either. Sagittarians are truth-seekers, and the best way for them to do this is to hit the road, talk to others and get some answers. Knowledge is key to these folks, since it fuels their broad-minded approach to life. The Sagittarian-born are keenly interested in philosophy and religion, and they find that these disciplines aid their internal quest. At the end of the day, what Sagittarius wants most is to know the meaning of life, and to accomplish this while feeling free and easy.




Sagittarians aren't sporty. There's your answer. 

Edited by Con
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