#SJW2020: The brain behind the game

Mishra analyzing soccer matches

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Shriya Vanparia

Coppell High School senior Abhishek Mishra writes analyses for professional soccer leagues on Total Football Analysis. Despite not being paid for the hours of work he spends analyzing each match, Mishra dedicates his time to this website because of his love for the game and fascination with thinking like professional coaches.

By Karen Lu, Coppell High School

In a split second, a soccer player kicks the ball into the goal. Cheers erupt from the stands; grins spread across the coach’s face. But how exactly did they score? What was the strategy behind the play?

Coppell High School senior Abhishek Mishra is a match analyst for soccer matches on Total Football Analysis, originally writing for Football Bloody Hell in February last year before moving up to the next level to analyze bigger matches. Total Football Analysis provides analyses of matches, players and coaches and also provides a monthly, subscription-based magazine.

“When I do tactical analysis, I’ll go through the whole match, find the tactics for each team,” Mishra said. “Then I’ll write about them, write about how one team overcame the other team’s tactics, their weaknesses and strengths.”

Mishra became interested in analyzing matches after scrolling through Twitter and seeing post-show videos of professional league previous coaches and players analyzing the match.

“I saw on the Twitter feed a post looking for new writers from Total Football Analysis,” Mishra said. “At first I was kind of scared because I didn’t really know about it. I started studying tactics and after I got the courage, I wrote a sample piece and [Total Football Analysis] thought it was strong enough to be included in the squad.”

On a weekly basis, Mishra writes analyses for professional soccer leagues such as MLS (American), Premier League (English), LaLiga (Spanish), Serie A (Italian) and Bundesliga (German). A typical analysis starts with a match on Friday and a deadline on Monday at 4 a.m. British time. After receiving the match footage, Mishra puts it at double speed and reviews the entire match. Once he pieces together the match into its overall significance and writes the analysis, he goes back to find pictures for creating diagrams before getting his piece edited.

To date, Mishra has completed upwards of 50 articles, each taking around seven to eight hours. Despite the hundreds of hours he has put into this website, Mishra is not paid for his work.

Instead, he writes these analyses simply because he loves to do it.

“I’ve always been a lifelong soccer fan,” Mishra said. “And after starting to write about tactics, I realized the stuff I was writing about was basically the viewpoints of the coaches themselves. I wrote this one piece that was a tactical preview of what tactics I thought the coaches were going to use. I found that whatever I wrote, the coaches actually ended up doing that. It really excited me that the way I was thinking mirrored the way these top level coaches were thinking.”

Mishra hopes to continue writing match analyses , eventually leveling up to the tier where he regularly writes and gets paid for analyzing a specific team.

“I want to be at a level where I’m confident enough to reach out to small level European clubs,” Mishra said. “For these smaller teams, it’s a real asset for them to have someone like me working for their club to help improve their quality and defeat rivals.”

This story was originally published on Coppell Student Media on February 28, 2020.