#6 WWC23 STARTING XI BEHIND THE TEAMS: SKYE REYMOND
Name: Skye Reymond
Industry Position: Director of Data Science
Organization/ Team: United States Soccer Federation
What’s your favorite thing about working in soccer?
I love that working in soccer keeps me connected to the sport that has played such a large role in shaping who I am today. As a former player and coach, I know first-hand the life-changing experiences soccer can offer. Now, in my role with USSF, I have the unique opportunity to contribute to the soccer community on a broader scale. It’s incredibly fulfilling using data to help inform decisions that can further the reach and impact of soccer, making it more accessible and enjoyable for the next generation.
What are you most excited about for the 2023 Women’s World Cup?
I’m extremely excited to watch our US Women’s team chase history in an attempt to win three world cups in a row! And for the opportunities for growth that come with national team success on a world stage. Reflecting on my own soccer journey, some of the most inspiring moments have been watching our women’s team win previous World Cups. This tournament presents an incredible opportunity to harness those inspirational moments to propel soccer forward and engage more people in the sport.
You’re a Director of Data Science; what are your top 3 priorities for World Cup preparations?
The main priorities for our data science team during the World Cup are to gather relevant data, develop accurate predictive models, and deliver actionable insights to our internal teams. We draw data from various third-party sources, making data collection, storage, and cleaning vital steps before modeling. Our models aim to predict customer behavior to help guide internal decisions. We want to answer questions like: Which stadiums should host our send-off matches to maximize attendance? What merchandise should we recommend to fans based on their historical purchases? Which fans will most likely join our Insiders Program throughout the World Cup? Ultimately, these informed decisions driven by data can play an important role in expanding the sport’s popularity and reach during the World Cup and beyond!
What advice would you give someone who wants to become a Data Scientist in the soccer industry?
For any data scientist role, it’s important to have strong foundations in math and statistics and to be proficient in programming languages like Python, and R. A data scientist has to embrace continuous learning – the tools and methods are constantly evolving. For someone wanting to work in the soccer industry, I recommend finding projects to work on that are soccer-related where you can build hands-on experience and show interest in the sport. For example, you get a soccer-related internship, do contract work, or do side projects on publicly available datasets. Don’t be afraid to apply for a job, even if you feel underqualified or lack previous experience in the soccer industry. Highlight your transferable skills, such as a modeling project you’ve executed in your current role or a technical project you completed on your own time. Nobody knows everything there is to know about data science, but the ability to learn, problem-solve, and implement new skills is what can set someone apart.
What impact do you think more women and unrepresented folks working in soccer will have on equity in the industry?
It’s so fun to watch what is happening in women’s soccer right now. From the U.S. Women playing at a sold-out Wembley stadium last October to record-breaking ticket sales for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, it’s clear that the women’s game is steadily growing in popularity. While progress for equality on the field is ongoing, it’s equally important to maintain this focus across the entire soccer industry, including those working within it. Soccer attracts passionate fans from various cultures and backgrounds in a way that distinguishes it from all other sports. By reflecting this diverse fan base and embracing inclusivity, the soccer industry can foster growth by drawing in top talent that may otherwise go unnoticed, creating an environment where diverse perspectives become a powerful driver for progress both on and off the field.
Skye, thanks for sharing such awesome insights into your data world!
This WWC23 Starting XI Behind The Teams spotlight is brought to you by Women in Soccer in partnership with Talisman & Co.