« on: December 30, 2013, 02:04:43 pm »
Ryan makes some great observations and points. I would supplement with some addition comments.
Like most years, the NSCAA placed much more than 11 players on their second and third three teams. This year they went to 15 players on those teams for a total of 41 All-Americans. At D3soccer.com we have decided to stick to just 11 players per team for a total of 33 All-Americans. So, the NSCAA honored 8 more players which means a player on the NSCAA third team who missed out on the D3soccer.com teams may have been similarly rated, but there simply wasn't as many spots available. And I'm not sure how much regional balance matters to the NSCAA, but by giving themselves the extra spots it would be easier to acheive that balance.
Also like most years, the NSCAA teams honor a disproportionate number of forwards. Each of their teams has as many or more forwards as midfielders and defenders (1st Team 3-3-4, 2nd Team 4-5-5), 3rd Team 3-5-6), this despite the most common playing formations being some sort of 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 in which there are not more forwards. At D3soccer.com we try to keep to our distribution between the positions close to that used in reality, meaning the odds of being honored are basically equal for all positions instead of forwards having a better chance and defenders less of a chance. The D3soccer.com teams usually end up with a 4-4-2, 4-3-3. or 3-4-3 formation/distribution, and in four years have never had more forwards than the other positions.
The above two points needs to be kept in mind when comparing who the NSCAA honored but D3soccer.com did not. For example, the combination of those two difference resulted in the NSCAA honoring 15 forwards this year while D3soccer.com honored 9 forwards.
It has been mentioned that the D3soccer.com teams seemed to heavily favor players on tournament teams. And Ryan mentioned the difference in process (the NSCAA developing regional teams first as the basis for the AA teams, while the D3soccer.com teams are done on strictly a national basis) which impacts this considerably, but the other big factor and difference is the timing of the nominations and vote. Nominations for the NSCAA awards need to be made prior to the the NCAA tournament getting underway, with the vote overlapping with the NCAA Sectionals (opening midweek before and closing midweek after) with the regular season generally being the basis for the award. For a variety of factors, voting for the D3soccer.com teams has thus far always occurred after the NCAA tournament with nominations, even if starting prior to the Final Four, continuing through the Final Four. So, inevitably, how teams and players fare in the tournament does inevitably impact/influence the D3soccer.com teams. However, we have always considered and included non-tournament participants. I'm not sure if the 2013 D3soccer.com teams contained a higher percentage of tournament participants than the previous three years or not. It does seem like the results gravitated to the big teams/ranked teams a little more this year than the past couple years. Not really sure why, but just the way it came out this year. In 2012 the D3soccer.com teams had players from Lake Forest, Dubuque, Centre, Hiram, Colorado, Union, and Vassar, for example. In 2011 Manhattanville, Oglethorpe, Thomas More, Medaille, Case Western, Hope, Luther, and Rutgers-Camden were represented. We didn't have much of that type of representation this year.