Managers in soccer face a critical in-game decision concerning player substitutions. While past research has investigated the overall effect of various strategy changes during the course of a match, no studies have focused solely on the crucial element of timing. This paper uses the data mining technique of decision trees to develop a decision rule to guide managers on when to make each of their three substitutes in a match. The proposed decision rule demonstrates between 38% and 47% effectiveness when followed versus 17% and 24% effectiveness when not followed based on over 1200 observations collected from some of the world’s top professional leagues and competitions.
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