Why are you ranking youth club lacrosse teams?

Created in June 2018, US Club Lax began with a mission to create a centralized database of club lacrosse information, tournaments, rankings, historical data and more. A second mission has since sprouted: using the rankings to improve the competitiveness of club lacrosse by helping teams and tournaments schedule appropriate competition. Creating a competitive environment on the field, which fosters player development and makes lacrosse more enjoyable for all parties involved, is crucial to the long-term growth of the sport. No coach, parent or player wants to spend their hard earned money to travel across the country to experience a blowout win or loss.

Why did US Club Lax change their algorithm?

Once we noticed that the founder of Laxpower and founder of MYHockey Rankings combined their 40+ years of experience in ranking youth sports to create the current trusted High School State ranking system through LaxNumbers.com, it only made sense for US Club Lax to adapt a tested and trusted algorithm. The new algorithm is considered by high school lacrosse governing bodies, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, the Alberta Lacrosse Association and USA Hockey to be the gold standard in youth sports rankings for the past 20 years. The change will also provide the lacrosse community with a consistent ratings system between high school and club lacrosse.

How does US Club Lax compute its rankings?

Like Laxpower’s and Laxnumber’s power rating algorithm, US Club Lax’s ratings are mathematically computed based on game results in the system with no subjective weighting or human input. All games count equally over the course of a season. Using only game results, US Club Lax's algorithm computes an overall average performance rating for teams based on how teams perform against other teams and the strength of a team’s opponents. A team's overall rating then determines a team's ranking position based on the national, regional, state, and/or sub-state ranking categories a team is placed in. A team's overall rating is typically not reflective of the team's best or worst games, but a mathematically computed average performance rating that translates game results into a numeric representation of a team’s performance.

What does each of the columns on the ratings page mean?

Rank - the team’s national ranking for the age level they’ve been placed in.  This is simply computed by sorting teams that qualify for the rankings by having played at least the minimum number of games required to be ranked USClubLax.com, and applying a ranking in descending order of rating.  

Team - the unique team name as assigned by USClubLax.com.  Logos, when available, are also provided.

State - the state that the team/club is based out of.  National teams are typically listed without a state.

Rating - the team rating, the sum of AGD and SCHED columns for the team.

Record - the team’s wins-loses-ties record as represented by games recorded in USClubLax.com.  The tie(s) field is optional and if the number of tied games is zero the field generally doesn’t appear and record is represented as simply win-loss.  Any missing games for a team should be submitted thru our Game Score Entry form.

AGD - the average goal differential (AGD) of the team is a positive or negative number that equals goals for (GF) minus goals against (GA) divided by games played (GP) with a maximum of plus or minus the maximum goal differential (10) for any one game.

SCHED - the average strength of schedule (SCHED) of all opponents is computed by simply computing a mathematically average for all opponent ratings.  

Links - links to any team website or social media accounts for the team.

More information on an individual team’s AGD and SCHED can be found by clicking the “Rating Math” tab on their team info page once the rankings have been turned live.

Does US Club Lax use a maximum goal differential?

Yes. It uses a maximum goal differential of 10, just like LaxNumbers.com and LaxPower. A maximum game goal differential of 10 can "penalize" teams that blow out weak opponents on a consistent basis, but this is common in rating systems as it takes away the incentive for teams to run up scores and allows them to have a bad game by capping the mathematical damage.

What does a team’s overall rating number mean?

 A team’s overall rating is used to understand the relative competitiveness of two different teams. A 1.0 point differential between two teams equates to a theoretical goal 1.0 goal advantage for the higher ranked team. If Team A is rated 85.00 and Team B is rated 80.00, then Team A would be expected to win by 5 goals in a matchup from a mathematical perspective. The “Rating Math” tab on each team’s team info page breaks down how each performance impacted a team on a game-by-game basis.

Do head-to-head matchups influence the rankings?

Yes and no. Every game counts equally so a head to head match-up impacts the rankings as much as every other game a team has played. At the end of the season, virtually every team has beaten at least one team ranked ahead of them in the rankings and lost to at least one team ranked behind them in the rankings. Yes, it may seem wrong, but a team that you have a winning record against can be ranked ahead of you. It is all in mathematics. It depends on who else your team has played and how well you did as well as who the other team has played and how well they did. Over the course of the season there will be some anomalies. Sometimes a team simply matches up well against an opponent but has not necessarily performed better than them over a whole season's body of work.

How can a team with a worse record be ranked ahead of us?

A team’s record is not always a good indicator of a team’s performance on the field. A team’s record ignores the margin of victory (or loss) and quality of opponent factors. In essence, not all wins and losses are created equal.

We went undefeated at our last tournament or didn’t play in a tournament this week, but our rating went down. How does this happen?

Your rating can go down even though your team wins. This can happen for a couple different reasons. First, if your team is rated 3.0 points (1 point = 1 goal) better than your opponent and you win two close games by 1 goal each, your average goal differential (AGD) is +1.0 against a team that it was expected to be +3.0. This would likely have a negative impact on your rating. Another scenario has you doing as expected against your opponent, but a large percentage of the teams you played earlier in the season doing unexpectedly bad. This lowers your strength of schedule and would lower your team's rating. It is almost impossible to guess how much and in what direction your rating will move each week due to the sheer number of teams and the complexity of the math.

Additional Notes: New teams continue to be added to the system each week. Teams ranked in the middle of the pack early in the season may fall 100 spots by the end of the season while improving, simply because the number of teams added to US Club Lax increases over time. It might be best to compare your team to others in your league or geographic area and see if your rating improves relative to theirs. With so many variables from various teams that can impact the rankings, we encourage everyone to go to the "Rating Math" tab on each team's info page that explains the math behind each game result and if it positively or negatively impacted a team.

How accurate can this be?

In general, the algorithm starts producing accurately as teams start getting 10+ games under their belts. It only continues to get more accurate as more games are entered into the system. More data = better rankings. The algorithm is extremely accurate computing an objective average performance rating for all teams based on the game results in the system. There can be, however, some occasional exceptions.

If a group of teams (i.e. geographic area, league, tournament, etc) doesn't have any games in the system outside the initial subset, their overall rating and ranking placement relative to all other teams cannot be accurately determined. Their rating and ranking placement relative to one another within the subset is still accurate, however. Groups of teams with limited outside play can be inaccurately skewed by the few game results connecting them to all other teams, which might not be representative of the group's overall ability. Accuracy significantly increases with more games and more interplay.

Assuming teams are accurately tied together through interplay, it is possible for inaccuracies to still exist. This is common in youth sports ranking systems that do not account for every little detail like ranking systems at the college and pro levels. Some teams play differently (a lot differently) depending upon which goalie is in net for a specific game. In this case, the ratings average out the play and may not completely reflect either scenario. Missing players, home vs. away, suspensions, and double rostered players are a few other scenarios that could influence the accuracy of the ratings. It is not always an exact science due to many moving parts. Since all games throughout the season count equally, a team’s overall rating, which is an average of all games played, may not always reflect a team's true playing ability on the field.

Why does US Club Lax organize and rank teams by graduation year and not by birth year?

US Club Lax follows the format of graduation year to stay consistent with many tournament formats and college recruiting.

When does the Club Lax Season start and end?

Since most club teams host their tryouts at the end of the summer, the Club Lax season begins in September and runs through August.

How can I fix an incorrect game result, missing game result or team information?

Team officials can fix an incorrect game result or scheduled game through their team official portal. Non-team officials can click the red check mark in the "Fix" column next to the game result or scheduled game to submit a game score correction request if a game result or scheduled game is listed incorrectly. Please provide documentation from a tournament result website page that has the correct score posted. If the score is a duplicate, especially an incorrect duplicate, make sure you request that we delete the duplicate score. If the score is under the wrong club team name, please specify how to differentiate the teams moving forward.

Do you have any tips to help users navigate the public site?

Yes, here are a couple hints to give you the full power of US Club Lax’s rankings. Any team name is clickable and will take you to that team's team info page and game results. On the team info page, all ranking categories, state rankings, groups and divisions/conferences are also clickable. When viewing scores, each opponent's team info page is just a click away. For example, if you are viewing the game scores of Team X and they played Team Y, you can view Team Y's game scores by simply clicking on Team Y's name. Teams with websites or social media accounts linked in US Club Lax will have a corresponding icon in the last column of the rankings. Simply click the corresponding icon to view their team website or social media pages.