Kent is a sophomore at Harvard, concentrating in statistics (Harvard Athletics).
PORTLAND, Ore. – Many teams at the professional and collegiate levels rely highly on analytics in making a plethora of different decisions. The Harvard men's soccer program is no different, and the team's analytics expert, sophomore Brendan Kent, has been hired by the Portland Timbers as a soccer data analyst.
Kent, whose work was recently featured on MLSSoccer.com, works in scouting potential transfer targets for the Timbers, and, while on campus at Harvard, has helped to develop an evaluation tool with the coaching staff to track player performance in games and practice. Kent works heavily with sophomore Nathan Goldberg on the project.
"Brendan and Nathan have been tremendous in providing statistical breakdowns to the staff and the players after games and trainings," said Pieter Lehrer, the Virginia B. and James O. Welch, Jr. '52 Head Coach for Harvard Men's Soccer. "They have alerted us to trends in the team that are positive, and they have highlighted areas that we must address with our training sessions to make improvements within the team."
"Working with the Harvard team has been a great opportunity for me to learn about the coaching side of soccer, which is something I did not have much exposure to prior to joining the program," said Kent. "While my specialty is the data side of soccer, I believe it's important to understand the qualitative side as well, because the context of the statistics is just as important as the statistics themselves."
"Working with the great coaches we have here has absolutely improved my understanding of the game and has made me a better data analyst."
Kent's work was pivotal in helping Portland win its first MLS Cup in 2015, and Harvard in posting a second-place Ivy League finish for the second time in the past three years.