Over the weekend I devoted some time to developing a formula for calculating club and domestic league coefficients for CONCACAF. I did it to amuse myself (okay, I'm amused by some very odd things!) and to address what I haven't seen previously in the CONCACAF community. One application of these coefficients is the ranking of clubs and leagues within the region; another is allocation of slots for future editions of the CONCACAF Champions League. The latter application is what really motivates the creation of these coefficients.
I am aware that there is a website that comes out with rankings of the top clubs in CONCACAF. From what I can tell it uses data from domestic and international results, and it considers leagues that have placed teams in the Champions' Cup proper over the past five seasons. I'm not sure how well goal difference correlates with league position, and I don't see a discussion of how league position is weighted by the league's strength regionally. The formula isn't published, so I don't want to criticize the rankings too much. It might be useful to first order, but I'd like to see more.
My coefficient formula is modeled after the UEFA coefficients that are used to determine the number of slots per country for continental competitions and the seedings of the participating clubs. In the previous CONCACAF Champions' Cups, the two representatives from the USA and Mexico had byes into the quarterfinal round and did not have to play in any preliminary competition. The challenge is to develop a formula that doesn't skew the results toward the clubs that have played many more matches (and accumulated a lot more points) while giving credit to those clubs that have advanced from the preliminary rounds to the latter stages of the Champions' Cup. With the Champions League, the preliminary round will work differently, so there will be a transition period required.
Anyway, I look solely at results from the Champions' Cup and its preliminary competitions (Copa UNCAF, CFU Club Championship) over the past five years. I assign two points for a win and one point for a draw, and I do not consider goal differential, third-place playoff matches or walkover matches unless CONCACAF gives a 3-0 result. I also give bonus points for advancing to the next round of the preliminary competitions (+1) or the Champions' Cup proper (+2). So the winner of the competition gets +4/+8 bonus points, runner-up receives +3/+6, the other two semifinalists +2/+4, and the quarterfinal losers +1/+2 bonus points. Points received in the preliminary rounds are multiplied by 0.25, and points won in the Champions' Cup get full weight. The reason for introducing bonus points and different weightings are twofold: (1) to eliminate the scenario where one club scores more points than another in a preliminary competition despite the second club advancing further, and (2) to underscore the importance of results in the Champions' Cup. So the formula can be summarized as follows:
Club Coefficient = 0.25*(Points in Preliminary Round + Bonus Points in Preliminary Round) + 1.0*(Points in Champions Cup/League + Bonus Points in Champions Cup/League)
You can compute the coefficient for a particular season and sum the last five, or sum all the points from the previous five seasons and compute the coefficient. I use the European season, so 2005-06 corresponds to 2005 CFU or UNCAF preliminary competitions for the 2006 CONCACAF Champions Cup.
So here is the list of the top ten clubs in CONCACAF competitions over the last five seasons, according to my ranking.
1. Deportivo Saprissa
2. CF Pachuca
3. DC United
4. LD Alajuelense
5. Club América
6. CF Monterrey
7. Houston Dynamo
9. Toluca FC
10. Chivas Guadalajara
As you might expect, the top ten has a strong Mexican content, with the Big Two in Costa Rica and the two clubs in MLS that have made the most headway in CONCACAF competitions. The clubs in positions 11-20 are more evenly distributed from throughout the region. There is a big gap between the 12 teams that are regular participants in the Champions' Cup, and another big gap between the 26 clubs that have been in the Champions' Cup proper and those that have never made it past the preliminary competitions.
Now that I have a database of competition data, I need to calculate national league coefficients and use those statistics to refine the club coefficients. I hope to present those results soon, as well as the spreadsheet containing the raw data, but for now I really need some sleep!