Abstract for: “Two Subsystems of Eleven Elements”: System Dynamics and Other Approaches in Modeling Association Football

This research unpacks the title’s quoted characterization of association football, made by an early student of cybernetics who became a legendary soccer manager. It identifies four nested domains of football activity that guide each action during a match and specifies the characteristics, abilities, activities and other elements within each domain. It provides examples of those domains’ causal interplay. Methodologically, it explores the contributions to understanding competitive match actions and results that systems thinking, system dynamics, agent based modeling, spatio-temporal modeling and dynamic network analysis offer. It proposes a model of competitive double loop learning to explain individual and team adjustments to match developments. It concludes that a multi-method approach is required to model competition among the two sport subsystems, in which system dynamics will play a limited role.