Can the hero of 'Moneyball' make a successful transition from baseball to soccer?

The club’s front office has heavy American ties and has turned to the Oakland Athletics’ general manager to help out.

Billy Beane was the protagonist of the move 'Moneyball'.
Billy Beane was the protagonist of the move 'Moneyball'.

OAKLAND A’S GENERAL manager Billy Beane has accepted an advisory role with Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar.

He will provide input “in the areas of high performance and innovation”.

“We’ve had a lot of contact with Billy In the last few months,” AZ director of football Earnie Stewart said in a statement.

“His knowledge and ideas are impressive. Also Billy’s soccer network is excellent. We have already noticed that Billy thinks two steps ahead in the area of innovation. That’s what really connects with the ambitions of AZ.”

Beane became a trailblazer in the baseball world when he used sabermetrics to evaluate players, which helped propel the A’s to obtain relatively undervalued players and be cost-effective with a small payroll.

He was the subject of the 2003 Michael Lewis book Moneyball and the 2011 film of the same name starring Brad Pitt.

Stewart, a former U.S. national team player who has been with AZ for four years, took his front office to see “Moneyball” when it opened in theatres.

“AZ was already very interested in the ‘Moneyball’ principle before I got here,” AZ’s general director Robert Eenhoorn, who played in the majors for the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels, said in a statement.

“I have known Billy for a while, because of my history in baseball. When we approached him for this role with AZ, he was immediately enthusiastic.

“He has been able to close the gap with the big-market teams, by being innovative. We are very excited and look forward to work with him. Billy will give his advice from the States and he will visit Alkmaar a few times a year.”

Beane, who still has a contract with the A’s through 2019, does not seem to mind pulling double duty.

“I am truly excited for the opportunity to be part of AZ Alkmaar in an advisory role,” Beane said in a statement.

“Despite being a great football club with a storied history, they face many of the challenges we have with the Oakland A’s.

“My love for football and AZ’s vision of the future of the club made this an attractive pursuit.”

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