As we all know scouting is becoming more and more popular but it is still a “grey” area inside the soccer industry. In contrast to other soccer areas of expertise and even to other sports, soccer scouting was non-existent or stagnated in time with a very “amateur” way for a game that is the most popular sport all around the world and which makes millions every year with transfers where scouting has a crucial role.
So the one million-dollar question is: How to become a soccer Scout?
I am going to provide some tips and some advice for the ones that wish to become soccer scouts and work inside the soccer industry. This can be a long and certainly a continuous journey as we are constantly learning but that with some aspects that I will mention it can make it a better and more joyful journey and you can be closer to becoming a soccer scout.
First of all and most important thing is you understand if you are willing to go through this process with joy, passion, patience and dedication. Ask yourself: Is this really the area of expertise inside soccer that I want to follow?
If the answer is positive, let’s move forward!
Soccer scouting is divided in two main areas; talent identification and individual player assessment which both have subdivisions but for now let’s focus on these two main ones.
Talent identification to simplify and like the name says by itself is to identify a player or players with present and future potential. It is usually done inside a group of players what It can be in a match, in a training, in a tournament or even at the park. Inside scouting this is the first step and usually it’s something that any soccer enthusiast likes to do automatically when watching a match or a kid playing at the park. Who didn’t hear someone saying:
The other day I saw a player that is fabulous, he will be the next Cristiano Ronaldo, you must go and watch him.”
So we can say that it’s innate to the majority of the soccer enthusiasts and even people inside soccer that have other roles rather than scouts, we all have a scout “spirit.” What is important is to distinguish what is a first impression and what is to be a scout. A scout goes deeper, and digs as much as he can, to gather as much information and details about that same player. Has a sensibility to understand a innumerous number of aspects that can only be seen with experience and knowledge, not with special eyes, but knowing what to look at.
So now that we have at least one player in our shortlist, we can talk about the other division of scouting that is an individual player assessment. To watch a single player in a match context (the most recommended way) where our eyes are only focused on that specific player, on his several individual skills that are also divided in different aspects, but also on his numerous actions during a match, collective and individual.
Now we can possess a broader and deeper idea of the player’s profile although in most of the cases it’s still not wide enough so as many more times we have the chance to see that player and in different contexts, more close we are to have a more accurate result.
This process is pretty much the same and applicable to youth soccer and to senior soccer either amateur or professional.
As you can see this is something you can do anywhere without any or very low initial costs. You can issue your first reports to gain experience, to find your own style, to understand if that’s something you like and if you want to invest in it and give the next step.
Like in any other area of expertise, these days you can obtain an almost infinite amount of information online. Searching, reading and choosing good sources are a great scouting exercise. Scouting your own mentor or mentors is very useful and inspiring for the path.
Reading books, articles, interviews from experienced people gives you more tools and knowledge, what is never too much, diverse approaches and ideas are always great so gives you more options, makes you think and allows you to find your own style.
All these steps are essential despite your previous experience and soccer knowledge but for the ones that are having their first contact with soccer scouting the base of everything is to understand the game, to learn how to “read” the game and to decode it, the different moments inside the same match. For this and again, like in any other area it’s crucial to watch as many matches you can, ask questions to yourself and consider all the possible answers. Ideally a mixture or live and video matches. In this case I also recommend you to look at match analysis material.
Therefore as you can see that to initiate you don’t need much, you need passion, dedication and persistence above all.
In the upcoming articles I will deliver you some more tips that can be useful for you to improve and to start to get involved in scouting if that’s your desire and goal.
In a meanwhile, take a look at our Soccer Scouting online courses: Soccer Scouting