From the youth academy to the first team, is a hard process and football is not easy. It takes many skills but also a great mental capacity to get to the top football. And for scouts, it’s equally hard to discover football stars or the next generation of big footballers.
It’s important that you watch, since the beginning, the bottom ages of the youth academy from clubs around you, to get to know more about the reality of youngsters and those who stand out from everyone else.
Football is more than just dribbling and awesome skills you see on Youtube: Some players don’t even know how to dribble and still make it to the top. See the example of Modric. He’s top ability is not dribbling, but passing and the position he takes on the field, whether is to defend, whether is for attacking.
The tactical perspective is more important in a player observation than any individual skills that he might have. The understanding of the space in the field, the way and where he/she moves when passes the ball, how he/she position to defend, and other tactical skills are very important when it comes down to make it to the first team.
Those understandings comes with practice and can be learned by the player, with the assistance of the coach. But some individual aspects need to be considered also, when it comes down to scout a player: The way he receives the ball and brakes down the defense (Attacking), the way he covers colleagues and position him/herself to get the ball (Defensive) and the way he/she understands the importance of possession and what makes with it (Midfield).
Like Jonathan Rabin, Director of The 3T Group, said to DiscountFootballKits website, being a football scout “is not a good career choice simply because there are very few who get paid for it, let alone receive a decent wage. It is a great job though, as you get to watch a lot of football and can be proud of the fact you have potentially uncovered a future for someone else.”
Daniel Karbassiyoon is an American former professional soccer player who played for English sides like Arsenal, and explained in a article the skills you need to have to be a scout.
Pick a game, pick a player, and watch everything he does in that game. Make notes about his technical ability, his movement off the ball, his contributions when his team are defending, how he reacts to different situations, and everything in between. Really do your best to create a profile of that player based off that one game.
The following week, do it again. Try to watch a player in different environments against different types of opponents. How does that player do when his side are down a goal away from home? Does he go into a shell or does he relish those moments? Really understanding a player means watching that player over and over in different circumstances. Take notes and make organized reports.
Just like any job, networking is huge and can lead to exciting opportunities if done properly. Many will say ‘no’ or fail to even respond, but building relationships locally, nationally, and of course internationally will not only help get your name out there, but also help you understand the landscape even better.
For example, showing a youth team coach you are passionate about the field can be as simple as scouting next week’s opposition and providing a report about that team’s best player. Do it enough times, do it well, and provide value, and you’ll soon begin building trust with that coach. It may not lead to something directly, but you could always ask to use him as a reference if another opportunity emerges elsewhere.
Perhaps starting at a smaller club and proving your worth on a smaller scale can be more valuable than shooting for the bigger clubs right out of the gates.
What matters most in the world of scouting is being on top of your region and always being able to identify players that could help make an impact at your club if brought in. Personally, I was lucky to have my link with the Club because of my time as a player. I’d formed a positive relationship with them that ended up paying off when it was time for me to hang up my boots. Although that connection certainly helped getting me back in front of Arsenal’s technical staff, I had to quickly show that I was competent in what I was doing in what I’ve learned to be a very cut-throat industry.