What is a Football Scout and How Do They Work?
In a nutshell, football scouts attend grassroots football matches in order to look for the most talented players, who can fit into pro academy teams.
The role of football scouts is more than just providing that next superstar. Scouts should always tell parents that there are no guarantees for the selected players to manage expectations. Much of everything comes down to the hard work of the child, the commitment of the parents and the players desire to learn and keep improving their game. If a player is invited for a trial, there will be other talented players trying to express themselves to be noticed at the same time. Some pro clubs may offer between two or three trials to determine whether they want to sign a player.
What do Football Scouts look for?
This is a very commonly asked question that parents and young players always ask themselves. Well, scouts looking for many different things in players – not just their technical abilities, but also many other things such as their mentality, attitude, behaviour as well. Three key things scouts look for are awareness, mental skills and movement!
Football scouts will collect intelligence on behalf of the club he/she works for and then provide feedback. For example like a game of chess, scouts like the fact that intelligent players are always looking for space. The movement of these players is very important and offensive-minded players, usually catch the eye. Players who show a desire to create opportunities for others and who think three or four moves ahead are exciting players for clubs to work with.
In addition, a football scout may consider all of the following:
Background and Family – The family unit and support of the player is important in order to reach the top level in football.
Personality – Can the player show determination, hunger, passion and psychological stability? This will be to play at a high level where there is intense pressure.
Team Relationship – This is looked at as an important ingredient in a good player. The way the player supports and helps their teammates effectively.
Tactics – Does the player have enough tactical awareness to help teammates secure a win?
Technique – Does the player have a good variety of skills and good technique?
The largest part of the role of a scout is travelling to the matches and observing. Video scouting is something that is now becoming more common in today’s grassroots football.
The Two Main Football Scouting Roles
Tactical Scout – The Job of a tactical scout is to watch competitive matches of their opponents. This is because scouts need to report back to their club on their observations to provide tactical advantages when they meet.
Talent Spotters – These talent spotters attend matches with a view to recruiting young players. They usually attend tournament football matches and also grassroots football matches in good leagues.
Some football scouts will make it a priority to focus on just one role. Some scouting networks will focus on both roles, which will depend on the requirement of their client. With the increasing use of technology in the game today, some scouts working for Premier League Clubs are provided with this technology.
This data analysis will make it easier for clubs to analyse how they choose good players that they’d like to make stars for their own clubs.
How to become a Football Scout
The role of football scouts nowadays is different from how it used to be, many years ago. In the past, there was no need for qualifications, but as the game has evolved, this is now a minimum requirement. To professionalize the game, scouts now take scouting qualifications in order to familiarize themselves with the required criteria to join the scouting network of high-end clubs.
There are many different courses for scouting:
- The FA Level 1 Course – An Introduction to Talent Identification in Football
- The FA Level 2 Course – In Talent identification in Football
- The FA Level 3 Course – In advanced principles of Talent Identification in Football
- The FA Level 4 Course – In talent Management, Strategy and leadership in Football
- The FA Level 5 Course – For Technical Directors
Whilst there are many different types of courses available, you are unlikely to need a qualification above Level 2. There is an alternative Scouting qualification which also provides a range of courses which are widely recognised in clubs all over Europe and beyond. This is called the International Professional Scouting Organisation (IPSO) and it’s widely recognised within the football scouts network.
There are other scouting alternatives to Ipso and The FA but in our opinion, you get what you pay for and to our knowledge, IPSO provides a better course than the Football Association Website for two reasons. The first reason is that Ipso courses are internationally recognised and are valuable outside of the United Kingdom and secondly, the knowledge provided by IPSO is above and beyond what the FA provides to its members.
Football Scout Jobs
There are many ways to get into scouting Jobs by way of different avenues. For scouting jobs the roles aren’t always the same, as different clubs will require targets that aren’t too similar to your own.
Sometimes clubs have had reports of a particular player playing in either an academy game our tournament, but there could also be other scouts watching the same player. In grassroots football, the word gets around quite quickly with specific players and the scout may end up going to two or three games before they decide whether the player should go on trial.
Read this article: The Football Scout Code of Conduct – Guidance for Grassroots Football