It’s not just the football agents that can turn your career upside down. Even with all the technology and data sources, scouts are still very important in modern football.

No technology can see what the eye of an expert scout can spot. In some cases, they have even gained in relevance so clubs and agents/agencies invest more and more money into good scouts. At Fieldoo, football marketplace for players & agents (scouts), we prepared few facts about scouts and their work.

Before we continue, we would like to distinguish between the two sorts of scouts that exist in football. The scout we will be talking about – the player scout –, can be (in one way or another) part of a football club or involved in helping an agent (agency). He regularly attends as many different games as possible with an eye on spotting hidden gems amongst the numbers of unknown players of other teams, while the role of a tactical scout is very different. The latter is almost exclusively an employee of a club and watches games of opposing teams to figure out their style of play, their weaknesses and strengths to beat them in their upcoming game.

Discover …

The player scout himself can have at least two different roles. The most common one is to view and evaluate talented young footballers and recommend them to join a club – and eventually sign professional contracts – and/or agent (agency). Scouts look for players at a very early age (even below the age of 10) and have different approaches and tactics. Scouts are notoriously known for having their (old fashioned – not to be mistaken with portable computers) “notebooks” in which they take down notes and names of potentially interesting players. Some of them then even approach the player or his parents, while others leave the club officials to do the job. Scouts can be very unpopular with clubs, especially smaller ones, as their job is inevitably connected with luring promising players to other clubs, mostly for smaller or even no compensation or transfer fee.

… and (or) evaluate

Bigger clubs and wealthier agents and agencies have a very sophisticated system when it comes to scouting players. Some have huge databases of players, which they monitor over the years. Knowing that much can change in a couple of years, when a player is still developing, they usually follow certain players with the needed attributes to succeed over a longer period of time and tend not to make their decisions immediately. They often scout out players they were alerted to by sending their scouts to games they wouldn’t scout in the first place (this mostly has to do with the costs and longer trips involved). The role of this kind of scout is to decide if it is worth signing or luring a young player to a club or not. He uses the same observation and evaluating skills as when scouting unknown players.

Agents and scouts: Friends or enemies?

Scouts and football agents can benefit from each other, but their interests can also collide. Scouts, employed by clubs, usually have no real desire for an agent to become a middle man between the player and the clubs, as that means that a part of the money involved in the transfer has to be divided into two instead of three parts. Those working with agents or agencies have a different approach: their income has much to do with successful transfers of players and the quality of data they provide to the agent.

What do you need to have to be scouted?

Although a player is a mixture of certain skills and it is impossible to decide if a player is good or not just depending on the (subjective) observations of scouts, there are certain “guidelines” featuring some of the key attributes a player in a certain position should have to make it in professional football. However, ultimately the football skills usually count for nothing without hard work, determination to succeed, a bit of luck and also a self promotion, networking where, the Football Career Network, comes in first plan; letting you show the world your real potential and to grab the attention of scouts. Do you have what it takes?