If you are an active soccer fan, you already know the thrill of seeing your favorite club signing up a new player. It gets exciting if the new player is the superstar you’ve been wishing for. And that’s perhaps the reason transfer windows are some of the most anticipated events in the soccer calendar. Essentially, it’s through such windows that clubs tap into superstar players with an aim of getting ahead of their rivals.
Following a successful transfer, newspaper headlines across the globe will scream, “Sanchez Moves to United,” “Madrid Bags Ronaldo.” Yet, the real man of the moment, the soccer scout, will go unrecognized. Soccer scouts are the unsung heroes of the game. They work long hours to spot upcoming talent, sometimes in far-flung nooks and nondescript stadia.
Their skills makes a difference to a great number of people. First, the football fans across the world whose hopes of bagging trophies are renewed with every new signing. Secondly, to football clubs which benefit from the soccer player and finally to the players who get a chance to showcase their talent at the top-level.
First off, there are two main kinds of soccer scouts. The talent scout and the tactical scout. While the talent scout moves from one pitch to the other looking for gifted players, the tactical scout’s work is to watch a club’s rival as they play, with an aim of spotting mistakes and frailties that could aid his team to victory.
Here are the qualities of a soccer scout
Because they are the cog in the wheel of any club, soccer scouts should necessarily be energetic self starters. They should have sharp instincts and an outgoing personality because their job involves dealing with people with diverse backgrounds and personalities. According to Alex Enko, a Canadian soccer agent, scouts should always take a professional attitude towards their jobs, besides having a strong work ethic.
They work in the field, patiently watching football matches to find untapped talent. Because talent can be anywhere, it takes a considerable effort to spot talent. Sometimes, scouts attend small five-a-side village matches in search of raw talent. But football talent is not just about the player's ability to dribble, tackle or attack.
Soccer scouts look at many factors before narrowing down on a player. In a nutshell, here’s what they look for in a player.
1.Players ability and attitude
In football, skill is an important attribute that could change the life of a footballer. It’s also a key quality that scouts look out for in new players. How do they pass the ball, how do defenders intercept or make tackles? Is the attacker deft in their first touches, do they communicate well with other attackers? But it goes further than the skill. Scouts also look at the attitude and temperament of the players. Are they hot tampered? Will they beat up a rival after a tackle?
2.Speed and technique
Speed is another important quality in football. Strikers need it to outdo defenders, and defenders need it to keep up with attackers. Talent and technique are two different qualities. While a player might be vastly talented in dribbling, they might also stand out in how they score goals. Is it a bicycle kick technique they have perfected? Technique endears any player to the eyes of a scout.
Scouts will often pick up players who show strong mental attributes. Players who consistently prove their mental presence in the game. Scouts rarely look at players who stand still in a football pitch. Also known as “ball watchers,” these players do not show the mental strength to participate in a game of football lasting for more than 90 minutes.
If a player ticks all the above boxes, one last consideration is whether their personalities and attitudes fit into the club culture. Soccer scouts reckon that this is an important aspect that might decide the success, or failure of a new signing.
That said, the soccer scout is the pivot that keeps clubs competitive by consistently providing them with a wide pool of talent.
Where to Find More Information
A quick shout out to Alex Enko, a brand new member of Steemit and a professional soccer scout whose articles inspired this post.
Through his postings, Alex Enko shares some insights on the current happenings of the world of football. His incisive analysis on football talent, club targets and transfers are as refreshing as they are informative. If you are a Manchester United or Arsenal fan, you'll be thrilled to read his analysis on the Sanchez-Mkhitiryan swap deal and his perspective on the hot topic of Video Assisted Refereeing (VAR) technology, which is set to change the football game for good.