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How to Get Scouted – The Ultimate Guide


How to get scouted for a football team?
The rise of the football scout
What do football scouts look for?
Scout Attribute 1 - Technique
Scout Attribute 2 - Pace and Acceleration
Scout Attribute 3 - Movement
Scout Attribute 4 - Awareness
Scout Attribute 5 - Temperament
12 Tips to help you get scouted in football

How to get scouted for a football team?

Young footballers all over the globe dream of becoming a professional football player. Whether scoring a goal in the Champion’s League final, or helping your country win the world cup. Your journey will start by getting scouted. But what does it take to get scouted? And how can you prepare, to increase your chances of catching the scout's eye?

The Rise of the Football Scout

Historically, professional football clubs invite local players to open trial and talent spotting days. Coaches and scouts would assess each player. Hand picking players with raw talent or a desirable skill set. Followed by an invitation to club training, or a permanent offer.

This style of recruitment is less common for today’s top level football clubs. The majority now opt for the scouting network approach. This allows them to be more direct in identifying and pursuing the best local players. Scouts scour the country to observe training sessions and matches. Before reporting any findings back to the club or clubs. Some scouts represent more than one club, so may have several criteria to work with.

Professional clubs also run community and schools schemes. These allow them to engage with coaches and volunteers who work with grassroots players. Also, liaising with PE teachers, district and county team coaches is important. Again, for scouts to unearth grassroots football talent first.

Social media has made it easier for footballers to showcase their abilities online. Add this to a network of scouts looking for hot prospects. The consensus is; If you have what it takes, they will find you!

What do football scouts look for?

99.9% of elite football players were once assessed and approached, by a talent scout. This then lead to a trial with either a professional or semi-professional team. With this method of football recruitment now the norm, what are the key areas scouts look for in a player?

Scout Attribute 1 - Technique

A great first touch and close control is essential in the modern game. Footballers with natural ability can play with their heads up. These footballers can receive the ball and deliver a pass instantly. Decision-making skills and the ability to dictate the play in pressure situations are vital to any technical player. Scouts assess how efficient a player is in possession of the ball. Noting if they use all areas of both feet, to enable them to escape tight areas.

Skillful players are exciting and get the crowd on their feet. But their use of trickery must cohere with timing and game situation. The ability to know when to perform a trick or lend the ball to a teammate and move into space is paramount. Often players overdo tricks, resulting in slowing down the move, allowing opponents to re-shape. The general rule is to only perform tricks in attacking positions, one-on-one situations, or when isolated and need to create space.

Many young footballers can execute freestyle tricks and keep ups all day long. However, it's not until watching a player in a real game situation, that a scout will invite them to trial. Talent spotters want players to use technical ability to gain advantage for both themselves and the team. So, keep it simple, get the basics right, and natural talent will shine through. Try not to showboat by copying the skills of Messi and Ronaldo (unless this is an integral part of your game). Use discipline in your role and work hard, but also be sensible with when to spend your energy.

The modern game has a shortage of technically gifted footballers. Footballers who can manipulate the ball and bewilder defenders. These types of players stand out and are highly sought after.

But remember, skills and technique are nothing without an end product!

Scout Attribute 2 - Pace and Acceleration

Professional football is all about speed. No matter what position you play in, you need to be able move quickly and efficiently across the grass. Players without dynamic speed and agility will struggle to progress into the professional game.

Straight line speed is important, but the ability to change direction quickly is essential. Players must have pace with and without the ball, and high speed endurance levels. How-to-get-scouted-gareth-baleElite players can perform up to 40 explosive sprints per game, reaching speeds of 30kph. Steven Gerrard at his peak could run 30 meters in less than 4 seconds. Players with exceptional pace can counter attack fast, putting the opposition under immense pressure.

Football scouts search for players with great speed (and ability) at a young age. After passing a trial the club will then monitor the growth and pace of every individual. A player's pace may deteriorate as they get older; however it is worth taking a gamble on a pacey player.

Scout Attribute 3 - Movement

How a player moves off the ball is vital in the modern game. When a scout watches a game, they may only spend 10% of it with eyes on the ball. The other 90% will involve following the player to see if he has his head up. If he’s moving into space to receive the ball or if he’s making runs to create space for other players etc.

Scout Attribute 4 - Awareness

Awareness (sometimes called football intelligence or football IQ) goes hand in hand with movement. Players who know where team mates are or where to play the ball are attractive to scouts. Defenders must have positional awareness, plus awareness of the player they're assigned to mark. Midfielders with the ability to play a first time pass without having to locate a teammate first. And strikers aware of the goalie's position and whether to place it or chip their shot are all cherished. Football intelligence is knowing when to run, when to stand still, when to pass, when to take someone on and how to defend strategically. It's about doing the uninteresting dirty work, for the good of the team.

Scouts seek players who are always thinking and moving around the pitch, with or without the ball.

Scout Attribute 5 - Temperament

What do Neil Ranger, Royston Drenthe and Jermaine Pennant have in common? They were all tipped for greatness, but failed to reach their full potential.

There have been many wonder kids who have lacked the discipline of a James Milner or Gary Neville. How-to-get-scouted-gary-neville Mentally tough players can dig deep and find an extra gear when needed. These players are calm and composed in tense situations. They are also less likely to lose their cool when fouled, or when decisions don't go their way.

Players with a good temperament are the core of the team. These players are often picked as captain because they lead by example. These players are ideal for supporting the more flamboyant squad members. Scouts also assess how a player reacts to the coach's instructions and referee decisions. Also, how a player communicates with other team mates is important. A scout may even speak with coaches and teachers, to learn about his personality trait and character.

The English Football Academy system comprises around 12,500 football players. However, less than 0.6% of Under 9’s will make it into the first team. Thousands of young players drop out of the game each year. A high number of exits boil down to players not possessing the mental strength, discipline and determination to improve their game or react to setbacks.How-to-get-scouted-Gilles-Grimandi

Every scout dreams of signing the next Lionel Messi. However the most successful talent spotters understand that great footballers are the players who perform under immense pressure. Talent by itself is nothing without the grit, willpower and football intelligence needed to stand out from the crowd.

How a player learns is also critical. Their ability to take advice on board and adapt it their own game is important. Above all scouts are looking for players who enjoy playing football and play with a smile on their face... so clear your mind and remember to have fun!

12 Tips to help you get scouted in football

How to get scouted Tip 1 - Practice

Practice, practice, practice! Every player is different, and every scout is looking for a different skill set. You must ensure you work your hardest to be the best player you can be. Football should be something you work at every day, improve your game, overall fitness and athleticism. To get to the highest level, football should be your obsession. The first thing you think of when you wake and last thing when you go to sleep. Never shy away from the ball and make the most out of every training session. YOU NEVER KNOW WHO IS WATCHING!

How to get scouted Tip 2 - Mastery

Football is simple when you become efficient at the basics. By mastering the core fundamentals, you will be a much more appealing prospect for a scout. Express yourself and show your skills in certain areas of the pitch, but only if this is part of your natural game or the game scenario calls for it.

How to get scouted Tip 3 - Make Yourself Visable

Put yourself in front of the professionals. Try to attend as many open trials, professional soccer schools, and football clubs as possible. These sessions are hosted by club representatives instructed to highlight any potential talent and invite them to a football trial. You will also gain an insight into a professional standard of coaching, which allows you to assess yourself against your competition. Find out more about soccer schools here.

How to get scouted Tip 4 - Network

Build your football network. Be competitive on the pitch, but respectful off of it. It’s important to make as many friends in the football circuit as possible. You never know who will recommend you. Opportunities can arise from association with coaches, referee, managers, football press, pretty much any football enthusiast who knows someone in the right circle. So make sure you are always growing your connections. Also these contacts could provide feedback, which may help you improve your game.

How to get scouted Tip 5 - Be Proactive

Open trials are not always listed online. This means a more direct approach for getting a trial may be appropriate. Gather a list of your local professional teams within a two hour drive of your home and approach them via their trials or recruitment contact details on their website. We have listed full details on several leading football academies.

How to get scouted Tip 6 - Record Your Games

Football scouts are busy. It is not uncommon for a professional scout to attend over 280 games in one season. With this in mind, anyway you can make a football scout's job easier; will only go in your favour. Record your games and make a highlight video (or several). This is a great way to get noticed and receive valuable critique from football enthusiasts. Build your profile online, with a series of highlight videos, training videos and fitness tests, and be sure to edit out the irrelevant footage. YouTube is a great platform for this and easy to set up a channel. Once you have added a few videos to your channel, attach a link to your football cv and send to the relevant teams you want to approach. This should increase your chance getting a response.

How to get scouted Tip 7 - Play at the best level

Make sure you are playing in the highest league in your area. Football scouts are more likely to attend games in better leagues as there will be more talent to assess. If you can guarantee game time, try to play for one of the stronger teams in the league. However if you are not likely to start, move to a team where you can get more minutes on the pitch. You will learn a lot more if you are the leading player in a weaker team, then a benchwarmer in the top team.

How to get scouted Tip 8 - Make the effort

Don't be afraid to travel for better coaching or a higher standard of football. The extra effort you put in will improve your game and show coaches and scouts how dedicated and serious you are.

How to get scouted Tip 9 - Know your game inside out

Be your own critique. Assess your highlight videos and work out what your strengths are. Improve on those strengths and build your entire game around them. Scouts are interested in players who know what they are capable of and what they are not capable of. Specialist players are a lot more attractive than players average several positions. Whilst working on your weaknesses is always wise, it's important to concentrate on developing your strengths.

How to get scouted Tip 10 - Beleive

You can do anything if you put your mind to it. Believe in your abilities. Know that you are worthy of being scouted and playing football at the highest level. This self-belief can be the difference between performing well at trial and being overlooked. Scouts love players full of self-confidence, but don't let this spill over to arrogance.

How to get scouted Tip 11 - Stay calm

Don't panic! If at first you don't succeed try, try and try again. Legends such as Alan Shearer, Roy Keane and Ruud Gullit were all discarded as youngsters. However, these setbacks only helped to fuel their hunger to play football, with all three captaining their countries in major international tournaments. This shows that even the best players have had disappointments in their footballing journey. You will inevitably receive criticism and knock backs from scouts, coaches and managers. Be sure to take these views on board and use them to further add to your game. Failure is not always a bad thing; it helps to build character, hunger and lets you learn more about yourself.

How to get scouted Tip 12 - Lead

Be a leader. Can you control the game with your communication? Great leaders like Vincent Kompany and Steven Gerrard are always communicating on the pitch.How-to-get-scouted-vincent-kompany Without yelling at teammates, they can encourage players when they make a mistake, motivate players when they perform something well and inspire players when the team is under pressure. Vocally organising the team whether it’s instructing players on who to cover or highlighting attacking space for teammates to exploit. Lead by example in the way you play and the way you communicate. Be a positive influencer and the gel that keeps the team spirit alive. Skills and tactics can be taught, but scouts want to see players with a will to win. Desire and work ethic separate the maybes from the definite. Are you willing to do the work when no one is watching, the tireless tracking back, making dead end runs to pull opposing players out of position? If you are then display this on the pitch.

What next…

So if you’re committed and willing to showcase your football intelligence act now. Create a stand out football cv here, and research the best soccer schools and football academies in the UK to get in front of the right people.


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