The art of scouting is no longer merely a case of watching matches and spotting the next great player.
Over the past 20 years, technology and data have played an increasingly important role in talent identification, not to mention opposition scouting and performance analysis.
That’s why the UEFA Academy and technical department have introduced the UEFA Elite Scout Programme, a three-month course that provides current scouts, coaches and former players the opportunity to prime their skills for the modern football environment.
Kicking off in March 2022 and featuring a combination of face-to-face seminars and interactive workshops, the Elite Scout Programme equips participants with all the tools they need to work at the highest level of the game, with guidance from current scouts, sporting directors and an international network of industry experts.
Studying and learning alongside like-minded professionals, students will find the perfect opportunity to share different ideas, practice live exercises on the pitch and develop a broad network of colleagues and suppliers.
Les Reed, course director, said, “In the world of scouting, there are different type of profiles and experts. Some are more specialised in talent identification using statistics and new technologies, while others focus more on on-pitch observation or solid connections in key markets.”
“The UEFA Elite Scout Programme (UEFA ESP) is designed for current scouts as well as ex-professional players or coaches who want to pursue this profession. From match observation and professional reporting to video editing and data management, this holistic programme delivers a full spectrum of knowledge and skills in state-of-the-art recruiting expertise.”
What do participants learn on the UEFA Elite Scout Programme?
– Understand the international football ecosystem and its governance
– Master the key principles of scouting and match observation: talent identification, analysis and recruitment management
– Learn how to produce various types of match reports (text, animations, videos)
– Become familiar with technologies to monitor football data and statistics and discover the latest innovations in this fast-changing sector
Why is modern scouting so important?
Simon Rolfes, Sporting Director, Bayer Leverkusen, said, “In recent years, professional teams have been investing more and more money in young talents in order to gain sporting and financial success. As a sporting director, it is absolutely crucial to make the right decisions when recruiting a new player. The new scouting and talent identification tools that have been developed over the last two decades can give us more relevant information and limit the risk of mistakes. It is therefore very important for our scouts to know about these new tools and how to master them.”
João Luis Afonso, former Scouting Director, Paris Saint-Germain, said, “Football has evolved a lot over the last few years, and the scouting profession is probably the one that has evolved the most. Modern scouts not only need to understand football, but also how to work with new technologies like scouting apps, CRM or artificial intelligence.”
“That said, no computer is able to replace the expert eye of an experienced scout, nor estimate the future development of a young talented player. For all these reasons, it is important for scouts to find the right programmes to remain up to date, acquire new skills and share best practices with colleagues from other clubs and leagues and experts in various fields.”
The UEFA Academy and programmes for players
Building on the professional excellence UEFA has established throughout its history and the learning initiatives developed over the last decade, the UEFA Academy inspires the education of individuals and organisations to continuously elevate the game.
The UEFA Academy has recently designed a series of programmes exclusively for players considering a change in career while remaining in football. The UEFA Elite Scout Programme is one of five dedicated new opportunities created by the Academy to help players stay in the game.