Instructions for Aspiring Football Scouts

Do you want to learn how to become a football scout? Here's everything you need to know about the qualifications and badges available to help you learn the skills needed to be a scout.  

What exactly is a football scout?

A scout is a football club employee who attends matches to observe players or teams and gather information for the coaches and/or manager. The scout can watch prospective signings, future opponents or players who are out on loan at another team They evaluate the players or teams in question and report their findings to the rest of the club. Essentially, their job is twofold: to look for things in players that statistical analysis cannot see, such as personality, and to save the manager or coach time by summarizing matches for them.

A scout may attend a game to observe a team in the hopes of spotting someone who stands out as having the potential to play at a higher level. Alternatively, if the club has heard that a specific player is worth signing, they may go to watch him. A scout may also go to observe a team in order to assess their style of play and identify potential weak points that can be exploited ahead of an upcoming meeting.

How do I become a football scout?

To become a scout, you must first pass the talent identification qualifications. The Football Association offers five levels of talent identification courses that must be completed in order to progress up the footballing pyramid. In addition to qualifications, it is beneficial to establish a network of contacts in the game. Coaching credentials and qualifications will also help your cause.

What credentials do I need to be a football scout?

Please keep in mind that the following information is not exhaustive and is based on my experience as a football coach with the English Football Association. Courses and pathways may vary depending on the national association through which you pursue qualifications.

The FA Talent ID Pathway has five levels of qualification: Level 1 through Level 5. To advance through the levels, you must usually complete the qualifications in the order listed. Here's a breakdown of what each course entails:

1) The FA Level 1 in football talent identification is a six-part online course that introduces the fundamental principles of talent identification. This course will teach you about the duties of a scout and how to develop a complete picture of a player at any age. Each of the six modules can be completed at your own pace and in your own time, taking between 10 and 30 minutes.

2) The FA Level 2 in talent identification is a three-day course that builds on the concepts introduced in the FA Level 1 course. There is also an introduction to match reporting, building and developing relationships, and analyzing both performance and potential. This is intended for scouts who work or hope to work in the professional game and must be completed in order to advance to Level 3.

3) The FA Level 3 in advanced principles of talent identification in football is taught over a 10-month period in six two-day modules (totaling 12 days). There is a gap between each module where you can apply what you have learned. The course focuses on the knowledge, understanding, and skills required to recruit professional athletes. It teaches sophisticated scouting strategies as well as decision-making skills in recruitment and department management. This course is only for people who work as full-time scouts or talent identifiers at a professional club, particularly those who play a role in driving department standards.

4) The FA Level 4 in talent management, strategy, and leadership in football is designed for people in professional roles such as head of recruitment and senior scouting. The course consists of 19 days of instruction spread out over 14 months. Those who take the course will learn the essential skills required to manage a scouting team and lead an elite talent identification department.

5) The FA Talent ID Pathway's highest level, FA Level 5 for technical directors, is reserved for those at the pinnacle of their profession. The course is designed for those who work as technical directors or who have been identified as having the potential to advance to a similar position. This course is taught in 25 days over the course of 20 months. Following that, you will be able to lead a team as a technical director.

Other football qualifications and coaching badges will also aid a scout's development and make a scout more employable.

What qualifications do I need to be a football scout?

It is essential to have a good understanding of the game (which is why coaching qualifications are useful) as well as good observation skills. It is also necessary to be able to analyze football and identify strong and weak traits, as well as to be able to communicate information effectively and quickly. Because there may be a lot of unsociable hours, traveling, and waiting, open-mindedness, patience, and flexibility can all come in handy.

What can I do as a certified football scout?

You could be a scout at the amateur, semi-professional, or professional levels if you have qualifications in talent identification. It is also possible to become a chief scout or technical director with higher qualifications. All qualifications in talent identification will make you more employable if you also want to work as a coach or analyst.

When do football scouts work?

Attending football matches is an important part of a scout's job, so they frequently work evenings and weekends. On weekdays, there may be opportunities to watch academy matches during the day, but this will not be the norm. Being a scout will also require a lot of traveling to games, which will increase the number of hours worked.

How much does a football scout make?

A football scout can earn a lot of money if they work their way up. However, there are only a few clubs that can pay such large sums. A football scout's typical salary ranges between £20,000 and £30,000, according to Glassdoor.

Will being a qualified football coach assist you in becoming a better scout?

Yes Coaching credentials will assist you in developing a better understanding of the game. That will only help in assessing a player's ability - or potential ability - or the way a team plays and their biggest threats.

Where can I find online resources to help me improve my coaching abilities?

There are numerous online coaching resources available, aimed at various levels and of varying quality and cost. The Coaches' Voice Academy aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice in the coaching pathway by providing you with inside access to the strategies, tactics, and approaches of some of the world's best football coaches. We provide the insights you need to up your coaching game by focusing on how and why the best coaches consistently achieve better results. You can learn more about the Academy and subscribe by clicking here.

Ali Tweedale is the author.

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