How do you become a football scout? What are the steps needed to go from a regular fan of the game to a professional football scout?
How many of us know the answers to these questions?
There lays the problem, most of us simply don’t know how to become a football scout but hopefully after reading this article they’ll be more clarity for our future football scouts out there on how to become a football scout. The stigma of how to becoming a football scout is that if you aren’t’ an ex-professional football player or know the right people, your chances of becoming a scout are slim to none. Of course, having links and knowing the right people will always help, regardless of profession but the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a clear pathway on becoming a football scout compared to a football coach or physio, is a problem. The FA have worked on rectifying this and the emergence of the Professional Football Scouts Association (PFSA) who aim to represent football scouts worldwide is a major step in the right direction.
Life of a football scout
Even though the money in football is increasing every year, it seems the big money the players, managers and coaches receive, isn’t trickling down to the scouts. It’s difficult to determine the average football scout salary in the UK but reading many news articles on the subject and interviews, the figure is no where near the money footballers receive but there is a big difference between a chief scout at a big Premier League club to a scout at a mid table club in the Premier League. To scout for an academy you must volunteer but the financial reward comes after the player you have scouted and brought to the team then gets signed and as a scout you get a bigger bonus for each step the player makes in their career.
The BBC and the Guardian both have articles on the working life of a football scout. They both share a great insight into the day to day responsible of a scout which includes attending up to five games a week, ranging from the top flight to reserve, lower league and youth games to determine the talent of a player and if they’re a good fit for the club or tactical scouting of upcoming opposition.
“I know how hard it is to go out there on your own. It’s a lonely job and it isn’t financially rewarding and you think: ‘Why can’t we change it?’ So we put something together.” – PSFA co-founder Purves Ali
To get a greater overview of life as a football scout, we recently asked a few experts on their opinions of the role. The question was “Do you think a football scout is a good career choice (in UK)?”
“No, being a football scout is not a good career choice simply because there are very few who get paid for it, let alone a decent wage. It is a great job though, as you get to watch a lot of football and can be proud of the fact you have potentially uncovered a future for someone else.” – Jonathan Rabin – Director of The 3T Group
“Yes. If you’re looking to pursue a career in football, then football scouting is definitely a step in the right direction. Talent identification is becoming increasingly more important in english football, taken by all levels within the game including management, coaches, intermediaries and of course academy staff. All the PFSA courses are created, developed and delivered by experienced Premier League scouts. All of whom have had a successful careers as football scouts.” – Adam Hobson – Commercial Director of The Professional Football Scouts Association
Are there any football scouting courses?
That has been the problem, unlike The FA Level 1-5 football coaching courses, the Goalkeeping courses or the Physical performance courses, previously there hadn’t been any football scouting courses which leads to people not knowing the qualifications needed to be a football scout.
On Friday 2nd December 2016, the FA launched the FA Talent Identification Level 1: An Introduction to Scouting, an online course for anyone interested in learning more about spotting stars of the future. The course now has 2 levels, The FA Level 1 in Talent Identification: An introduction to scouting and The FA Level 2 in Talent Identification, which you have to be at least 17 to apply and before you can gain a certification in level 2 you must have completed The FA Safeguarding Children Workshop.
FA Talent Identification Course
Nick Baker, learning design and development manager in FA Education said: “We are thrilled to introduce this fantastic new course. The FA is committed to formalising this area as a specialism, equipping more participants with the skills to realise potential. This course is a stepping stone on that journey.”
The FA Level 1 in Talent Identification: An introduction to Scouting (Online)
The FA Level 1 Talent Identification courses will enable learners to understand the roles and responsibilities of the modern scout.
The Level 1 Talent Identification is an online course which consist of 6 short modules introduces you to the world of football scouting. Topics such as understanding your responsibilities as a scout and establishing a rounded view of player potential provide the basics of the course and give an insight into level 2.
The FA Level 2 in Talent Identification
The Level 2 Talent Identification course introduces key principles of scouting, building relationships, considering performance versus potential and understanding the essential rules linked to the process.
The course will cover a variety of topics that will help you develop your skills within scouting and observation of youth players.
- The soft skills to help you be better at your role
- Current research on talent
- Performance vs potential
- Understanding the essential rules and regulations for the job.
Cost: Depending on venue
The Professional Football Scouts Association (PFSA)
The Professional Football Scouts Association was formed in 2013 by 2 Premier League Scouts with the Head Offices based in Lancashire. It is the aim of the PFSA to liaise with all governing bodies worldwide and professional/non-professional leagues on behalf of all member scouts promoting best practice and the raising standards. The PFSA is a much-needed voice for football scouts and aims to improve the profession. To benefit from the work being done by the PFSA you must join which takes 5 minutes but you need to have the following:
- Currently employed as a Football Scout with a Club/Organisation
- DBS Clearance (formerly known as a CRB check)
- Talent Identification Certificate
- Child Protection Certificate
You can gain the Talent Identification Certificate through a series of courses which are all delivered by qualified and experienced coaches including football scouts from the English Premier and Football League.
PFSA Scouting Courses
The PFSA believe there is a huge need for a governing body for football scouts like there are for coaches and physios and for the path to becoming a football scout to become a lot clearer. The PFSA course will aim to equip you with the tools and correct knowledge of talent indicators and industry format, giving almost anyone with a knowledge of the game can file a respectable report to a club at any level for consideration.
Introduction into Football Scouting (Online Course)
The PFSA Introduction into Scouting Course is aimed at those thinking about a career as a Football Scout. The course will delve into key areas vitally important to football scouting.
- About The PFSA (Aims and Objectives)
- What Is A Football Scout?
- Skills Required For Football Scouting
- Player And Tactical Scouts
- How Do Scouts Find Talent
- Match And Player Reporting
- Importance Of Scouting
- Talent Identification In Football
- Academy Players
- Football Club Development Centres
- Age Specific Coaching
- Scouts Protocol
- How Do I Become A Professional Football Scout?
Level 1 – Talent Identification in Football (Online Course)
Level 1 is also an online course that has been developed in line with the EPPP and put together to help you gain a deeper understanding of what football scouts look for in a player and further develop your knowledge of the talent identification process.
- About The PFSA
- Introducing Talent Identification
- The EPP
- Talent Identification Predictors
- Football Scouts and Player Reports
- Talent Identification Characteristics in a Goalkeeper and the Relative Age Effect
- Anthropological Predictors
- Technical Skill Predictors
- Psychological and Sociological Predictors
- Limitations and Importance of Talent Identification
Level 2 – Talent Identification in Football
The PFSA Scout Course Level 2 is perfect for both scouts who wish to further their knowledge with an accredited certification in Talent Identification, and those looking to enter a career in football scouting.
- Talent Identification / Safeguarding Children
- Talent Indicators and Early Predictors of Talent
- Performer Profiling
- Successful Talent ID Programmes and Systems for Football
- Creating / Implementing Talent ID Programmes
- Understand How Sporting Talent Is Developed and Maintained
- The Future of Talent in Football
- – Overview different types of abuse, behaviour, policies, identifying the UK legal framework and a case study
- Player, Team & Match Analysis in Football
- Role of a Scout, Scouting Protocols
- Match Preparation
- Video Analysis
- Individual Player Reporting
- Match Reporting
- Team Formations
- Player Assessments and Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses of a Player
Course Length: 2 Days (Saturday & Sundays)
Level 3 – Player, Team and Match Analysis
The Level 3 course will provide you with the knowledge to:
- Complete a detailed match report
- Discuss different types of match report analysis
- Review different formations the opposition may use
- Explain and produce a completed full team player report
- Complete a detailed review of a team’s strengths and weaknesses to beat and nullify the opposition.
- Demonstrate how to complete set play reviews, both attacking and defending
- Review of computer software for recording set plays and writing report
Course Length: 1 Day (Sundays)
So, if you are serious about becoming a football scout, you can not underestimate the skills, time and effort needed to be successful.
Previously the path to becoming a scout was relatively unknown but thankfully towards the end of 2016, the FA finally dedicated resources in creating a course that leads to gaining a licence to become a football scout. If you feel you have the capabilities and basic football knowledge and passion to become a football scout, gaining your Talent Identification certificate is a major step forward.
The PFSA is also great alternative even though the costs will be higher (£1040 for the complete course) but once you’ve completed the courses they will do their best to help you find a suitable club in your area. The emergence of the PFSA can only be a positive thing for football scouts and the claim that “as a member of the PFSA, you will be part of the only organisation representing football scouts worldwide.”
Once gaining your qualification and skills, including the correct way to construct a detailed report, just like any other job the next important aspect is experience. Try to volunteer at your local grassroots club and practice your skills, visit games at multiple levels, write reports and continue to showcase your talents.