(republished from a 2010 interview with a visiting EPL scout). We explore the behind the scene work of a Soccer Scout.
Q - When you come to a youth tournament, do you already have players in mind you plan to see?
It all depends. Some of the bigger tournaments are good because teams I haven't seen before are attending and I can catch a team with a fresh perspective. Most of the time, however, I do know the players on the teams and go to the tournaments with the sole purpose of checking up on one or two kids.
Q - How do scouts get tipped off on possible youth talent especially with the size of this country?
Agents are always calling telling me about players they represent or want to represent. Coaches and other contacts I have in various parts of my region help out by tipping me off as well. It’s all about contacts.
Q - How young do College and Pro scouts start the tracking process?
Agents call about nine year olds quite often which is kind of absurd considering the boys usually aren't physically, psychologically, or intellectually mature enough to know exactly what a scout or professional is! As kids become 13, 14, and 15, I begin to track them and monitor them more and more.
Q - What are the basic attributes you look for in your evaluation of a player?
There is no real secret in what scouts looks for. Players need to have a solid understand of the game in order to make it at the highest level. They need to be very good technically as well and have high enough marks physically to be able to cope with the vigorous schedule that surrounds the professional soccer playing world.
Q - What is the reputation of the Dallas Cup as an event where you could find professional level talent?
The Dallas Cup has always been a good competition because it allows scouts to see talent from all over the world in one venue. The facilities make it easy to get from game to game and a lot of soccer can be watched in a very short period of time. For scouts, it’s logistically fantastic and full of good teams and players.
Q - If a youth player does have professional potentials and aspirations, what are the best ways to get noticed?
Getting involved and playing at the highest level in your immediate area are both very important. It is very important to constantly push yourself to the highest possible level you can. Practicing everyday is necessary to make it as a professional and that should start from the ages of 13, 14, and 15. Our country has come a long way in identifying talent and there are scouts from the National Team, scouts from professional clubs, and other big soccer contacts that know enough people to make one call to get a player seen. If you are good enough and work hard enough, the chances of being seen are quite high.