Scouting seems to be one of those professions that just about anyone thinks they can get into. And to an extent - with good reason! With a knowledge and passion for your sport of choice, it's not incredibly difficult to take the necessary courses and begin the path toward being a scout. But talent identification goes far beyond just the ability to watch matches and identify talent. Most of the time, it's not difficult to identify talent. What's difficult is to identify talent that will transfer over to a new environment, under new circumstances, repeatedly over time.
Tag: Data Analysis
Why Wellington Phoenix signed Mohamed Al-Taay – Player Analysis
Ahead of the 2023-24 season, Wellington Phoenix's squad is looking bleak. But they are making active steps in the transfer market to improve upon their 6th place finish from 2022-23. New midfielders remain one of the first agenda items after the departures of first-team regulars Clayton Lewis and Steven Ugarkovic. In Mohamed Al-Taay, they've uncovered a 22-year-old gem who can tick all the boxes they need to become a more assertive side in the A-League. Here is what Al-Taay will bring to Wellington Phoenix, as we break down the defensive midfielder's game.
Data-Driven Decision Making & Player Roles – Podcast Episode with Unlocked Football
During the pandemic, I probably watched close to twenty football matches a week. I got quite good at watching matches (i.e. analyzing football) but I didn't feel as though I was living the most well balanced life. It's cool to watch football for entertainment, but I no longer find it particularly possible. Even if I enjoy watching my favourite teams play, I'm always thinking about the site and how I can use my learnings from any given match to create content. For my line of work, I then find it imperative that I understand my purpose for watching football.
The benefits of consulting with a performance analyst
Clubs, and certainly professional players, are not currently accessing this to the extent that would truly take their game to the next level. Yet so many youth coaches and younger athletes at the youth level remain unafraid to make that leap. Soon it will be those coaches and players who are already investing in their development as they work through the game, that will leapfrog those that continue to fall behind. Whoever takes the shot first will reap the rewards, and it's now up to the clubs and players to see the value.
Finding a goalkeeper for Forge FC
Out of all the CPL clubs, Forge FC have enjoyed the quietest off-season. It feels as though that's for good reason, having just won the CPL Playoffs for the third time in the league's four season existence. It might be the sign of a settled squad and players having no inclinations toward seeking pastures new. But for the Canadian Premier League, this is uncharacteristic. With the season just under two months away from kicking off, Forge are without a back-up keeper, or anyone to challenge the Canadian for a place.
Why Julian Ryerson caught the eye of Borussia Dortmund
Across the 2021-22 campaign, Julian Ryerson struggled for minutes in a competitive Union Berlin side loaded with wing-backs. But this season, he's become the starlet of the side from the wings, fulfilling his wing-back role to great effect from either side. His form in 2022-23 caught the eye of Borussia Dortmund, who snapped him up for a meek €5 million fee. Here is our analysis as to why the Black & Yellows made a move for Julian Ryerson, and what he will bring to Signal Iduna Park.
Explaining the Target – Player Role Analysis
Historically known as the 'Target Man', we've rebranded this term to be all encompassing. More than just about any role, the word 'Target' immediately paints a picture of the type of player we're looking for. That is, someone strong, typically tall, aerially savvy, robust, and frequently used by their team as a target for advancing up the pitch. In the hockey sense, they would typically be the one responsible for 'roughing up the opposition'
Explaining the Creative Link – Player Role Analysis
Creative Links are quite similar to our attacking midfielder persona - the 'Creative Ten'. The main difference is that they play up front, and typically conduct more of their play with their back to goal in linking up with their teammates. You could call them a 'False 9', a playmaking centre-forward, or something between a '9' and a '10.'
Explaining the Channel Runner – Player Role Analysis
Channel Runners are one of our most unique prototypes, based off the common phrase used for strikers that "run the channels". They typically exist in a front-two, and in teams that intermix moments of counter-attacking football with quick and incisive long passes over the top. The use of a striker in this manner remains a more common approach to life in the women's game, as strikers across all realms are becoming more versatile (and advised for that matter) in dropping into build-up play to receive the ball.
Explaining the Direct Goal-Scorer – Player Role Analysis
When on their day, 'Direct Goal-Scorers' can be some of the most entertaining footballers to watch, with a sense of raw intensity beating inside their heart every step of the way. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has shown everyone exactly that this season at Serie A leaders Napoli, but the likes of Sadio Mané and Serge Gnabry have demonstrated their goal-scoring exploits for years.
Replacing Alejandro Diaz at Pacific FC
Following the loss of eventual CPL Golden Boot winner Alejandro Diaz, Pacific FC immediately went from title contenders to top four contenders, scraping into the playoffs with a fourth-place finish come the end of the season. The repeated line as the likes of myself and CPL.ca wrote about Pacific became all about how things could have been very different for Pacific in front of goal had they only had that missing link. Diaz was everything to the Pacific attack, acting as both a 'False 9' capable of dropping deep and receiving the ball, and somehow even fulfilling duties as an occasional 'Target Man' despite his 5'10 height. He linked up with Marco Bustos and Manny Aparicio magnificently well as the three of them dovetailed around each other, and his desire to drop deep often allowed Joshua Heard to run into the vacated space behind. Pacific signed Electric City striker Jordan Brown to try and make up for the loss, but it was clear that Brown was a far less dynamic player, and far less clinical in front of goal. With that, we analyze the essential characteristics in need of replacing when it comes to Diaz and his game, and four possible replacements from around the globe.