Social Media As A New Football Scouting Paradigm

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As the leading sports industry, every dimension of soccer demands that talent be found for premier club opportunities. Globalisation of the sport leads to the globalisation of the market and the only way to act in this context is through a network of players, clubs and market opportunities. When we look at the fact that every move is a calculated manoeuvre to drive club ranks, the foundation to this success lies in finding elite talent. Considering the interconnectivity of all things modern, clubs must consider their online possibilities as they drive business forward.

Premier leagues regard social media as central to their brand, and it comes as no surprise that their lower-ranking counterparts are following suit. Even Richard Arnold, the group managing director of Manchester United, recognises that “[clubs] are a mobile-first media organisation”. A club’s social media presence is now necessary to enhance its competitive index and in the age of reputation, a club’s brand is not necessarily bigger than the sum of its (player) parts. The influence of the internet is more than just an information resource but a viable option through which clubs enhance the relationship between fan, club and athlete.

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As football teams advance within their respective leagues, it will be largely impart because their practices are a sign of the times – modern and competitive. A global sport relies on an interconnected market and the only way to optimise talent potential is through a network of players, clubs and advancement opportunities. When we look at the fact that every move is a calculated manoeuvre to drive club ranks, we see that the foundation to this success lies in finding and scouting the elite. Ultimately, this is the foundation of a new professional scouting technique and an insight as to how teams are using social media for their competitive advantage. Developments such as these are an opportunity to drive and generate higher quality transfers and match specific talent with club needs. The strength of the football industry relies on not only how it develops with its players, but also within the global market in which it is situated. The speed of its evolution is based on the market’s current, and social media is setting the stage for the next advancement. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter do more than report on the sport, but improve it by evolving with players and clubs and creating trends in response to its larger community.

The redefined contract tactic is fully endorsed by Messi’s first agent, Josep Minguella, as he states, “the internet has totally changed the football agent’s job and transfer industry. There are no more boundaries and limits – you can see, observe and connect with way more players than years ago.” Social media as a career platform can facilitate the connection between players, intermediaries and clubs and enhances the transparency in the amateur and professional football market. Using new media as a compliment to player statistics, each facet of the football industry can essentially find free and extensive networks that allow them to interact with all levels of the soccer industry, develop contacts and supply themselves with a considerable amount of global opportunities.

Professional clubs are now catching on to the scouting possibilities found on online platforms. We see this extend off the pitch with companies such as Fieldoo, a football career network for amateur/professional players, who partnered with Spain’s U.D. Almeria (2. Division) to scout their next player in “The Fieldoo Challenge”. Fieldoo is a professional career platform that connects players and intermediaries, secures club contracts and mitigates the challenges that are normally found in the scouting and talent acquisition process. They do not target the Ronaldo’s and Neuer’s, but the remaining 95% of the professional football industry that generates in $4 billion a year. Until Dec. 20, players can apply for the chance to attend U.D. Almeria’s professional trial in January 2016. An evaluative committee of Almeria’s directors/coaches and Fieldoo’s internal experts will decide on a set of finalists to fly out to Spain. Should players’ skills be successfully exhibited and deemed desirable by the club’s executive staff, a professional contract will mark the beginning of the player’s competitive career at U.D. Almeria.

The future of scouting on social media will not treat players, clubs and intermediaries as separate entities, but encourage their relationships to advance the game at every competitive level. It will provide the transparency that players need to exhibit their skills and the visibility that agents demand for talent recognition. Social media should not only expand football’s growth and capabilities, but shape previously inaccessible contacts into a community-centred talent base. The essence of social media is that it evolves with the global community.

When we consider how clubs are utilising technology to interact with their fans, online platforms seem to even the playing field and restructure the power dynamics in sports representation. It’s not that traditional scouting methods aren’t producing the best results, but that social media is a hub for local talent whose skills can be strategically placed in global opportunities. The new scouting paradigm takes traditional tactics and situates them into prevailing market structures. Player abilities are a limited resource and the only way to protect this capital is to find the right market for its success.

Technology is engrained to such an extent in football that the benefits are naturally associated with peak performance. We see this not only in team and individual training, but in scouting new talent. In the age of the internet, we are global citizens and players and the soccer industry exist within the same dimension. A common misconception is that sports technology exists only during trainings, but integrating social media into the mix is evolving the type of player available to clubs, and ultimately, improving future teams’ dynamics. Ultimately, clubs no longer have a choice if they do social media, but what they do with it and the power in this form of technology is that it drives change.

If competitive index is based on how far as its players are scouted, Fieldoo’s talent market is in a league of its own. If players only promote themselves to their nation’s agents, then club opportunities are nationally bound and with social media, career advancements now turn into global possibilities. Each generation redefines the athletic standard and the industry now has a tool that responds to its changes, challenges and opportunities. Contract offers via social media occur shape the identity of the modern athlete: an online presence that drives endorsement. Agents from around the world now have portals to which they can see, scout and sign talent regardless of each other’s location. Every industry demographic now can utilise the idea of two-way influence in engaging communication and facilitating contract offers. Players no longer wait for the ‘approach’, but can take the initiative at shaping their own career through opportunistic ventures.

The structure bases itself loosely around LinkedIn, only to have a greater integration of social media and transparency among all of its members. Fieldoo’s strategy does not treat player and intermediaries as separate entities, but facilitates the integration of talent and technique to enhance the football industry’s vision of the future generation of athletes. By revolutionising talent acquisition, Fieldoo elevates team dynamics and player opportunities. The talent on the site improves the competitive standard of all clubs, as a result advancing the game at both the amateur and professional level.

Its not that the traditional scouting methods aren’t producing the best results, it’s just that social media is a hub for local talent whose skills can be strategically placed in global opportunities. Social media can take traditional principles, only to have them be situated into the prevailing market. Player abilities are a limited resource and the only way to protect this capital is to find the right market for its success.

Miguel Rivera, Head Coach of UD Almería B – The Fieldoo ChallengeUD Almería invites you to apply to the #FieldooChallenge to join the team for a try-out in January. Complete three easy steps on the link bellow to see if you have what it takes to play in a Spanish league!

Posted by Fieldoo on Friday, October 30, 2015

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Editor/Founder of The False 9. Inverted Wingers,Carilleros,Cattenacio,Double Pivots,Medianos,Mezzalas and of course The False Nines we have got it all here for the tactic-crazy football fan!