Over the 20th/21st June, I had the opportunity to attend the Professional Football Scouting Association’s monthly course in Accrington, Lancashire. The course, which is accredited by the NCFE, took place between 9am-4pm in The Globe Centre and attendees included former Manchester City striker, Shaun Goater.
Attendees were greeted by the Director of the course, Purves Ali and were immediately made to feel at ease. Not long after, the group were introduced to Dean Whitehouse, an Academy coach at Manchester United, who led us through the opening day’s proceedings.
Following a brief ice-breaker, Dean took the group through various topics concerning Talent Identification, touching on issues such as ‘what is talent?’ and ‘what are the key indicators of talent?’- all of which often led to further discussion and debate amongst one another. The group were then briefly introduced to Manchester United’s Head of Recruitment, Derek Langley, who highlighted the differences of a player wanting to be a footballer and those hopefuls who need to be a footballer and his experiences with players who lacked the desire to become a professional.
The group went on to discuss how talent programmes can be set up and managed and the various pitfalls that can occur if not done effectively. The day was rounded off with details into the legal aspects of being a youth scout.
The final day was led by the experienced Alan Jeffers, who is perhaps best known for his youth work surrounding soccer in New Jersey, USA.
Alan got stuck straight in by leading the group through how a scout is to present his reports, both for individual players and teams. The group considered what makes a good report and how these reports can be tailored for not only different age ranges, but also to different line managers who want their reports presented a certain way.
The group were then asked to produce their own report of a well known international player and a brief match report of a game that took place in the World Cup in 2014. Before attendees jetted off home to various locations across England and abroad, Dave Hobson (representative of the PFSA) and Purves, took time to de-brief individuals on their performance across the weekend.
All that was left was an obligatory selfie with Shaun Goater!
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