Creating a scouting funnel – from longlist to shadow list

Video Scouting Expert

Signings in football always catch the eye. In fact, they are only the tip of the iceberg. The extensive process leading up to those signings rarely becomes visible to the outside world. In one way or another, every club goes through a process of filtering hundreds or even thousands of players each year, narrowing down to a shadow list of potential signings. How is that process taking place? And which role can video scouting play within this process?


Football Scouting Funnel

The first step a football club should take in their recruitment process is to go from all players in the world to a longlist of players to evaluate in more detail. There are multiple ways of adding players to such a longlist.

  • Data. By using and creating data models, clubs flag players who perform well, fit the club’s requirements, and are expected to be potentially available.
  • Agents. Agents drop the names of the players they represent constantly to raise awareness of those players. They notify clubs when players might become available.
  • Network. People within the industry talk to each other and point the attention to players they think could be interesting for their club.
  • Video. Clubs regularly video scout matches, which leads to players who are flagged and need to be followed up on.
  • Live. Scouts attend matches to get to know potentially interesting players who can be added to their longlist.
  • TransferRoom. Many clubs use TransferRoom, which provides them with inside information that leads to new player names on their longlists.

Crossing players out

Longlist football scouting

The next step is to evaluate the players on the longlist in more detail. During that process, players are crossed out because they don’t seem interesting. This happens for three main reasons.

  1. A player seems to lack the required quality to play for the club.
  2. There is a mismatch in terms of the style of play or the required player type.
  3. The player seems to be unavailable, financially or in any other way.

Scouting process quality

The quality of this filtering process is mainly determined by three factors.

  • Organization. To what extent is the club able to oversee all the player names and their follow-up actions?
  • Scouting capacity. How much manpower is there to assess a large number of players within a relatively short period?
  • Scouting quality. Are the scouts able to recognize which players will potentially be interesting for the club and which players are not?

This is actually where many clubs struggle. If they don’t succeed in getting all three factors on a high level, sooner or later they’ll miss out on potentially interesting players.

  1. If there is no structure and organization, player names will get lost and it’s not clear for the scouts which players or tasks to focus on.
  2. If there is not enough scouting capacity, clubs can only process a relatively small amount of player names on the longlist, which means they miss out on others.
  3. If the scouts are inaccurate in their player evaluations, bad players might be highlighted, and/or good players may be excluded.

Video scouting

Video scouting can play a very important role in reducing a large number of players on the longlist into a manageable number of players to evaluate in more detail.

Let’s illustrate that with an example by assuming that in one season at a certain club, 500 players are added to the longlist. In other words, there is reason to believe that those players are both suitable and realistic as a transfer target.

It would be a wise idea to evaluate every player twice. This reduces the chance of one inaccurate player evaluation wrongly excluding a player. In other words, for 500 players, 1.000 player evaluations are needed.

If you would use 50 weeks per year on creating those 1.000 player reports, this means you’d need 20 player reports per week for this. That is very well doable if you are efficient and use the right video scouting methods.

The benefit of working with us 

At 360 Scouting, we specialize in exactly this part of the scouting funnel. We evaluate a large number of players (capacity) on a high level (quality) in a structured way (organization).

This offers one very big advantage: your club’s internal team can fully focus on a much smaller number of players.

Moreover, we can perform this big task for an investment way lower than the costs of one full-time employee (who could never perform this task on his own).

Want to learn more? Get in touch and schedule a meeting!



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