After taking over a club, one of the first things you need to sort out is the backroom staff. After all, what use is it to sign talented youngsters if their progression halts after they sign for your club.
Ideally, you want a good setup for both first team and the youth squad, something a bit similar to this. If you can afford them, get separate coaches for the youth squad.
Don’t worry too much about the specific training setup, just get decent coaches in there. For coaches, these are the attributes I look at.
Fitness (Aerobic/Strength) = Fitness, Determination, Discipline & Motivation.
Tactics = Tactical Coaching, Determination, Discipline & Motivation.
Ball control = Technical, Mental, Determination, Discipline & Motivation.
Attacking = Attacking, Tactical, Determination, Discipline & Motivation.
Defending = Defending, Tactical, Determination, Discipline & Motivation.
Shooting = Technical, Attacking, Determination, Discipline & Motivation.
Goalkeeping (Shot Stopping) = Goalkeeping, Determination, Discipline, Motivation, Tactical
Goalkeeping (Handling) = Goalkeeping, Determination, Discipline, Motivation, Technique
Ideally, this leads to results like these.
Next up is the most important part, the part that makes the Pozzo engine tick; the scouting network. Udinese have employed over 120 scouts worldwide to be sure they scout the talents early on. Basically, you want to get as many scouts as you can and then distribute them wisely.
When signing scouts, there are two important attributes to look for, these being Judging Potential and Judging Ability. This is what a scout is supposed to do, so this is what you should look for when signing scouts. Some people look at other attributes as well, but these two attributes will do, especially when you have to rely on free agents because you cannot afford to poach top scouts from other clubs.
You don’t need an all-round superstar, who can do just about anything. All you need is a specialist who has an eye for talent. You would be amazed at the amount of talent floating around on the free agent list, but it takes some time to find them. Be sure to look for scouts with at least 15 for both attributes. You want a semi-decent scout, otherwise you’re just wasting resources.
Now, the staff search option the game offers is not always ideal, because it does not display all the staff worldwide, but just those in your region. Placing an advert for personnel is not a bad idea. This allows others to respond to the job you are offering and this sometimes leads to responses from people you hadn’t noticed before.
Since signing a new scout also raises your scouting knowledge, it might be a good idea to look at the nationalities of your scouts. Since a scout automatically has a 100% knowledge of his home nation, it could be a good way to raise your scouting knowledge of the world. In my case, if I had to pick between a Dutch and a South American scout, both with comparable profiles, I’ll pick the South American to raise my scouting knowledge in this continent.
Now whilst getting high scouting knowledge is important, you shouldn’t strive for 100% coverage, for the pure and simple reason that some parts of the world are just not worthwhile.
In the example above, you can see that the club has exceptional knowledge at least for Europe, North America and South America. You will also notice that Africa, Oceania and Asia are not present in the regional knowledge. That is because most of the players from such regions are not worth the resources it would cost to unearth them.
Keep in mind that I am not saying that there are no talents hailing from these regions, but economically speaking, it’s not worth it to send a scout to the entire region. Take for example Asia. A vast continent, but in terms of football, there are only three or four countries who regularly produce players good enough to play in Europe (South Korea, Japan, China and Australia). Instead of spreading resources to cover all four regions of Asia and have scouts spend months in shitty little countries like Thailand, Myanmar and Nepal, I have just assigned scouts to the four countries I deem worthy.
The same applies to Africa, instead of scouting the entire continent, just focus on the countries you know end up producing decent players. Your scouts won’t waste their time in countries like Benin, Gabon and Lesotho, but will instead direct their attention towards unearthing talent in the countries who are actually worth their attention.
Guido is the founding father of Strikerless and main nutjob running the show.
Heiko Pfeil · June 10, 2020 at 4:15 am
Hi Guido, in your article, you mention free agents. As I coach lower leagues quite often (love to start at the National in France), with the well-known limitatiins to the club’s resources, I made it a habit to invite possibly interesting talent for trials. Two weeks are usually enough to get a solid command of a player – with the side effect that your scouts are not occupied, so they can have a look at the next players, “outsourcing” the scouting to your coaches – a valuable advantage when you are working wkth limited resources. With this approach, certainly, you need one coach (including the Assistant Manager – or more, if you have the resources) with great CA/PA abilities who can assume the task. This will speed up your scouting and squad building a lot, and in case you sign free agents, they already received some training and maybe played a few friendlies, so their overall condition, match sharpness and familiarity with your idea of football is significantly higher than for non-playing and non-training players who are merely watched by a scout. Did you also try this, and what do you think of this approach? Best regards, Heiko
Guido · July 25, 2020 at 3:05 pm
Great call, Heiko! Sorry for taking so long to reply, the last weeks of my wife’s pregnancy made me ignore the blog. That is a valuable approach for the lower levels, with the added advantage that trialists often ask for lower wages as well.