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How to become a professional football scout

18.01.2022 @SaulCuttell

Who are you? What have you been doing? What was your route into scouting?

My first blog in a while and I wanted to reach out to a scout who had recently got involved with professional football to quiz them on how exactly they got into scouting. Well I was delighted to have a conversation with a very astute young man who has broken into the professional game (Josh Potter see YouTube channel here). He came across as a very friendly, knowledgeable and very professional young man, so it seemed like no wonder he has made it as a Sheffield Wednesday Scout working in the London area. Josh started out in a consultancy firm as an account manager, but wanted to see if his passion (football) could become a career option, so he started to network with a few individuals including the Head of Recruitment at Mansfield Town, where he eventually ended up as a scout on a voluntary basis covering Yorkshire. This then developed naturally into other roles like a scout coordinator and a first team video scout, which is testament to his hard-work, aptitude and networking. This was a fantastic insight from Josh, but I wanted to delve a bit deeper into how he actually started off on this journey. This led me to the natural question of what advice would he give a new scout starting out in the game.

What advice would you give anyone in becoming a scout?

So, with the question laid at his feet, Josh answered assuredly with ‘’the best thing to do is to network with other scouts on platforms like LinkedIn and to be persistent with your approach. Friendly but determined in approach’’. This sentiment is true to my heart too, as I think there is immense power in networking and being humble enough to truly listen to the experts in this area. Josh went on to explain ‘’you need to practice the art of scouting, so while networking is very useful, you need to get the experience, so that realistically means volunteering, so that if you get the chance for an interview with a club you can aptly answer the question about what experience you have’’. This seems to be the way of the industry, but this is not uncommon, most industries need experience before they can employ a person for a role. So, it seems very important to consider networking, and any experience you can get, but Josh did go on to explain that there are many clubs out there looking for volunteer roles, so put yourself in the shop window. As these roles seem to be so desirable for so many in the industry, I thought I would ask this scout what he thinks are the best and worst things about being a scout.

What’s the best and worst thing about being a scout?

Josh dealt with this question very professionally, which again impressed me about this young man. He responded to this with ‘’Without a shadow of a doubt the best thing is talent spotting, especially when you see the fruits of your labour and when a club considers the player you have put in front of them. Not to mention you get to watch football, which is my passion, so I cannot complain at all. I am very happy in my new role with Sheffield Wednesday, they are a great club with a lot of knowledgeable staff’’. He then went on to explain what some of the worst things are about being a scout ‘’it can be quite a lonely job sitting in the stands in a dark, cold, rainy night. Not to mention travelling all over to watch games can be quite tiring’’. This conversation did lead on to the idea of pay for scouts and is the rate of pay reasonable? We did discuss at some length this idea but also this is where I would mention some of the work that Pitch is doing around this area (notably a service that is fair and reasonable, based on a scout’s experience too, using scout reports as a means to help young talented players better understand how to improve: more information on this follow). Keep your eyes peeled for updates on Pitch soon. As I was wrapping up my conversation with Josh, I thought to ask him the best way to get hold of him should anyone wish to?

How could people get hold of you?

Josh answered this question promptly and very professionally with ‘’I am on LinkedIn and welcome collaborations and conversations, but also you can check out my YouTube channel where I actually discuss some of these issues such as ‘how to become a scout’ and a lot more’’.


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