Francis Cornejo, is the Argentine scout who recruited Diego Maradona after seeing him play at 8 years old while Mark Anderson is credited with unearthing Raheem Sterling. Meanwhile, former PE teacher Steve Walsh played a big role in capturing Riyad Mahrez
While Maradona, Sterling and Mahrez are big footballing names, the scouts remain side notes in the footballing books of history
With the ever-increasing influx of money into football, the pressure on academy managers and heads of talent identification, not to mention the scouts to find the next global star. Advancements in technology means that hidden gems are not hidden for too long, we are just a viral Youtube video or Twitter post away from seeing future heroes.
One woman, Dr Jag Basra, is doing her best to bring technology to the world of scouting and adding science to gut feelings. The Canadian born psychiatry doctor is the main founder of Profile 90.
Profile90 is a smart talent identification tech platform that integrates scientific insights taking traditional scouting to a new level. It gives a 360 view of a player covering tactical/technical, psychological and social in the most objective way possible. The platform will offer a solution that no other app or club currently has; it offers psychometric testing and social testing for players to create a base line assessment on a player’s mental fitness, identifying key areas for the player to work on.
While Dr Basra is looking to bring more science into talent identification and scouting, she isn’t out to replace scouts.
“Scouts are the most key people in a club and many times undervalued. To know a player is the most important thing for a club before signing. You want to know as much as you can before signing them to your club. Scouts are instinctive people, but even they need the right tools. Right now current systems of talent ID really just look at an individual’s tactical, technical and physical attributes and almost as an afterthought, an opinion on their psychological condition is given from visual observation from the sideline, and of course hearsay.
Studies in various sports have shown that the mind-set is the most important determinant of athletic success. It makes sense because no matter how talented you are tactically or technically, if your head isn’t in the right place you can’t endure the endless hours of practice, the stress of competition and have the ability to perform in a highly pressurised environment. “
Dr Basra has come across and worked with some of the biggest names in football. As an educator on the Pro license and A badges for the Irish FA she has worked with some of the top names in the games, including multiple title and champions league winners. Her workshops focus on the importance of maintaining their own mental health and how much ones mind-set can influence the game.
In a world where mental health is a stigma, it is refreshing to see footballers embracing her ideas.
“The new age coaches and footballers are different. They know how football is a results driven world and are always looking to gain extra skills to give them that edge. If that means going out of their comfort zone they do. They want to be the best coach, manager possible and are willing to go to great lengths to do it.
These guys love the game but just as they did as players, they are always looking for ways to improve themselves and push themselves to become better coaches/managers. It’s fascinating to see as they come up with some pretty challenging questions sometimes and even I get stumped! “
While the world of banking and technology have embraced psychometric testing, football and sport has yet to widely adopt it. “Basically psychometric testing is another tool to give you extra insight into the mind of an individual, it goes back to knowing as much as you can before signing them to your club. Talent identification is key to bringing clubs value. It helps bring more fans in, ticket sales, and advertising revenue. The players identified are the heart of the club. So why do we not put more value in our recruitment teams and make it more scientific driven with business intelligence? Scouts are the most key people in a club and at many times undervalued. “
To learn more about Profile 90 and the work of Dr Jag Basra, visit www.profile90.com