Where Do Soccer Scouts Look For Players?

football scout monitors a game

Scouts are responsible for spotting talented players for professional clubs to maintain a roster capable of meeting the team’s needs on the field. Many folks wonder where soccer scouts find players in order to give themselves an entry route into the professional game.

This article answers the question “Where Do Soccer Scouts Look For Players?” by discussing the top avenues players are discovered by scouts into the professional game. We also outline attributes scouts look out for in players to recommend them for their clubs.

Where Do Soccer Scouts Look For Players?

Soccer scouts discover players during open tryouts by their clubs as well as games played in NCAA college tournaments. Scouts also frequently attend high school soccer games, and youth soccer tournaments and may even watch Youtube videos of players showing traces of outstanding talent.

Getting discovered by a connected scout is the main entry route into the professional game for prospective soccer players. Players who are desperate for their talent to be unearthed have to put themselves in the right places at the right time to increase their chances of getting noticed by a professional club.

5 Places Where Soccer Scouts Discover Players

Here are the 5 places where soccer scouts discover players in the modern game across different areas of the world.

Open Tryouts

players in an open tryout

Open tryouts are one of the easiest routes into the professional game because it brings together reputable scouts. These tryouts may be held by professional clubs with their in-house scouts in attendance to spot and recommend the best talent.

Clubs typically organize tryouts with an idea of what players to look out for in terms of positions, physique, and talent level. The good news about such tryouts is that it gives the chosen players a straight route into the club’s teams.

Many of these tryouts focus on recruitment into the organizing club’s second and feeder teams but players that make the cut over there are fast-tracked into their first teams without hesitation. The LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls are a few examples of MLS teams that hold annual tryouts for talented players to showcase what they can do.

The criteria for getting into tryouts are usually basic and include a specified age range as well as gender. Many of these clubs also hold tryouts for their developmental teams to ensure a constant supply of talent for their main teams.

College Soccer

College soccer tournaments like the NCAA in the United States can be a great way to catch the attention of soccer scouts. Many colleges offer athletic scholarships to the best soccer players that apply to give their teams a competitive advantage.

Many soccer team scouts attend games in these tournaments with the aim of discovering top talent to recommend for the MLS SuperDraft. Other clubs abroad may recruit outstanding players directly depending on their performances.

Either way, college soccer opens doors for players to turn pro because it provides a platform to catch the eye of some of the most reputable scouts in the North American region and elsewhere.

High School Soccer

High school soccer competitions also serve as a gateway for players to attract the attention of club scouts. Many clubs have vast scouting networks across different parts of the world to discover and nurture young talent.

High school students that show impressive performances during competitions are likely to catch the attention of scouts. These scouts may integrate such students into the corresponding age group in their club’s academies for further development.

The best high school soccer players typically find themselves attracting contact from scouts which provide opportunities to get into the books of some of the best clubs in the world.

Youth Soccer Tournaments

two youth players in a game

Soccer clubs believe in spotting talent as early as possible for development. Some of the biggest global clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Barcelona begin drafting players into their academies from as young as 6 years old.

Players that stand out during youth soccer tournaments have a good chance of drawing the attention of reputable scouts to get into the books of some of the best soccer clubs on the planet. This is the reason why clubs spend so much money to build robust scouting systems in the first place.

If there’s any youth soccer player anywhere, chances are professional scouts are already aware of him or her and making plans on how to move forward in the sign-up process.


Youtube is proving to be a great way to alert scouts to the existence of talented players. Many prospective professionals post videos of their games on the popular video streaming channel. This could be the first point of contact for scouts to dig further into a player’s qualities.

Soccer scouts are old school and no one will sign a player based on a few Youtube videos but they serve as the first point of contact. Scouts are likely to travel to observe the player in action several times before making up their minds on whether the player has what it takes to make it in the professional game.

What Attributes Do Scouts Look Out For In Soccer Players?

Scouts come across thousands of soccer players in their line of duty but only a few receive recommendations for professional contracts. Here are the top attributes scouts look out for before recommending players.

Soccer Scouts Look For Technical Ability

Technical ability is the number one trait soccer scouts look out for in players. Basic skills like dribbling, passing, shooting, heading, and a great first touch are a minimum requirement for grabbing a scout’s attention.

This is why players who aspire to participate in the professional game are advised to keep practicing to improve their skills. Obviously, a defender is expected to be a better tackler than a striker while the latter should have a superior eye for goal.

But, versatility is an equally important trait in the game, and sometimes, scouts make their choice between two players in the same position because one is slightly more versatile.

Soccer Scouts Respect Intelligence

two opposing players in a soccer game

Soccer intelligence is a core attribute of the game which becomes evident in a player after a few minutes of watching him or her. A player should always be aware of the surroundings and make the right decisions to advance the team’s interests without much effort.

Positioning is one of the vital ways players show their soccer intelligence both on and off the ball. Players that go out of position when their team loses possession are likely to put teammates at a disadvantage during swift counterattacks which could result in conceding.

This is in sharp contrast to players that draw multiple opponents out of position to create spaces for teammates to exploit during attacks which increases the chances of scoring.

Soccer Scouts Look For Mental Fortitude and Leadership Qualities

Scouts have a lot of respect for players that show mental fortitude regardless of whether the game is going in their favor or not. Players who maintain tactical discipline even when their team is winning are likely to draw the attention of scouts.

This is in contrast to players that abandon their positions just because their team may be ahead which leaves gaps for the opposition to exploit to close in on the results of the game.

Also, a player’s ability to lead by example on the field including putting their bodies on the line and coming to the aid of struggling teammates without abandoning their own positions is an admirable trait in the books of soccer scouts.

Soccer Scouts Watch Out For Physical Traits

Soccer may not be the most physical sport but scouts still look out for physical traits that could serve as an advantage for their teams. For instance, strong, tall center backs with excellent technical and tactical ability will always be well sought after.

A striker that has an equal ability with both feet is likely to draw the attention of scouts as long as the player has exceptional technical and tactical qualities. This physical trait could serve as an advantage over another single-footed striker with similar tactical and technical attributes.

Scouts also look out for players who are in great shape physically even at a young age. Tireless players are always an asset to their teams and are known to experience career longevity which can be a plus to professional clubs that eventually sign them.

Soccer Scouts Prefer Pacy Players

two opposing players in a soccer game

Speed is an essential attribute in soccer and amateurs that display exceptional levels always attract the attention of scouts. It has always been a core trait among wingers but quicker players are becoming increasingly essential in all areas of the game.

It doesn’t take long for pacey players to stand out during tryouts and other competitive matches. Pace can be vital to strikers’ ability to outwit defenders for scoring opportunities or for midfielders to win balls in the middle of the park.

Pacey defenders also beat strikers to the ball to stave off attacks and protect their goalkeepers which limits how many scoring chances opponents create.

Soccer Scouts Love Players With Great Personality

Personality is another important trait soccer scouts look out for in players during tryouts and other talent acquisition competitions. Does the player look hungry to succeed? Does he or she play with enough commitment to winning? Does the player show good leadership qualities?

Players who display a positive personality on the field, as well as good leadership qualities coupled with the necessary talents, are recommended by scouts to their clubs.


Soccer scouts find talent from a wide range of sources including open club tryouts, college soccer competitions, high school competitions, and youth soccer tournaments. An increasing number of scouts are also logging onto YouTube for leads on prospective talent.

Scouts look out for attributes like tactical and technical ability as well as pace and leadership qualities in players aspiring to enter the professional game. Personality, hunger, and physical attributes are additional qualities scouts look out for to determine whether to recommend a player for a professional contract.

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