The pursuit of wisdom in any walk of life quickly reveals that what you think you know is not nearly enough to get you to where you want to go. As I'm starting out in my football scouting journey I challenged myself to reach out to those already working in various roles in football to answer a short list of questions. My goal wasn't to get answers but relevant perspectives on the game within the game.
Here is @esnukero:
Here is @esnukero:
How did your first opportunity in football come about?
Well, I´m not in a "professional club", but in the past year, year and a half I have been collaborating with www.Smartscouting.club (@scouting_club) that is a group of people that we want to "act" as consultants for clubs, agents, media... so we can recommend players, check problems in their game, give reports in a visual way, etc. There are scouts, professional people related with football... and there I act like a "data/visualizations" guy.
I always liked and played football so I used it to learn new stuff in data and visualizations (more entertaining than at work!). Then I opened a "portfolio-website" called ww.sportsdata.club where I put some designs and blogs.
What attracted you to scouting/analytics? What’s more intriguing now names or numbers?
I have a technical background, and I moved my professional career into the data, insights, reporting, visualizations... so I felt interested on how to apply it to football. It´s still growing, and I feel these analytics world has a lot to say still in football!
I want to think that numbers will slowly slowly getting more importance in the day to day (media, clubs, etc).
Who/what is the first player/concept you "found"? What caught your eye?
Feels a bit obvious now, but when I started "working" with these data, all the xG concept caught my attention quickly. How you could put different strikers into clusters, checking all their chances and give them a number...
There was a moment that I was watching a game and I was imagining the xG number after a shot :D
One player I had on my list and thought he was going to be good was Emi Buendia. He got relegated from second division in Spain but his numbers were really good and signed for Norwich in Championship, he was key for the promotion to Premier League.
Who/what is the player/concept you "missed" on? What did you learn from it?
Of course there were players that appear from nowhere with a bad data, but thats the funny thing of this, that data needs to go with a good eye.
I don´t think I missed on things, I try to keep learning everyday, and nowadays there are a lot of info, people on social media... trying to share really interesting things. Then you also have forums with experts, that´s the way to keep learning.
If you could start over what skill would you build on first?
Probably the scouting part (I´m really data biased!) and the story telling.
At the end, you need to explain clear the insights to people that might not be used to deal with data/analytics.
Do you see player development as more of an art or a science? Is
development on the club or the player? Why?
I think is an art but that will need the science to keep developing. Hopefully more and more club will realize that they need the science for their development in both, player and club.
What is your favorite sports moment? Why?
I´m Real Oviedo supporter, so I don't have many haha. I would say the pure feeling of being totally f*cked in a financial crisis and slowly slowly coming back to the professional football in Spain is a success. So I would say the promotion to Segunda in 2015.
What coach/player/team inspires you? Why?
I would say Luis Aragonés (RIP), former Spanish national team coach and Oviedo too! I´ve been told that he was a fan of the numbers and data (for that time is quite a good thing). He gave form to the Spanish National team that won everything.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into media/analytics?
I´m in not position to give advice I think! but I would say that they should put things online, don´t be shy to share, ask... do networking, read a lot of stuff that is already out there... Also you might like and watch a lot of football, but don´t forget the scientific part (like data science, computer science...)
I think is the perfect time to do it!
What is your favorite app/tool to use (for work or fun)?
I would say Tableau, a really powerful software of visualizations that I use at work too. You can do really great reports, dashboards with it.
What other sport/hobby/discipline do you feel improves your work as an analyst? Why?
I like Snooker, watching and following it. As there the analytics is even behind football, I tried to give different views there. (there my twitter name esnukero! :D )