Promising footballers’ careers could be more on-side thanks to a new talent spotting website developed by a University of Northampton lecturer and officially launched this week.
‘Pitch’ was created by Saul Cuttell, Programme Leader for Sport Science and contains details for talent scouts and coaches about aspirational professional footballers’ fitness levels, psychology, values and their technical skills, including videos.
Other details that can be accessed on this subscription service include biographical information, how resilient players – both male and female – are and information about how footballers cope with success and failure.
These measures point toward potential sporting success and are used in Pitch to create a detailed system scouts, coaches and managers can use to check the ‘coachability’ of footballers.
As the data put into Pitch is validated by professionals – for instance, the player’s coach or a sport scientist – the site offers scouts and managers accurate and reliable information.
As Pitch develops to include more players, the system has the potential to provide talent scouts with a comprehensive platform to select players and create teams that are the ‘best fit’, based on more intelligent measures gathered over a period of time, rather than a single match observation that is currently be used.
In turn, the system could identify and launch the pro-football players of tomorrow, making team selection of the future more ‘back of the net’ than an ‘own goal’.
Players profile page, Pitch RMT.
The website has tiered levels of subscription for both footballers and scouts; those teams on the top level can access details about top players and so on down the subscription list.
The benefit for footballers is that they can create and control a standardised professional profile with up-to-date information about their physical fitness and pitch-side prowess for coaches to view and assess.
Commenting on why he developed Pitch, Saul said: “Talent frequently gets missed in football. For example, over 9,000 young male players are dropped from professional teams each year, that’s over 800 potential 11-aside teams.
“People might ask ‘why should I choose Pitch RMT?’ But the question should probably be ‘Why not?’ Not every budding player makes it during their first try-out for many reasons, all of them deserve a second chance and Pitch can help support these players.”
He added: “One of the main problems with talent ID and development at the moment is that it’s mainly based on opinions and in some cases a one day look at a player. There’s a lot more to a footballer’s performance and ability to train than that.
“With the Pitch website, teams get to look at a whole year’s worth of performance data for an individual player, giving them much more intelligence and insight.
“I hope that with Pitch we can start the process of reinventing the way we identify football talent to help people achieve their dream and play at the next level or even professional football.”
University of Northampton student Gideon Thomas said: “As first team captain of University of Northampton’s men’s football team, Pitch has been very beneficial to me.
“I’m able analyse a variety of players and pick the best options for a potential league winning squad. Feedback from the players has been positive about Pitch.
“Putting our football profiles on Pitch allow us to showcase ourselves to lookers from the outside, which shows us there is a chance to get in contact with teams and hopefully go far in our football careers.”
Lee Garlick, Head of Coaching at Northampton Football Club, said: “While we watch as many games as we possibly can, it obviously isn’t possible to watch every aspiring player at every match. There is nothing quite like actually watching a player with your own eyes but when that isn’t possible, Pitch allows coaches and clubs to have more eyes on more players – and more often, meaning we can scout from our desktops.
“Pitch also lets clubs filter out more of what we want to see. So, if we are looking for something specific – either physically or psychologically – we can use the website to speed up the process of spotting talent.”
For more detail about the website and how to subscribe: http://www.pitchrmt.com/
You can also follow the Pitch Twitter and Instagram accounts for updates.