Searching for Standouts

The art and science of finding talent

Youth talent identification is both an art and a science. The Eyeball team works everyday to add quality and substance to the science side of this equation with video and data tools.

Video is the essential tool of a modern scouting department and searchable player data increases efficiency by helping to inform and direct scouting research efforts.

But these tools work best when coupled with good, old-fashioned strategies of scouting — the “art” of the trade. One straightforward and proven indicator of standout young talent is if the player is “playing up an age group” or two.

Early bloomers

Mathys Tel (2005) was consistently playing 2 years above his age, playing in U17 with the 2003’s as a 2005 when he was at Paris-based Montrouge FC, he is now of course at FC Bayern and drawing comparisons to his French compatriots Kylian Mbappé and Karim Benzema.

And just two seasons ago Warren Zaïre-Emery (2006) started playing U19s with the 2003’s and 2004’s. He now starts for PSG and the French National team.

Best of both worlds with Eyeball

Here’s how to use Eyeball’s search function to optimize your search for talent playing above their age group:

In the platform search function, set the BIRTH YEAR field to be at odds with the TEAM AGE GROUP field.

The results will show all the players in the chosen country that are ‘playing up’ to that age group.

We did a test search for this article and found that across Eyeball’s European coverage there are over 100 players born in 2008 & 2009 playing in U18 and U19 sides.

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