In Focus: Eyeball - How Smarter ‘Data Informed’ Recruitment Could Release Untapped Potential

Is there any commercial aspect of running a club with as much potential as the academy? David Hicks, Director of Business Development at Eyeball, explains why this vital, but often undervalued aspect of a club could be the key to long-term financial stability and sporting success.



Ask yourself this – is achieving financial sustainability the number one concern of most football clubs?


Most clubs are pretty good at optimising matchday revenue or extracting the maximum value from commercial and sponsorship deals. Income from TV rights is typically collectively negotiated and at least fixed for a period.


At Eyeball, I’m repeatedly told, “money is spent on the grass” meaning clubs budgets are massively skewed towards the first team. Football is a business where success on the pitch undoubtedly matters, and there are big financial rewards waiting for clubs that win their leagues and qualify for national and international competitions.


History has seen ambitious owners splurge money on assembling expensive squads capable of breaking into the higher echelons of the game, but few of these projects stand out as truly successful. Plenty have taken catastrophic turns when the jeopardy of ‘fine margins’ falls in the wrong direction.


But is there an alternative? Is there a more progressive, predictable, sustainable and ultimately rewarding way to achieve success on the pitch and real financial stability? Eyeball is staking its future on the answer being a reliable pipeline of revenue generated by your club’s academy!


Identifying talented young players is not so difficult, but predicting which players can and will develop into true adult talent is far from easy. For most clubs, Youth Scouting has typically been a very local exercise and the opportunity to branch out with a wider geographical perspective only comes with a reliance on a network of contacts.


There are obvious, as well as regulatory, reasons why this is standard practice but given the drive to develop and promote more talent from within the academy, clubs are increasingly widening their search for appropriate players to fill vacancies.  Eyeball sets out to completely modernise the youth scouting and recruitment scene, and in the process open the door to greater opportunities to both Professional Clubs and talented players wherever they may be.


It is clear, only the very best and determined players succeed, we are talking about the elite end of the sport.  The question for you as a professional club is – are you identifying and recruiting the right candidates? After all the financial rewards for raising the success rate are significant enough to positively impact your financial standing.


Eyeball are powering a bigger perspective on youth talent – and it’s only just the beginning. Video and data, from across the top-performing players in 12 countries does not just put individual players in the shop window, it enables the art, and especially the science, of talent identification to flourish.


Offering a ground-breaking solution that is changing the way youth player recruitment business works and operating on the scale of an international platform, Eyeball is where the best youth teams get to showcase their players, and industry leading data is captured and analysed at team and individual player levels with high-resolution video files of full 90-minute games, with the option to select and watch highlights brings speed and efficiencies to the scouting process. 



Video is the essential tool of a modern scouting department and searchable player data gives efficiency helping to inform and direct scouting research efforts.   Methods and tools now common in senior team recruiting are now being modified and applied to the fragmented world of youth football. The value of being able to quickly see a player over multiple matches, against a variety of opponents presents scouts with a unique opportunity to form a meaningful opinion on a player that can be further supported by data analysis.


Championing the moto “talent is everywhere” Eyeball’s online platform enables professional clubs to identify, watch, analyse, track and ultimately recruit those in whom they see the greatest potential from a pool of tens of thousands of players spread across 12 countries and two continents.


Clubs across Europe’s top leagues are now increasingly relying on the Eyeball platform to recruit to their academy. Data is driving the future of youth talent discovery and development, and the efficiencies of online video scouting are immediately impacting the bottom line in a positive manner.


We believe that transparency equates to opportunity, so presenting talented youth players everywhere with the chance to be seen by potential suitor clubs is a worthy mission. It has been said that identifying the exceptional ‘generational’ talents is easy, the real challenge is to identify which players will develop the right way and reveal their true potential by the time they are 18 or 20.


While the successes are widely celebrated, what no one really knows, is how much amazing potential goes unidentified and is ultimately wasted, a terrible loss to the talented child and a missed opportunity to the professional game.


Data analysis is common now in the senior game. Although there are still big advances to be realised in terms of identifying players with the ability and temperament to fit into a particular role in a squad playing to a manager’s preferred style. The most exciting space in the entire football data world is surely the advancement of data analysis from retrospective review to a predictive capability.


Data is useful – on a large scale it’s invaluably informative. This is where Eyeball and the game of football is moving, and the future is looking very bright.


No one is suggesting it is easy, but Eyeball believes the model of recruiting the right players to the academy is the single most important business lever available to every club in Europe, and from a financial sustainability perspective an area that merits greater focus from club owners and their commercial people.##


Modernise your youth recruitment with Eyeball

Select Country – Pick from our markets to view clubs, games and players in countries you are interested in.

Filter player profiles – Filter through key information to find the player you are missing.

Search by Club – Choose the club you wish to view.

Easily analyse games and players – Eyeball ensures consistent high-quality video with essential game and player information.

Optimise efficiency through tags and statistics – Save time and money by integrating Eyeball analytics to your scouting department’s working methods.


For more information contact David Hicks: m: +420 773 563 323 e:






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