20th May - scouting at the tournament
A major aspect of the Toulon Tournament is the scouting that takes place over the 10-day tournament. Over 200 scouts from around the globe (including Mexico, USA, a number of European countries and Japan) attend the tournament, with a host of clubs sending delegates to assess the next generation of talent.
Alongside players who’ve been monitored by clubs over the past 12 months, the Toulon Tournament - with its diverse set of competitors - can often act as a base where new players can be initially identified for further scouting.
While there are obvious benefits to scouting at the Toulon Tournament, scouts are often faced with less-publicised challenges that is commonplace within their networks, but perhaps less known to those outside of professional clubs.
Team squads: the impact of selecting a tournament squad so close (in some cases just days) to the tournament has huge implications for scouts. Managing a busy summer schedule where the aim is to assess as many targets as possible becomes more of a challenge because of this.
Age groups: this player information is essential for scouts, who will be working from player profile templates that will of course be linked to age. In a tournament which includes players between the ages of 16-23, this can present an additional challenge for scouts.
The scouts in attendance include a host of former players; players who’ve not grown up in an era where they could take advantage of data and technology which was then unavailable.
Over the past few days, they’ve been exposed to and engaged with available technologies (most notably at a Scout7-hosted lunch earlier this week, attended by over 40 scouts). Former players and scouts who perhaps don’t consider this second nature, do however understand the value it can bring and more importantly, how it can potentially make them a more informed scout in regards to thoroughly assessing players.
18th May - tournament gets underway
OptaPro is supporting teams competing in this year’s Toulon Tournament, providing the 10 teams involved with tools to assist opposition scouting, live analysis and post-match review.
While day one of the tournament only saw four teams in action on the field and other teams enjoying a ‘rest day’, for the competing nations’ analysts this was not the case. Many were in the stadium analysing today’s (18th May) matches ahead of potential meetings later in Toulon. The combination of both video and data will undoubtedly support in assessing opponents as the tournament progresses.
What is clear, even after one day of the tournament, is that Toulon offers a prime opportunity for football development – be it the attending aspiring coaches and managers on a qualification, teams preparing for ‘major’ tournaments (Mexico’s U23 team is using the Toulon Tournament to prepare for this summer’s Olympic Games) or introducing new players to the set-up, or coaches implementing new tactics and analysis concepts to support their team’s performance.
We’ll be in Toulon throughout, and will add to this blog as the tournament progresses.