With the European pre-season now underway, several thousand professional players, either disengaged or open to offer, face an uncertain future as they look to secure new employment for the upcoming campaign.
In England alone, 614 professional players were released by the 72 Football League clubs at the end of last season and as of 1st July, 75% of these players were still disengaged.
For players in this situation, it is absolutely essential to have visibility to potential employers and throughout this summer, we have been embarking on a number of initiatives, working in conjunction with a number of the game’s stakeholders, to make these players visible to recruitment staff at clubs.
For professionals and scholars based in England, we have been feeding detailed player statistics into the PFA’sTransfer List, which is used by clubs all around the world to search for players meeting their key recruitment criteria. As well as providing first team appearance information, we also feed historical reserve and U18 league appearances into every listed player’s biography, alongside all the international appearances they have made from U16-Senior level.
The players on the PFA Transfer List are also listed in a widget within our own ProScout7 platform, where clubs can not only study the scouting reports they have on the listed players, but also make direct enquiries regarding any player’s availability, which are sent through to player directly via the PFA.
The presentation of Aaron McLean’s career statistics on the PFA Transfer List
Alongside the work we are doing in England, we are also collaborating with the French player’s union, the UNFP, who have embarked on a different kind of project to promote many of their members.
Under the supervision of the former Dijon and Amiens Head Coach Serge Romano, twenty-six active UNFP members have just finished taking part in a training camp and will now spend the next month playing in seven pre-season friendly matches against professional clubs from the top three tiers of French football.
Full details of all these matches, including match teamsheets, will be published across Scout7’s range of applications, together with full match video.
The UNFP team are also taking part in the 2015 FIFPro Tournament, an initiative which has been supported by Scout7 for the last five years.
Historically FIFPro has held four different regional tournaments during the year, both in Europe and the Americas, which bring together disengaged players from all around the world to play matches in front of club scouts.
It is worth noting that the two current leading scorers in the Finnish domestic top flight, Alexandr Kokko and Juho Mäkelä, both played for the Finland player union’s team at the Scandinavian edition of the tournament earlier this year. This highlights how participating players can not only use the event to showcase their ability, but also use it as a springboard to make an impact for their new club.
As 2015 marks FIFPro’s fiftieth anniversary, the union has expanded its flagship summer tournament to include eighteen different nations, including seven who are taking part in a FIFPro event for the first time: Austria, Czech Republic, Malta, Montenegro, Poland, Romania and the Ukraine.
The competition has been organised as a straight knock-out tournament and is being played throughout June and July, with over 300 disengaged players taking part. Last weekend saw the last-sixteen matches take place, with the teams from Austria, Czech Republic, France, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland all progressing to the quarter-finals.
The quarter-finals are taking place this weekend, with the winners advancing to the final stages, which will be played in Rijnsburg, Netherlands, from 16-18 July.
The Spanish union, the AFE, have progressed to the FIFPro quarter-finals
As well as providing data on all the participating players, Scout7 is publishing match information from every game in the Intelligent Sports Framework (ISF), together with video from a number of the games which are being filmed by the respective associations. This will allow a greater number of scouts, who are unable to watch the games live, to assess the players remotely from their desktop PC or tablet device.
And by making this content accessible to key recruitment decision-makers at all levels of the game, we hope that a significant number of disengaged players are given the necessary visibility which enable clubs to objectively evaluate their credentials.