Visit to Brentford FC Academy

I was invited down to meet the guys at Brentford’s academy on Tuesday as (through a contact) I’d been asked if I’d be interested in doing some scouting for them in the Oxfordshire area.

I won’t discuss too much regards the academy but I must say it was absolutely fascinating being in that kind of environment for the 5-6 hours I was there. For those of us who volunteer in grassroots you generally haven’t seen inside the football world as you’re doing your day job and spending a few hours a week either coaching, playing or watching a local game.

I sat there listening to the conversations, observing all the football related work going on around me and generally feeling like “these guys are living the dream”. Of course it wasn’t glam, but to be in an environment where it’s your job to talk about & work in football is amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

Having spoken to their recruitment team about the scouting I then hung around for an hour (which spent listening/observing) before heading out to watch their U9s/U10s being coached. This was great, I took down lots of ideas which I’ll bring in to my coaching but thought the caliber of players, the level of information the coaches provided and the way in which they used Q&A was fantastic. The players were clearly enjoying it and the football they played when it came to a match situation was most impressive.

Again, to find myself mid-afternoon on a Tuesday in amongst U9s/10s being coached on one pitch, Under 15s (roughly) on another, Under 16s on another and then a game between the academy and some triallists on one of the main pitches was all a bit surreal, especially to a guy who works 9-5 in an office!

So anyway, they’re looking for a scout to work in the Oxon area and this is interesting because I’ve previously been critical of players being picked up at such young ages. It challenges my views on the topic because the challenge of being able to find good young players is an interesting one to me personally and I’m also not sure if I can be any good at it or not!

The effort required is obviously open to me, the more matches I watch the more chance I have of finding a good player.

I’m keen to take on the challenge and see if I can be of value, especially given the positive impression I had been given about their academy before visiting and the positive impression I took away having visited them. I’ll keep you posted with how it goes & what I learn along the way.