A Thought On MLS Scouting

A Thought On MLS Scouting

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On January 6, 2010
  • 1 Comments
  • Player Scouting, Scouting

It is indeed a slow day around these parts. For some reason the cold has come into Dallas and I just feel like doing next to nothing. Thankfully there are others around that are actively doing their part to produce interesting items and this one by Kyle McCarthy got me thinking.

Basically McCarthy offers a suggestion on how the league should re-do their scouting system. In a nutshell he says they should actually be more like the NHL. An idea that actually doesn’t sound too terrible on the surface.

Scouting is rough for MLS clubs due to the time that the college season goes on here in the States, which is right during the heart of the MLS season when teams are fighting to get into the playoffs. No team wants to spend time sending coaches to a college match in the middle of October when they are sitting a point out of a playoff spot. But what McCarthy says could be changed to will help teams out.

The concept is just as simple as it sounds. The NHL started its central scouting service in 1975 to serve its member clubs. Twenty-nine scouts – including eight full-time staffers and fifteen part-timers just to cover the U.S. and Canada – blanket North America and Europe and search for NHL prospects wherever they can be found. The service grades prospects on publicly-available criteria and issues two player ranking lists during the season. In addition to its player evaluation services, the central scouting service also offers weekly injury updates, supplies teams with game tapes and invites 100 top prospects to Toronto for medical and fitness testing.

Of course this model would be scaled down a bit for MLS. Plus this model would also get its own central service for player rankings and what not. Basically you’d take your Buzz Carricks of the world and hire them to scout full time for the league. Honestly a move that would benefit everyone involved.

The cost to do such a thing is probably the reason we will never see it take place in MLS. Not to mention folks will want academy players over college players down the road with the league putting proper emphasis on the academy system here we may not need this kind of scouting system anyways.

For improving the college draft this system wouldn’t be bad at all. It would give teams a chance to improve on those third and forth round picks that typically go nowhere after they are selected. I think getting the draft right is a vital part for clubs right now. The clubs who draft well over time typically do better in the league while those who don’t draft well do struggle.

What do you all think of this idea? Should the league spend some money on a good scouting system like this or not?