In Poland, a lot of people want to become scouts, but so far, not counting individual courses, no one prepared them for this role. IPSO, international scouting network, wants to change it by inviting famous figures of Polish football. 2× was talking to its representative, Kamil Potrykus (Managing Director of IPSO).

Why did you decide to establish something like IPSO? 

“The initiative came from people training scouts every day for Premier League clubs who wanted to expand outside the UK. I lived for many years in Manchester and was in different circles of football. I attended such a course, which, among other things contributed to my work with IPSO. In view of the fact that in Poland there is no organization that trains professional scouts, we decided to start a project in our country.”

In Poland such course have already been organized, for example, by Tomasz Pasieczny, who now works at Arsenal. How are different?

“First of all, we rely entirely on the program created by experienced people in the UK which is still used. Second thing is that those completing the course have to take the test at the end, so they have a confirmation of acquired skills. This will have its impact their future. We support what is different in relation to such courses. We do not leave these people on the lurch, but we give them an opportunity to develop. I’m talking about the practical training, internships in clubs and so on. Based on their individual capabilities we would like to continue to push them towards. If anyone is still too weak to work independently, they may go with an experienced scout to the Premier League match and prepare a report under his guidance.”

What is the purpose of long-term, what you want to achieve? How do you imagine this organization for – say – five years?

“Our aim is to train professional scouts. We want a comprehensive way to share the knowledge and experience of the English scouts and trainers working with our current and future scouts. In a few years, we would like to show our scouting not only in Poland, but also in neighboring countries by regularly organized courses. That is our goal.”

Is your course more about working in Poland or abroad?

“Both, but if someone does not know English well enough it is unlikely that he’ll go abroad. However, he will be ready for action in Poland.”

If you are interested mainly Polish market, maybe you should have named it in Polish? This one sounds like a foreign fake…

“Our name was created and launched in the UK in order to highlight the international scope. It is supposed to reflect the nature of our project. Today it consists of mainly the British, including myself. In future, it shall be composed of representatives of the countries in which our courses will be taught. Surely, we aren’t fake.”

How do these courses look in England?

“Just like in our country, they last two days. On my own example, I can say that such courses in the UK are popular especially among the clubs, independent scouts and former players. I met many interesting people there and made some interesting contacts, among others, with one of the lecturers and creators of IPSO.”

How much can you earn as a scout on a British market?

“In the UK clubs employ many scouts in different ways some full-time some part time. For example, a scout working in the Premier League part-time can earn enough to live off or earn enough to put to his normal job to make a nice living for himself. The full time scouts can vary from a standard wage of roughly £20,000 a year to £50,000 a year at some of the top clubs possibly more and in some cases less it really does depend how good you are and the budget of the club.”

You want to aim at people with known names. Who will it be?

“Our course will be led by experienced scouts and lecturers who work and have worked in the Premier League Europe and at International level creating a number of observation reports for clubs or countries of now known players such as. Adnan Januzaj, Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Ibe or Paul Pogba. We now have had many scouts or football people from many clubs around the world visit us examples are from clubs like Liverpool, Manchester United, Rangers, Manchester City, Panathinaikos, Chelsea, Porto, Legia Warsaw, Borrusia Dortmand, Tottenham, Dynamo Moscow, Southampton and many others.”

Are you planning courses only in our country?

“No, certainly not only in Poland, because the organization of the next course is planned for Slovakia. We received a question on the organization of the course in Qatar, and even the US, where we are having advanced talks. In the meantime, we will conduct a number of trainings and presentations addressing schools and sports academies in the UK, according to IPSO’s ‘player in the eyes of a Scout‘.”

How many people take part in such trainings?

“We are very pleased with the response to our offer by the football society. Every day we respond to a lot of emails and phone calls. On the first day after the announcement [of our course] on FB and TT a dozen people came to us. Our course will be attended by e.g. representatives of Legia Warszawa, Lechia Gdańsk, Górnik Łęczna and Arka Gdynia. We can also tell that Manchester City decided to send one of his (CITC) coaches, Dawid Wild (pictured). We feel honored. In the list of our guests there is, for example, Colin Hendry – former Manchester City and Glasgow Rangers player, coaches Michał Probierz and Czesław Michniewicz. With players confirmed, inter alia, Szymon Sawala with GKS Belchatów and Peter Hricko, until recently playing for Polonia Bytom and Pogoń Szczecin. Also, we have a confirmation from the sports director of Lechia, Jarosław Bieniuk. We expect a few surprises. Current and former players of the first league, presidents and academy coaches want to participate in our course. There are also many people not connected with the clubs who want to be scouts in future.”
“In order to ensure the highest quality and comfortable conditions for all the participants, we have limited ourselves to a maximum of 30 seats. Our course will take place in a modern Mera SPA Hotel, located directly on the beach in Sopot near Gdańsk and Gdynia.”

Will Probierz and Michniewicz be your guests or active participants?

“Coach Probierz is basically a normal participant, but as a special guest. We invited him on Sunday to take part in a panel discussion and answer questions. Coach Michniewicz was persuaded to cooperate more closely. In each country, we want to have someone who knows well the specificity of the market in our business. Michniewicz will certainly give a short lecture on scouting realities in Polish clubs, working with clubs, expectations and similar issues.

Is he the main personality for your course?

“It’s too much to say. We just decided that he would be the right person to work as he is a coach with a lot of experience, which could be shared.”

Acquisition of skills is one thing, but someone still needs to be willing to use them. Have Polish clubs started spending on scouting?

“Yes, more and more clubs looking for such people. Ślask Wrocław and Lech Poznań wanted to find scouts even among students, giving them an internship. Clubs want to expand the scouting network, mostly among young people. Today, however, we lack qualified people who would use uniform tools and specific criteria when evaluating talented players. We must also remember that a scout isn’t always assessing a single player. Sometimes he is sent to watch the opponent, evaluate tactics, key players and then makes an appropriate report.”

Interviewed by Przemysław Michalak of 2×