How IPSO courses arrived in Portugal and how IPSO student dented the Portugal under 21 team.

On the 8th and 9th of December 2018 we held the first Level 2 in opposition analysis/match reporting in Portugal. FC Pedras Rubras, the club from Maia, hosted IPSO and offered the chance of an internship in their Scouting Department to the 3 best students. On the course there was a an analyst from Israel and also professional agents from Bosnia and Nigeria showing how people are prepared to travel great distances to be on our course and gain the attention to detail that makes us different from the rest’’ said João Costa, IPSO’s operations manager in Portugal. João ensures the courses well being and its noticeable expansion based on the previous well succeeded course in Cova da Piedade.

“The course in Almada was fantastic, for the first time an IPSO course had people from every continent in the world, an Australian investor, a South Korean analyst, a Nigerian agent, a Chilean scout, a Canadian scout and a Brazilian agent. We had 26 people on the course, a real tight group of lads with some of them already booked for Level 2 in Pedras Rubras” said João Costa, who is also proud of the first editions that took place in Penafiel and Lisbon after he got back from Manchester in March 2017 with a clear intention of bringing scouting into the spotlight. “I was fascinated by everything involving scouting so I spoke to Colin Chambers, one of the course directors and also a Middlesbrough scout, could we do this in Portugal, we’re a country that breathes football and could do with educating about scouting, analysis, tactics and all the other insights behind the scenes that IPSO teaches within their courses. That’s when I took the initiative to organize the first edition of the course in Penafiel. It was then IPSO offered me the operations manager’s job in Portugal. I was honoured that an organization as big as IPSO would want me as their man in Portugal. But Colin Chambers, one of the heads of the organisation had a different view as he said ‘’João was perfect for us in Portugal, he passed both the Level 1 & 2 courses and we were blown away by his reports and professionalism. When you’ve been in the game as long as us you recognise talent and potential in people and João was the man who impressed just as a player would to a scout. We offered him a job as he’s very good at what he does and we only want the best people in the business working for us and João has the potential to be a very good addition to any football organisation’’.

On the course in Penafiel we had 20 people on it, all kinds of football connected people, a former PSG player, a Benfica scout, football agents and so many academy coaches” recalls Costa, who also invited onto the course names like Paulo Alves (former Maritimo and Sporting striker) and Néné Reis (former FC Porto chief scout). “One of our goals and a big wish of mine is to see the scout role professionalized in Portugal and step by step we’re getting there by teaching and giving people the tools and the knowledge they need as well as the chance to experience the routines of a scout inside a professional structure”

Professionalism above patriotism “A deadly report”.

With João Costa’s very impressive reports and with our contacts, João was asked to do a report for the Polish under 21’s who had a big game coming up against Portugal. He exposed the weaknesses and strengths of Portugal in a detailed analysis of how they played and individual reports on each individual player. João Costa shared this story to A Bola, the major sports newspaper in Portugal. It was an extensive 25 page report with ProScout stamp, which he presented to the Polish Federation in the under 21 European Championship playoff. The young Portuguese presented the teams general vision sustaining his insights with a video-analysis that showed specific notes about Portugal’s previous game against Bosnia-Herzegovina, expanding page by page the players main characteristics, their strengths and weaknesses, their role in the team without neglecting the substitutes. João Costa ends the report with an exhaustive analysis on the team’s characteristics inside their 4-4-2 diamond shape, looking at their offensive and defensive organization and transitions, highlighting their most dangerous moves and their weak spots.

Professionalism stood above patriotism, João had now collaborated with the Polish federation with an extensive analysis about Portugal under 21 team.

Before anything else, don’t blame him… it was a brave embrace to an exciting challenge. João Costa, born in Madeira and settled in Porto, camouflaged in the stands, took on the perfect spy role for the Poles that came to Chaves to knock Portugal out of the under 21 Euro Cup. With a bachelor in Journalism and a master degree in Cinema, João Costa developed in a special way his passion for football, blending the love for the aesthetics of the game to the analytical thought. As the operations manager in Portugal of one of the biggest scouting organizations in the world, IPSO, João Costa has been responsible for the development of the courses different levels in the country. Lets present the profile of our protagonist in this “take-down” of his own nation, let’s rewind to understand the context in which his work led to the Portuguese under 21 failure, whom let slip a one nil lead in Poland.

“Kamil Potrykus, Poland’s under 21 assistant coach and head of analysis asked me if I knew the Portuguese squad and asked me for a report. We talk regularly about IPSO matters and he knew some of my work already, and of course, the fact I was Portuguese meant I could probably put together a more specific report” said João, Maritimo fan and responsible for several football activities connected to Casa da Madeira do Norte. Unconcerned with his double-agent task, he refuses any awkwardness about the situation and focuses on his personal growth gains with this experience.

“Of course i saw the irony in the situation of spying on “my own team” but I didn’t even stop to think about any professionalism v patriotism issues. I faced the whole process as I embrace any other scouting work I do, with the same objectiveness, rigor and attention to detail that I learnt with IPSO. I had an amazing opportunity to prove my worth and I took it.’’ said João, sharing his insight on the playoff that put the first big stain in Rui Jorge’s long dynasty as a coach.

“Poland was better in the decisive moments. They lost well at home in a game that could’ve ended with more goals for each team. I think coming home with no goals suffered wasn’t beneficial for Portugal, they were too relaxed in the second leg” he said, highlighting a curious remark.

“I noticed during the warm-up a huge difference in the intensity with which the Polish were doing their exercises, with high intensity routines in small spaces and that pre-match attitude showed right in the beginning when they scored two goals in the first 10 minutes. Soon after they score the third and Portugal couldn’t react. I believe the team who sweated the most won this playoff” he said.

Interview conducted by Pedro Cadima from A Bola, the main sports newspaper in Portugal. Picture by Helena Valente.

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