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IPSO (International Professional Scouting Organisation), founded in England, has been teaching football scouting worldwide for almost a decade. Through Gábor Holdampf, the company has also set foot in Hungary since 2018, observers and coaches of many Hungarian clubs have also attended in the courses.

What is scouting about? The popular idea might suggest that it is a particularly simple job, you turn on the television, maybe even visit the stadium, follow every move of a player, and then write them down. Well, Gábor Holdampf, the Hungarian operations manager of the International Player Observers’ Organization (IPSO), shed some light on the picture.

 “Colin Chambers, the director of the company, founded the IPSO project with 15 years of Premier League experience. He systematized the method of football scouting and analysis, the basis of which is the “Attention to detail” approach, which also serves as a motto: the big picture is given by all of the details. After completing the scouting course in London, I became the Hungarian representative of IPSO, and I was looking for a domestic partner. In the spring of 2018, László Nagy from Budapest Honvéd became interested in the project and they became the host of the first courses in Hungary. Their coaches and scouts participated the courses.

Other domestic and foreign clubs (MTK, FTC, Mol Fehérvár, Bayern München, Slavia Praha) as well as external students came to our courses. The IPSO “path way” became a complete football scouting and analysis related education system, operating both online and local courses.

Those who pass the exam receive a diploma from IPSO certified by the YMCA Awards. Live courses take two full days, and then there is an exam to write a report on a football player after watching a match live. During the course, it is possible to get from the basics of football scouting to the possibility of preparing a report whose criteria correspond to those prepared by Premier League scouts. Of course, you can only learn the method here, you can learn the “how”, all of this by using the IPSO book and some other their materials. Achieving a professional level here also requires a lot of practice.

The cooperation with Budapest Honvéd and MOL Fehérvár was excellent. During the course at MOL Fehérvár I worked with Tamás Balogh. He was the club’s chief scout at the time and now he works as the Eastern European consultant for Brentford FC in the Premier League. M4 Sport and Digisport TV also reported about the first course.”

The tutors of IPSO represent the highest level of English football with their long time Premier League experience. One of them is Steve Shea, who participated in the selection of the stars of Leicester City, who won the championship in 2016: he was also actively involved in the signing of Kasper Schmeichel, N’Golo Kanté, and Jamie Vardy. He is not the only one with close experience of the 2020 English top scorer in the staff.

“Colin Chambers watched Vardy at Fleetwood Town back in 2011 and early 2012. The reports he wrote about him are also a very interesting and important part of the course.”

Gábor Holdampf considers the training of football scouting is important from several points of view. Watching the game superficially, without paying attention to the small but important moments, can lead you to make bad decisions. Also relying only on data analysis – which became a popular tool these days – can also lead you astray.

“Data analysis is important, but it does not show the big picture by itself at all. It does not reveal anything, e.g. about features that define the player’s attitude, such as internal motivational drive, etc.. You need to know all of these to get the full picture, whether you assess an adult or a junior player.”