J-League club Urawa Reds have modernized their scouting department through introducing Wyscout Scouting Area. Now there is no need to solely rely on agents or inter­na­tion­al scouts when it comes to player evaluation and talent acquisition. In this article, learn how scouting software has rev­o­lu­tion­ized the recruitment workflow at this leading Japanese club.

Football talents can be rare commodities that can crop up anywhere in the world. Even for a club with huge resources, it is impossible to cover the entire globe by the physical presence of scouts or a network of agents. At a time when the demand for high potential talents has never been higher, a club with a smaller budget than global elite teams has to be even more innovative in their approach to recruitment. Technology has enabled the creation of innovative tools that have allowed clubs to bring the entire recruitment process in-house.

Urawa Reds focus their scouting on three categories of players:

  • Youth footballers from Japanese high-schools and universities
  • Professional players from within the country
  • Overseas players
Urawa Reds are a mainstay in the J1.League - the top level of football in Japan. Image: ©URAWA REDS.

To find them, the club tend to rely on agents, explained Tsutomu Nishino, Technical Director at Urawa Reds. “Agents are very powerful when it comes to signing international footballers, but agents have their own business interests,” said Nishino. “As a club we want to be able to evaluate a player offered to us, make sure he improves our squad and back up our final decision with data.”

This is where video scouting comes into the spotlight. To cover their scouting and recruitment needs, Urawa Reds are using Wyscout and are the first club in Japan to benefit from the Wyscout Scouting Area. “Now we can watch any match in the world, create video clips very easily and get information of any player, any club, any league at our fingertips,” explained Nishino.

Urawa Reds Technical Director Tsutomu Nishino using the Wyscout platform in his daily work.
Underpin subjective opinion with video evidence and in-depth stats in the Scouting Area.

As a technical director, Nishino is in charge of talent acquisition within the club. His recruitment team consists of three scouts, two scouts responsible for high school and university players, the other responsible for domestic professional competition.“ The management department staff, including myself and a sporting director are now identifying talent on Wyscout,” said Nishino. 

Now we can watch any match in the world, create video clips very easily and get information of any player, any club, any league at our fingertips.

The Wyscout Scouting Area combines scouting reports, curated video clips as well as performance and career data to provide a comprehensive view on potential signings. What is also important for Urawa Reds is that the platform allows them to organize the recruitment team’s workflow more efficiently. “It’s useful not only for finding information about a player but also sharing this information throughout our scouting staff,” said Nishino.

“First of all, we set player profiles for Urawa Reds for each position. Then based on that profile, the scouting staff watch the videos and finally that information is shared easily through the cloud, after visiting the game, we create a scouting report on Scouting Area” he explained. Wyscout Scouting Area is a communication tool as well, and I can share my thoughts on a player, back them up with video evidence and initiate a discussion within my team.”

Check out a quick video walkthrough of the Scouting Area above.

The impact of COVID-19 restrictions on clubs globally has forced them to adjust to a remote recruitment strategy and has resulted, many clubs creating new  and more efficient workflows that can be continued in the post-pandemic world. “Now we cannot imagine our work without the Wyscout system,” explained Nishino. 

“Additionally, now in football there is so much more information on players than before. What we do is we make lists of international players that are potentially of our interest and then start researching them. Without Wyscout, it'd be impossible to get the information of those players in the first place.”

Click here to learn more about the Wyscout Scouting Area.