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How the UEFA Academy made me a better football scout

The UEFA Elite Scout Programme is just one example of how courses offered by the UEFA Academy provide opportunities to share knowledge and increase expertise. Gus Williams, a member of the programme’s first cohort, explains how.

Launched in 2021 through the UEFA Academy, the UEFA Elite Scout Programme caters specifically for one of the most specialised and significant roles in football: scouting.

Gus Williams, who at the time worked for the Football Association of Wales (FAW), was one of the first 35 graduates of the three-month course. Williams spent more than two decades at the FAW, latterly being responsible for designing and implementing their talent identification pathway, and credits the UEFA Elite Scout Programme with providing a forward-thinking approach and offering unique learning opportunities.

“The programme clearly recognises the work that is going on in the industry,”

“Football evolves, but you want to be ahead of the evolution and the course enabled us to have an insight into the future of football scouting.”

Gus Williams, Elite Scout Programme graduate

Modern-day football scouting

The Elite Scout Programme features face-to-face seminars and online workshops, and is tailored to the needs of current and future football scouts. The course emphasises the benefits of adopting a strategic approach to modern-day football scouting.

“The programme structure allowed for a high-performing learning environment. We all learn in different ways, but the programme brought a holistic approach to learning,” said Williams.

The programme is highly interactive, with sessions delivered at European clubs and involving current football scouts and sporting directors. “There were experts and guest speakers, study sessions and practical sessions that incorporated theoretical elements of the course,” said Williams. “We had an opportunity to get insights from those at the elite level.”

Enhanced knowledge and understanding

Like all UEFA Academy courses, the programme offers specialists a unique opportunity to share and learn from myriad experiences and perspectives. “Every participant came from a different background, a different environment,” said Williams. “That was the biggest single indicator that we were going to come away from the course with enhanced knowledge and understanding.”

The knowledge gained through the Elite Scout Programme will have a long-lasting impact on each graduate’s local football community (national association, club, academy and beyond) – an example of the ripple effect of UEFA’s development programmes.

“It was an opportunity not only to develop your own personal skills, but also to bring back a wealth of knowledge and experience,” said Williams. “I took what I learnt back to Wales and into the scouting team there.”

What is the UEFA Elite Scout Programme?

The UEFA Elite Scout Programme is an international course for football scouts, coaches and ex-players. Over three months and a series of face-to-face and online sessions, participants are equipped with the knowledge and techniques to uncover new football talent and perform top-class player recruitment. It’s one of many courses offered by the UEFA Academy across all facets of football.

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