A new scouting platform built by a teenager in Delhi and adopted by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) last month seeks to level the playing field in India by unearthing talent in rural regions that might have otherwise been overlooked.
Kush Pandey, a 17-year-old soccer player, came up with the idea for ScoutMe after noticing a gap in the market when his Delhi-based team out of the Bhaichung Bhutia Football School went to play a team in a small rural village. His team thought it’d be an easy win — capital boys vs. small town boys, a team with resources vs. one without much at all. They were wrong. Pandey said they had sorely underestimated the team’s talent based on preconceived notions that the team couldn’t be as good without the resources of larger metros — and they lost.
“That’s where I realized that these people don’t have the same opportunities,” Pandey said in an interview with SportTechie. “Previously scouts could really only reach metros, but with Scout Me they’re now reaching into the smallest villages.”
The platform, available as a free mobile app on iOS and Android, is meant to democratize the scouting process. ScoutMe allows scouts to access all of the matches and lineups and then create digital profiles of the individual players they’re interested in based on certain criteria. Players in rural areas can attempt to get noticed by adding photos and videos to their profiles so they can enter the fray even if recruiters aren’t able to travel to the games themselves.
We want to use it to find players who lack the financial ability to get discovered,” said Pandey. “If we think that the player has talent, and we find him, we will get him money for shoes and shin guards if he can’t afford them.”
ScoutMe was tested by the Bhaichung Bhutia Football School across its 1,000-plus players and teams over a two-year period and then announced as the AIFF’s official online scouting platform in March. Today ScoutMe has more than 28,000 players in its system and has processed thousands of scout reports.
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