Soccer coaches — especially those who work in soccer academies and those that are in charge of youth teams — are often required to assess soccer talent. This becomes necessary, for instance, when choosing the players who are to join elite soccer academies. In such cases, one has to be sure that the selected individuals have real talent. Otherwise they may be unable to cope with training programs. And even if they somehow manage to go through the training programs, they may be unable to deliver what is expected of them, once they are in major teams. So it is really necessary to assess soccer talent. But this can be a difficult exercise. One needs an objective criterion, through which the talent can be assessed.
All said and done, some of the objective ways in which a soccer player’s talent can be assessed include:
- By checking the extent to which the player is interested in soccer
- By checking the level of knowledge that the player has, on soccer issues
- By checking the player’s practical football skills
The last bit, of checking the player’s practical football skills, is arguably the most important one. So you check the player’s dribbling skills, the player’s ability to pass the ball accurately, the player’s ability to aim at the goal accurately, the player’s ability to score on penalty kicks… and so on. Then you can check the player’s goalkeeping ability (even if he is not aiming to become a goalkeeper, every football is supposed to have some knowledge of the goalkeeping task). You can go further and watch the player’s stamina, the player’s confidence on the field and the player’s speed.
The most important thing is to ensure that you are objective in assessing the players’ talent levels. The level of objectivity required here is certainly much higher than what would be necessary while, say, undertaking the dollar general customer service survey. Remember, here, you are dealing with a person’s life career. If you declare an otherwise well-talented soccer player to be ‘untalented’, you’d really have messed him up. You therefore need to be very objective.