No, it’s not a belated April Fools’ Day prank. Excelsior has announced that it will be appointing student scouts to help with the search for new talent. This is a first, since no other professional football club in the Netherlands does this. The Kralingen club, which is currently involved in a fierce relegation battle, will be holding interviews with potential candidates this summer.

Addition to paid scouting staff

Every match day, the student scouts will have access to a digital video lab, where they can watch images from Belgian, Danish and Swedish football games. For example, a student may be given the task of finding a right-footed right winger from the Danish league. Once a player has been spotted, they are reviewed by the paid Excelsior scouts and possibly offered a contract.

The club hopes that these student scouts will become a valuable addition to the existing paid scouting team, which, with 2 members, is very small by Eredivisie standards. Student scouts won’t get paid for this; they just receive a free season ticket. According to commercial director, Wouter Gudde, students should see this scouting opportunity as an ‘investment in themselves’.


Student scouts from the EUR

Among the student scouts, a vital role has been reserved for EUR students. According to Jon de Ruijter, director of Erasmus Sport, this is because Excelsior and the EUR have been ‘good neighbours’ for a very long time. Thanks to many years of cooperation, the two parties have been able to make use of each other’s facilities, for example. There was also an arrangement whereby, before the kick-off of an Excelsior home game, students could have a bite to eat at the sports bar on campus.

De Ruijter thinks that the use of student scouts can pool two ‘abilities’: analytical skills and real football knowledge. He believes that students will do very well at applying their existing scientific knowledge as scouts for Excelsior.

Thinking in possibilities

De Ruijter also said that ‘established researchers’ had also shown an interest in working as a scout at Excelsior. He claims that the reason students were chosen is because they see more ‘possibilities’ and start out with a clean slate, whereas researchers perhaps tend to question this ‘experiment’ more. He therefore expects that the ‘football fanatics’ among the students, of which there are plenty, will find this ‘really cool’.

Student scouts will not be affected should Excelsior be relegated at the end of this season. According to De Ruijter, this cooperation is only just the beginning; we can expect more announcements of joint activities in the future.

Applying for the job is already possible. Send your applications to [email protected].