How Do Players Get Scouted For US Soccer?

Shawn Beyer, is a Talent ID Scout for the US Soccer Federation.

He is also the Head coach at Soka University.

You can learn more about him by visiting his LinkedIn page at Shawn Beyer.  

GoSoccerPro has received several questions from readers regarding how players, especially players who train or play abroad, are discovered by USSoccer.  Shawn was kind enough to  answer these questions.

1) How do the players post-high school and out of the Academy years get on the radar for US Soccer and how are they tracked once they are on your radar? 

Post high school and beyond academy years put the player at 18 years plus which is the time when many professional level players have already been signed through the pro clubs academy.Keep in mind that many professional players are being signed out of that particular clubs youth academy.  To get on the US youth national team radar would best be served by playing in professional (reserve) teams.  We cannot completely rule out that elite level collegiate soccer players do get drafted or signed after a year or two of college soccer.  Once on the radar, they are tracked through the US soccer scouting network.  This can take place live, and a bit more common now via video.

2) Do the National Team scouts and coaches reach out to the college coaches and if so to what extent is that interaction.

There could be communication between a college coach and coach of a particular player that is in a youth national team pool. 3) In this unusual time of COVID some rising college players chose to take a gap year and go overseas to continue to play and train. How would these players get on your radar?

Once overseas, The international scout Network would monitor players that are on the US YNT radar. Majority of these players would be with professional European youth teams. Like Shalke, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, etc.

4) Would an international US player need to reach out to the US Scouts / coaches, send films do anything proactive to be seen?

They could, and if performing well at an elite level in a professional environment they could be put in consideration

5) Is there any visibility advantage of a player who plays college soccer vs. a player who takes the route of club ball such as USL, MLS second team or even playing overseas in Europe?

The collegiate route to pro is not as much the main pathway like on the girls side. continuing development of professional academies in the US and teenage players being signEd to professional contracts even before a player is of college age.

6) Are there separate scouts who look at US international players vs domestic players?

Yes, most scouts are working within their home network.

7) Do younger students who travel to Europe to train internationally get on the radar for the US National team?

I don’t think going to Europe simply to train will get them on youth national team radar. But, going to Europe and playing for a first division pro youth team and doing well is likely to get them on the radar.

8) Does US soccer look to see which players get cards for other countries or do these players only stand out when they are with a top flight team or Academy? Do domestic players have to be on ECNL or Academy teams in order to be followed? 

I’m not sure what cards meant to mean here. In the past majority of US youth national team players have come through what was called the development Academy. That league has mostly been transitioned into MLS next league. This is a main area of scouting but not the only area. There are outliers in other leagues that are being considered as well.

9) What percentage of domestic players are currently on the National team vs. US players who trained / lived abroad? 

The percentage will vary between the youth national team age groups. I would suggest the trend is toward more European and internationally-based American players. The domestic talent is very much a main focus.  As the players get older there can be more coming from Europe. If you look at the senior national team majority of those players are in Europe. That trend begins when the players are younger and teenagers with more and more players moving abroad from the US in their later teenage years.

10) In the past it has seemed like the US’s best players (National Team) was largely comprised of foreign players. Is this is changing as the US is strengthening its homegrown talent?  

The US is developing more quality youth players. Simultaneously, the American player is showing the ability to compete internationally at the highest levels. We have more players in the champions league than ever before. The top top talent in America still go play in Europe.

11) Do you think the training in the US is improving or are we just getting more talent playing – leading to better selection of players. 

The training in the US is definitely improving with more investments, resources, and high-level competition. This does lead to better selection of players.