Data Science, Technical Scouting, and Recruitment.

MRKT Insights LLP provides data science, technical scouting, and recruitment services to football clubs.

The company consists of 4 partners and 2 consultants and offers both data and video scouting services. We are currently engaged by both Swansea City AFC and Tampa Bay Rowdies to provide complete scouting services for their first team recruitment. 

Who are we?

Tim Keech trained as an economist and worked in IT consultancy before founding MRKT Insights. He has produced technical scouting reports for Bundesliga clubs and written for Statsbomb and Opta

Twitter: @sbunching

Ram Srinivas is a computer scientist and co-founder of MRKT Insights. He specialises in turning data (Wyscout, Opta, Statsbomb) into meaningful insights for recruitment. His visual data has been used by European clubs for recruitment analysis.

Twitter: @rramesss

Matt Lawrence has a background in technical consultancy and co-founded MRKT Insights after producing a series of articles on how data could be used to find similarities in defenders playing styles. 

Twitter: @PannasNutmegs

Kevin Elphick is a software systems analyst and co-founder of MRKT Insights. He has developed football analysis systems and graphics and works closely with the matchday analytics teams at our client clubs.

Twitter: @SwansAnalytics

Andy McGregor trained as a journalist and worked in the UK banking sector before joining MRKT Insights. He has produced scouting reports for clubs in the Premier League, Championship, Bundesliga and Ligue 1.

Twitter: @elpivoteftbl

James Socik trained as a football performance analyst, and software engineer, before joining MRKT Insights. A prolific writer about the game, James has consulted with Peterborough United and worked with football agencies.

Twitter: @Blades_analytic

Clients

Swansea City: We work directly with Andy Scott, Head of Recruitment, and are providing both data analysis and video scouting. Since starting in July 2019 we have seen our contracted work increase significantly and the club have restructured the department to use MRKT Insights instead of in-house scouts.

Tampa Bay Rowdies: We work directly with head coach Neill Collins. Our role is to analyse players on Neill’s behalf and plan the squad for the 2020 season. We have developed contacts with agencies and academies and will be recruiting players from around the world.

How can we help?

The simple truth is that all of us love football and are obsessed with finding talented players. We have developed a huge network of contacts and an extensive database of players who we watch regularly.

Data Science: We believe that, where data exists, it is a powerful tool for identifying good players. Standard metrics (shots, expected goals, interceptions) are useful but we have further developed our own metrics that measure more position-specific information and are bespoke to fit in with your playing style. For example, this will include where a player made passes from and to and the quality of those passes and players who increase the quality of chances for their team by progressing the ball to more dangerous areas.  We can work with data from any provider to create insightful reports.

Contacts: Of course not every player has data available for them, so we have also developed a network of contacts who watch football at all levels. If there is a good player coming through the system we will know of their potential before our purely data-driven rivals. We have contacts with academy teams in some of the best development environments around such as Mali and Nigeria.

Video Scouting: We have developed a three-stage approach to video scouting. We initially filter players based on viewing event data  (short clips) to check their physical and technical suitability. Once two people have viewed them and deemed them suitable they reach the next stage where they are watched for entire matches to check they would fit within the tactical scheme. If they do they are scouting intensely with many games viewed and reports created (Scout 7 or similar) so we have a very good idea of the players strengths, weaknesses and suitability.

Club Network: Our business model allows us to work for multiple clients. We work exclusively with one team per league per year. This keeps our cost affordable and gives our clients confidence that we are not supplying rival teams with players. Operating with a network of clubs allows us to also find in-network solutions for players. Transfers,  loan moves, and work experience moves are possible for players and coaches. We currently are providing opportunities in the English Championship, USL and League of Ireland. 

Example Projects

Swansea City

In the summer of 2019 Swansea City AFC decided to restructure its recruitment department.

MRKT Insights produced a speculative report analysing the squad, the club’s playing style, and some recruitment recommendations. The report can be read in full here:

On the basis of the report, and follow up meetings, MRKT Insights have been appointed by Swansea City AFC to provide data science, technical scouting, and video scouting services. We are busy restructuring the squad for the January 2020 and summer 2020 transfer windows.

Tampa Bay Rowdies

Tampa Bay Rowdies play in the Eastern Division of the USL. Head coach, Neill Collins, approached MRKT Insights to help undertake a squad review and restructure ahead of the 2020 season. We are working with Neill to review players and ensure new recruits fit in with the club’s playing philosophy.  

Data Science and Tools

MRKT Insights have produced a simple player comparison tool that looks at around 80 football leagues and allows clients to quickly compare players on key metrics.

A position-specific search tool allows you to search on metrics that are important to your club’s style of play.

When our client clubs have licenced Opta data (or similar) we can turn this into meaningful information for recruitment or performance analysis. 

Advanced metrics

With advanced data, we can create bespoke reports.

In this example, we wanted to try and find young central defenders who are aerially dominant, particularly within the own penalty area and who play long passes.

To do this we used Opta data to record where on the pitch the headers were contested. 

We then examined every pass made by the defender that progressed the ball towards the opposition goal by; at least 28.5% of the distance to the opposition goal for passes stating and ending in their own half, 14.25% for passes starting in own half but ending in opposition half, and 9.5% for passes starting and ending in the opponent’s half.

We added colour coding to show the player age and adjusted the size of the dot to show the average pass length.

Our “ideal” centre back for this client would, therefore, be in the top right of the diagram with a large green dot.

In the next report, we are looking at strikers who run with the ball towards the opposition goal and generate a shot at the end of their run.

We can see that Tammy Abraham is particularly successful in this regard, generating almost 1 shot a game from running with the ball and with a high success rate. At the other extreme Jamie Vardy is completing his attempted carries at a very low rate.

Our offer

We want to create a world-class data science and technical scouting service.  

We are open to collaboration with clubs around Europe and are particularly keen on working with partners open to the idea of using a shared service between non-competing clubs. 

We are particularly keen on working with clubs open to recruiting from undervalued markets. Our scouting process workflow shows how we use data, advanced data, video, and our own unique player database, to ensure wide knowledge of the global player market.


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