Introducing Coach ID: Using Data to Scout Your Club’s Next Head Coach

When it comes to recruitment in football, clubs have two primary tasks. The first is player recruitment and there can be little doubt that clubs are aware of the seriousness of this task, sinking time, money and effort into finding the best players for their squads. But when it comes to recruiting a head coach to the club, the process is often very different.

Getting the recruitment right on the head coach role can be the making of a club. The costs associated with making a mistake can be disastrous. The prospect of expensive severance packages, the cost of player turnover when the next coach arrives with differing views of the playing squad, and the ultimately the cost of poor results are the nightmare scenario for club owners and executives.

Up to this point, data scouting in football has been focused on players. There has been hardly any attention paid to using analytics to assess head coaches. At Analytics FC, we thought it was about time that this changed. We wanted to think differently about the game, and following on from the success of our ground-breaking Signature service for Players, we’ve now developed a set of objective methods and innovative new models to profile coaches with data in a way that can support the recruitment process.

Coach ID is a new advisory service that helps club owners, executives and sporting directors better identify and assess leading candidates from the widest talent pool. We look behind the scoreline and, as much as possible, ignore the quality of available players to focus on the impact of the coach. 

The Athletic got an early peak into some of our research back in May, when they interviewed our Head of Coach Analytics, Piotr Wawrzynow, and used some of his early work to hypothetically scout some of Tottenham’s options to replace Jose Mourinho. Since then, Analytics FC have been hard at work developing the Coach ID service. We can now take a look behind the curtain of this unique service.

Here are five ways that our Coach ID service can help you avoid the pitfalls of head coach recruitment:


One of the most common inefficiencies in the way football clubs look for a coach is that they only start the process when they need one. 

Clubs feel uncomfortable, even disrespectful, in looking at alternative candidates when they already have a head coach in place. This is in stark contrast to player recruitment where clubs have entire departments constantly looking for replacements in case a player leaves. 

This reticence to consider the options often leaves clubs in a position of choosing from a small group of head coaches who they already know and who happen to be available at the time. 

Our Head Coach Surveillance service gives clubs the option to scout the world and keep a constant finger on the pulse with regularly updated insights and shortlists.


When it comes to head coach recruitment, clubs often haven’t nailed down what type of coach they are actually looking for. 

We collaborate with our clients to clarify and refine the key characteristics. Asking our clients a set of simple and straight-forward questions, we get to the heart of what their ideal candidate looks like. 

This helps target the right candidate, aid the shortlisting process and drill down further into the coaches behaviours, tendencies and use of resources. It also reduces the risk of any issues after the appointment, with client clubs knowing in much more depth what they should expect from their hire.


One of the fundamental problems in head coach recruitment is the lack of clarity on a club’s play style. Without an underlying logic to the way a club is looking to play, they can often cycle through a number of different coaches who have little in common as to how they view the game.

A map showing manager’s relative positions across play styles

In the long run, this approach can wreak havoc with a playing squad, preventing a club from building a team that has any coherence on the field and resulting in massive overheads as future coaches spend big in a bid to make a squad work for them.

We work with clients to identify their ideal game model. From this starting point, our playing style and coach tendency models help to identify coaches who fit the criteria, where candidates might not be a perfect fit, and what the likely consequences will be across variables such as squad investment and squad churn.


One of the consequences of the lack of head coach analysis within the football industry has been a dearth of criteria against which to assess the suitability of candidates.

Jesse Marsch’s attacking and defensive performance across his career

This all changes with Coach ID. We assess the way coaches have historically managed their playing squads during their careers, reviewing and analysing criteria such as rotation principles, historical rate of injuries, age profiles and effective use of squad assets.

We can then compare the data footprints of coaches against an ideal profile to help clubs generate a shortlist of potential candidates who match their head coach characteristics and play style as much as possible.


Successful head coach appointment is not simply about analysing the playing data. It is important to have a clear sense of the financial underpinnings of the head coach market. Where can value be found? Which coaches can offer you a financial edge?

We focus upon the coaching talent pool and potential selection opportunities. We can filter for league strength, sporting ambition, financial power, performance vs budget and “club fit” across a range of variables.


Of course, even if you do everything right, things can still go wrong. A club’s ideal coach isn’t always ultimately affordable or available. 

However, if you are continuously working on the profile, scanning the market and monitoring key characteristics in an objective way and in the context of your club, it can ultimately increase the chances of success.

To find out more about Coach ID, head to our website:

At Analytics FC, we provide software and data services to entities within football looking to realise the gains possible from analytical thinking.

Find out more about us, or get in touch if you have a question!

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