Have you ever heard of Fieldoo?
Revolutionists, visionaries, pioneers. That is who they are.
A Slovenian-based company is a proof that an idea, no matter how small it may seem at one point, is all you need. Feed it with dedication, motivation and commitment and it will grow out to fulfil your dreams.
Fieldoo.com is the football career platform which connects players with clubs, agents and career opportunities, in one word revolutionising the scouting concept. Fieldoo offers the combination of social media and traditional scouting practices to the players from both amateur and professional football market with the aim of kick-starting their careers.
We contacted the CEO of the company Klemen Hosta in order to find out more about this extraordinary project and the idea behind it.
“We at Fieldoo are avid football fans, and the idea of creating this network came up when one of our friends asked us to post a promo video of him playing on YouTube which he could then send to football agents. We had a couple of more people ask us to do the same so we realized that maybe we can do something more for them. Maybe we could post all of their relevant info, links and attachments in one place.”
“These guys had no one to look after their careers, no one to promote their skills, so they needed a chance to be seen and contacted. We started off by creating a small LinkedIn for football players, publishing their sports CV. Later we added a list of agents and now we are beginning to cooperate with clubs, agencies and football academies all over the world as well. We began our work in 2013 in the Balkan market, but in just six months we expanded to 160 countries”, explains Klemen Hosta, who understands the global potential and a need for the project such as Fieldoo.
Slowly, but surely, the Fieldoo project expanded from one football region to another. In just two years, this scouting network got over 200.000 active users and is still expanding, actively changing the whole recruitment process on its way.
We asked Klemen if he thought that the entire process would continue to evolve.
“There are two scouting levels in football right now. We have the ‘Royalty league’, all of the world-class clubs from Premiership and other Europe’s top leagues with lots of money at their disposal. There are also clubs like Porto with over more 250 scouts in their wide network and these clubs are on different level. However, the clubs from Slovenia in example cannot afford more than one person operating as a scout, most often focusing on one player in their ranks, attempting to sell him to Manchester United and earn enough to survive the year.”
“That is exactly where Fieldoo kicks in, covering ‘reverse scouting’ services, allowing the players to promote themselves. The times have changed, the clubs are outnumbered by emerging players who will need to invest their efforts in self-promotion. Fieldoo and similar programs offer a lot more options for players to choose from, presenting different opportunities, whether they are trials in various academies, trials with reliable agents and, as of recently, clubs. And that is the future, players need to fight for themselves, to be actively involved in their own market placement”, adds Hosta, who is particularly proud of Fieldoo’s reliability.
“We have eliminated the possibility of football fraud. More than 70% of the current traffic at LinkedIn is not valid and honest with people attempting to lure young players into lucrative contracts, promising a lot and not delivering. Players would pay certain fees for medical insurance and the so called agents would just disappear with their money. I honestly believe that reverse scouting is the future”
The concept of Fieldoo appears to focus on amateur players, but the company’s CEO offers different perspective of what terms ‘amateur’ and ‘professional’ really mean.
“I wouldn’t use the term amateur lightly. Players from third or fourth tiers can be as professional as those from the more attractive leagues. However, various conditions dictate the meaning behind the terminology and here at Fieldoo we believe that our service best accommodates the players from the so called ‘second tier’. Champions League and all of the Europe’s top five leagues are different level, everything below is just one big league for us, the second tier. Regardless if the player plays in the fourth tier of Serbian football or in the first league. We try to offer same opportunities to all the players. Everyone gets equal chance to promote his talents and qualities. It is important to go step by step.”
“It doesn’t matter where you come from, what you have to offer is what counts the most. We give same opportunities to all the players regardless of their background”
In this sense, it seems as if the amateur players are those who can benefit the most from Fieldoo. Most of all those who do not have the privilege of getting themselves a proper agent to look after their careers.
Klemen agrees with our assessment.
“That is the next step we are willing to take. You can find great agents at Fieldoo as well. We recommend only the reliable ones, with honest intentions and those who care about the game. Our aim is to serve as the direct link between players and clubs. If a player goes on trial via Fieldoo and a club decides to sign him, Fieldoo is there to offer legal and counselling support in the form of a players’ development agency. However, Fieldoo has no plans of promoting itself nor becoming an agency”
What is the relationship between Fieldoo and agents? Are the agents (or intermediaries as they are called in Fieldoo) still in charge of acting as a link between players and clubs?
“The agents do not need to worry if Fieldoo would steal their jobs. On the contrary, Fieldoo can be a useful tool for the agents to find themselves new players to represent and further promote. Fieldoo is there to link the interested parties. If a certain player has an agent, but finds a trial via Fieldoo and the club decides to sign him, there is no transfer fee involved. The club signs that player for free. However, all of the potential arrangements between the players and their agents are none of our concern. The main advantage of Fieldoo is that clubs can get players for free.”
“Fieldoo is primarily meant for the players without agents. Here they can find one, they can a club, and they can find everything they need for a successful career.”
We were also curious to find out what is the average age of the players. If they are minors, do they need consent from an adult who will also act as their representative?
“Most of the players are 20 or 21 years of age. But we also have very young players in our programme, 13-year-old players, but also those of 35 who are looking for a chance to get one final contract in the summit of their careers. We have clubs in Singapore looking for players at Fieldoo and there is plenty to offer. But yes, we seek consent from the representatives. All players are free to create a Fieldoo profile, but if they are under 16 they need to provide a consent in order to be presented to the agents. “
“Young players are protected, but all of them can find football academies all over the world. They can find a way to get themselves into the training programmes with various clubs, since they are not allowed to sign professional contracts at that age. The idea is to get as many clubs as possible at Fieldoo offering their vacancies at our platform for players to choose from.”
Klemen Hosta reveals that Fieldoo is more than a scouting platform. It provides clubs with help in the process of selling their transfer listed players.
“That is one of our latest ideas. We are opening an English market aiming to help young players primarily. Big clubs have a lot of players on their books in their Under 17, Under 16 teams, but most of those players never really get to reach the first team. Most of the players under 19 years of age get clean papers and become free to find themselves a new club. There lies Fieldoo’s chance. Majority of those released players have no idea what to do with their careers. Having been trained in top of the notch facilities and under world-class coaches, those youngsters from clubs such as Manchester City could easily become good signings for clubs across Europe.”
“Our plan for 2016 is to get those players directly from the clubs, put them at display in Fieldoo and offer them across the globe. We are starting with England, but we plan to go across Europe to accommodate the outplaced players. And that is a good opportunity for the clubs as well who would get the chance to be paid training compensation whenever their youngsters get signed through Fieldoo.”
What would be the perfect advice to young players who want to market themselves better online via social media or other channels, such as Fieldoo?
“First and foremost, creating a basic profile at Fieldoo is free. All they have to do is to open their account and to update it regularly. Take the chance to utilize your self-promotion, to get in the front row. Be yourself, be honest and work on yourselves. That is the most important.”
Spanish side U.D. Almeria have recognized the potential of Fieldoo. The Spanish club has partnered with Fieldoo in a challenge to recruit new squad members through this football career platform.
The competition is simple and it calls all players from this career network to apply for a week-long trial at U.D. Almeria in December, where they will showcase their skills to coaching staff and management for a chance to sign a professional contract with this second division club.
“We had a similar project about a year and a half ago, the Minguella challenge. Josep Maria Minguella, famous football agent who discovered Lionel Messi, who offered Fieldoo users an opportunity to claim a chance to sign contracts with Spanish Primera and Segunda division clubs. In the end, one player from Argentina and one from Slovenia won the challenge and signed their contracts with FC Girona from Segunda and Getafe from La Liga, respectively.”
“U.D. Almeria followed our project and have recognized the potential. They are a well-organized club with a great academy and they wanted to do something different, marketing-wise. Their marketing director contacted us with an idea to make a similar project. They accepted our idea to recreate the same challenge and the main idea is to promote the club globally and to find the player who will get the real chance to sign the professional contract with the club. Every single player out of our 200.000 users will have the same opportunity if they choose to sign up for the project.”
“Winner of the Minguella challenge was a player from the fourth tier in Argentina, and that is the best thing about this – you never know who will win. Everybody has a shot. It is a great opportunity to sign for a big club. U.D. Almeria have a lot of quality in their ranks, with a couple of experienced internationals and the possibility to match up with those guys is something extraordinary.”
“It is an interesting project and there are more clubs that are willing to go ahead with the challenge. Several high-profile clubs that will be a surprise reveal next year. Our plan is to have a couple of projects every year and it is a great chance for Fieldoo itself to also promote our ideas and projects”, concluded Klemen Hosta, FIeldoo CEO.
UPDATE: Fieldo Challenge has been successfully finished and two players were chosen to spend a week-long trial at UD Almeria. You can read about them HERE.