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Pro Soccer GM Talks About Finding The Right Player
Submitted by Chris Phillips on January 19, 2014
Jon Spencer, General Manager of the Los Angeles Blues briefly discusses his role with the professional soccer club and what he looks for in finding the right players.
What is your position with the LA Blues and what are your responsibilities? I am the General Manager of the LA Blues. My main focus is on the building a roster that can compete for a USL PRO championship. This includes both staff and players. My duties also include assisting in the ongoing business of the club, to ensure that we are prepared for the season ahead. It is exciting to be able to see our plans come together and begin to take shape for the season ahead.
Can you tell me a little about the USL-Pro League? The USL Pro league is in the 3rd Tier of professional soccer in the United States. The USL is the longest existing of all of the outdoor professional leagues in the United States. The USL Pro consists of 14 teams across the United States. Our club started in Los Angeles and now has moved to Orange County. We will continue to build the most exciting professional soccer franchise in Southern California. We are excited to continue to develop the local talent here in Orange County. There is a lot of opportunity for our players here in Southern California. The Blues have a few Combines throughout the year.
Can you tell me a little about the format and what you are looking for? The reason we hold combines throughout the year is to identify players for our roster who we either do not know very well or players that we have heard of but want to take a closer look at. The combines have been extremely valuable to our club because we have been able to sign players through our combines who will be a major part of our team's success. We are excited that many of the players who attend the combine have the passion and desire to play professional soccer.
When scouting players at any level, what are some things that you look for? Scouting comes down to four main components: Technical Ability, Tactical Awareness, Physical Attributes, and Mental Toughness. There are other things I look for but those are the 4 main components. I once read an article that I thought was very valuable. When focused on talent identification a good scout can identify someone who can change the game as we know it. My goal is to find a player who can progress his career. We are actively looking for player who have a future in professional soccer.
Are there things besides on field skills that you look for in a player? Absolutely. I definitely believe that players who show the willingness to work hard, learn and are unique are most valuable.