At the Inter Miami CF Academy presented by Baptist Health, success and scouting go hand in hand. The Club has numerous programs tailored toward the growth of our youth, such as the Discovery Program, and events like the Community Cup. At the core of all of these projects, we have our youth scouting department. Led by Academy coaches John Deeley, who spent more than 20 years coaching at the University of Connecticut, and Giuseppe De Palo, who played at the professional level and previously served as Head of Recruitment for the Seattle Sounders academy, under the leadership of Director of Scouting Mark Prizant, the department looks to discover and develop South Floridian talent in preparation for the next level.
According to De Palo, the scouting division operates as an extension of the coaching staff.
“We work hand in hand with the coaches to identify talent and recruit players for the Academy,” said De Palo. “It’s really a group effort when it comes to scouting between myself, John Deeley and all of our coaches.”
The group effort also extends beyond the Club’s internal operations, as relations with South Florida’s local clubs are equally important. Notably, members of these clubs including directors and coaches will be invited to a Fort Lauderdale CF match in August, where they will be able to witness many of South Florida’s best young players on display at the USL League One level.
De Palo emphasized the importance of these relationships in identifying players at the youngest levels, but also described the effort from the scouting department that goes into the task as the Club looks for talent at all youth levels.
“It’s a combination with us getting out there and systematically going through as many clubs as possible in South Florida and for the really young players, sometimes we rely on tips from local coaches and people we know in the community,” said De Palo. “We run the gamut and try to watch as many games as possible on the weekends, and get out to training sessions when we can.”
Coach Deeley expanded on the daily functions of the scouting department, sharing detail on some of the program’s work this year.
“We are committed to scouring South Florida identifying top talent to join the Academy. It’s a very big program, this past year we’ve had hundreds of kids come through the program and we will probably sign a selection of new players from our Discovery Program to our Academy,” said Deeley.
These additions reassure the community's youth that if they work hard, they might be one of the select few that get to play for Inter Miami CF.
For Deeley, identifying potential fits for the Academy is a delicate balance.
“Identifying talent is a combination of art and science. Soccer IQ is very important, the athletic component is very important, and for the younger players there’s some speculation as to development,” said Deeley. “All of it adds up to what can be difficult decisions with young players, but we do our best to project out.”
The scouting division is tasked with going out beyond the organization and looking for potential within the community, in this case untapped.
“To me, it’s the future,” said De Palo.
“There’s a joke that soccer never sleeps, but scouting is most certainly a constant,” added Deeley.
The belief of the program is that players on the pitch at the Academy level today will be the stars of tomorrow. And in a world-class facility with world-class staff, their love for the game combined with hard work will shape them into world-class athletes.
You can follow our Academy’s journey online by following our Twitter account @InterMiamiAcad or via Instagram @InterMiamiCF_Academy.