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The heat is in full swing this Wednesday, July 27. Just like the previous (and following) days and weeks. However, on the other side of the wire, it is a completely different temperature felt by Benjamin Balkin, former head of consulting for French amateur players with foreign clubs. Far from the heat wave that weighs down France, the 24-year-old man supervises a youth tournament in Northern Ireland. On the thermometer? Barely a dozen degrees. ” I took my jackets out of the closet “, jokes the Dane, present on the spot at the request … of Everton.
« While meeting the English clubs, we realized that due to Brexit, they could not bring in young European players before they came of ageexplains Benjamin. In Northern Ireland there are no such restrictions. And for this tournament, it was Everton who put us in contact with many clubs there. Because if Eyeball manages to develop a product in Northern Ireland to see young players, it will be all good for them! “. And for professional clubs in France and elsewhere. Because this is the objective of the platform co-founded by Benjamin Balkin and his best friend met at the University of Copenhagen, Emil Kjeldsen (25), also Danish.
This is one of Eyeball’s credos: saving time for recruiters. ” When they are at the edge of the field, they do not know the names of the players and do not have any information about them. By watching the match from the platform, you can directly click on the profile of the player you like, with all the relevant information “, presents Benjamin Balkin, follower of very concrete examples:” Recently, Strasbourg took two players from Cavigal Nice. Before, these players would rather have gone to the Gym, Monaco or even Marseille and Ajaccio. That two Cavigal players sign in Strasbourg is a revolution. It gives new options. Because most clubs still want to go see live. But what we tell a recruiter is that before going to take a Strasbourg-Nice plane, open your computer, watch 3, 4, 5, even 10 matches and form an opinion on the player to that when you go to Nice, you come to confirm and not to discover ».
“Eyeball, the recruitment platform for youth football”
Credit Photo – Eyeball
On an idea thought out during confinement, the two football enthusiasts are definitely launching Eyeball in September 2021, quickly propelled by the contribution of a private investor named Manfred Lerley, himself introduced by a longtime friend named David Hicks. There ” recruitment platform for youth football » then takes the form of a « database on which recruiters can search for the names of teams, clubs, players, etc. We come to revitalize youth football in terms of recruitment Benjamin insists.
Car « the big problem with youth football compared to professional football is that the video is not popularized and not all matches are filmednotes the one who is one of the four partners. Above all, there is no platform or website where you can find all the information or the players, as you can have with the pros with Transfermarkt, for example. You will type the name of the player on the internet and everything will come out directly. You are going to do this with an amateur player or in a training center, in France or elsewhere, this will not be the case ».
Of the best French amateur clubs …
Credit Photo – Eyeball
After training for AS Monaco as a player, Benjamin Balkin points out ” still very archaic methods » for the recruitment of young people. And ” being in the right place at the right time is still something that has a lot of room. Less, however, since the arrival of Eyeball and its partnership with the forty best amateur clubs in France to begin with. Among others: FC Montfermeil, AS Bondy, AAS Sarcelles, FC 93 Bobigny, US Torcy, Istres FC, Cavigal Nice or Lyon – La Duchère.
« We have developed a camera system that we make available free of charge to these clubscontinues to explain Benjamin. It completely changes their lives: the installation is free, and they can film all their matches in each category. Behind, they will create a profile on the platform for each player with name, first name, date of birth, height, weight, strong foot, weak foot,… ».
Already great stories
In less than a year, the Eyeball platform has already made it possible to write great stories. This is the case for Isaac Cossier, for example. Born in 2006, the central defender starts the 2021-2022 exercise under the tunic of the U17 Nationals of Drancy. Before taking the plunge just a few months later. In November, the young left-hander actually signed up with Lille. Among the first professional clubs to join the platform, LOSC quickly and definitively positioned itself on the Drancéen thanks to Eyeball’s video analyses. Already very courted, the latter even signed his first professional contract at the end of last July.
Other examples? Those of Dylan Rustico and Elies Araar Fernandez. The first is central midfielder, the second is left side. Both evolve at Cavigal Nice in U16 Regional 1. In two or three movements, the Racing Club of Strasbourg stops with attention on the profiles of the duo. Convinced, the Alsatian club accelerates on the double file, then enlists everything. Unpublished signatures. ” Having played in the region, I can tell you that it’s unheard of to sign in Strasbourg from Cavigal Nice! This is where Eyeball’s impact is strong. More opportunities for players and clubs “says Benjamin Balkin.
… to Lille, Benfica or Ajax
Credit Photo – Eyeball
The opportunity for the teams concerned to analyze their matches, but above all to offer visibility to the local team. ” We sell this access to the recruitment cells of pro clubssays the co-founder. Clubs from all over Europe subscribe to us to gain access to the platform. We completely revolutionize and optimize the way clubs recruit young people, saving time and money and a much faster and more efficient decision-making process. ».
To name a few, LOSC (France), Benfica (Portugal) and Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands) are now members of Eyeball, a real intermediary between clubs. The goal, ” it’s that the clubs can communicate with each other and that we are only a tool between them to give a vision of players they don’t really know “, explains Benjamin, who savors the growing success of the platform.
West Africa and Eastern Europe in the sights
Benjamin Balkin and Emil Kjeldsen in Accra, GhanaCredit Photo – Eyeball
« The mayonnaise is starting to sethe confirms. In less than a year, we went from zero cameras to a presence in seven countries and 15,000 players on the platform. And many customers. ” Of the ” clients “that we necessarily had to canvass at the beginning” through our network, to make us known. “But now, ” these are the clubs that are starting to come to us. When we announced that we had closed the partnership with Benfica, two days later, FC Porto and Sporting CP were trying to reach me takes Benjamin as an example.
« We are now present in Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Finland) and we have big projects in West Africa (Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Guinea) including ten partner academies in Ghana “, he also lists. And the 2022-2023 financial year which is coming is going to be our first full season, and we continue to grow in England, Eastern Europe, Spain, … ” In short, the identification and recruitment of young players has a good time ahead of it thanks to Eyeball, which aims to ” become the largest international youth scouting platform. “The bluesaille had better behave, eyes are riveted on her!
The Eyeball platform, how does it work?
« On the phone, Newcastle said to me: ‘We are France and Ghana.’ » Eyeball, so that’s it. The possibility for the recruiter to target his identification and his recruitment. ” Each recruiter has his personal account on the platformsays Benjamin Balkin. He then chooses his country and then the club he wants. He then finds all the videos of matches filmed during the season, from U11 to U19. By selecting a match, he has all the information on the said match (goals, substitutions, cards, etc.), the match sheet as well as the video of the match », available twenty-four hours after taking place.
« The whole analysis system comes next, namely the actions of each player, which come in the form of 4/5 minute highlights. We find there all the balls touched by the player, good as bad, his offsides, his interventions, his dribbles, his passes, his strikes, … all these actions listed under tags “, continues to explain Benjamin. All with a few extra bonuses.
First of all, ” the video system is autonomous: I can watch the match live from any location. “Then, the camera system makes it possible to move across the screen and not just follow the ball. ” Which is great for scouts, when they want to track a player off the ball. You should know that a player, over 90 minutes, will have the ball for 2 minutes to 2 minutes 30 depending on his position. The other 88 minutes is without the ball “Recalls the co-founder of Eyeball, which finally allows you to target the search for profiles by age, by nationality, by foot, by position and a whole host of other criteria.
Created by two best friends who are connoisseurs of the round ball, the Eyeball platform offers the possibility for professional clubs to scrutinize the talents of tomorrow within amateur clubs and to speed up the recruitment process. A “revolution” in the world of scouting, presented to us by one of the founders, Benjamin Balkin.