In the old days, scouting for footballers used to be an arduous process involving constant journeys to remote provincial stadiums. 

But an Italian company, Wyscout, has spearheaded a digital revolution in the field. Many clubs now use the company’s online database of a half-million players to view hundreds of thousands of hours of game footage overlaid with detailed analysis. 

As Wyscout expanded over the years, they needed more and more analysts to go over the footage they received. Their solution was to open several production offices outside Italy, including one in Ukraine. 

About 20 percent of the company’s data is processed in Wyscout’s production office in Ternopil, an oblast capital home to 220,000 people located 365 kilometers southwest of Kyiv. 

Andrii Drychyk, Wyscout’s country director for Ukraine, said that the company was attracted to Ukraine by the mix of lower wages and able staff. 


“Our younger generation is totally football-oriented, and our skills are for sure not lower than those of our western neighbors,” he told the Kyiv Post. 

Market leader 

Wyscout is an unfamiliar name for many ardent football fans but the Italian company has changed how players are bought and sold in a global transfer market worth over $7 billion in 2019. 

Wyscout was founded in 2004 by three friends in the northern Italian town of Chiavari, 370 kilometers north of Rome, where the head office is still located. 

At first, the company followed the same principle as all other scouts at the time: attending matches in person, shooting video and putting it on DVDs for review by clubs. 

The breakthrough moment came when Matteo Campodonico, one of the three founders and the current CEO of the firm read that the sporting director of a top Italian team got upset because he received the DVDs of a promising Brazilian player too late to buy him. 

“At that point, Matteo had the idea to create a database where one can download all the videos,” Oleh Sahaydak, Wyscout’s sales manager for its post-Soviet markets, told the Kyiv Post. 


The first version of the web-based Wyscout platform was created in March 2008. 

Since then, the database has expanded rapidly. The platform currently contains footage of 210,000 games from 900 competitions in over 100 countries. 

In 2019, the company was bought by American sports tech firm Hudl for an undisclosed sum, which Sahaydak says helped drive a further influx of users. 

Wyscout is now used by over 4,000 clubs, as well as tens of thousands of individual subscribers who pay either $290 or $700 a year, depending on their package. 

Football clubs require much more footage and information than individual scouts or coaches, so their bespoke subscription deals can stretch into five-figure sums. 

Representatives from Wyscout’s head office refused to give statistics about the firm’s share in the digital scouting market, but it appears to be the industry leader: Its main competitor is Russian company InStat, founded in 2007, which says it works with 1,500 football clubs, less than half of Wyscout’s. 

Because information on established stars is already easy to find, Wyscout’s main value is in the vast collection of data it holds on players in youth competitions. 


Adam Pate, a U.K. national living in Boryspil, a Kyiv suburb, juggles being a schoolteacher and a football scout. 

He discovered Wyscout while searching for data about little-known young Swiss player Griffin Sabatini, who used to play for a Ukrainian club. 

He now uses the platform on a regular basis, scouting for footballers playing in and outside Ukraine. 

“I was really impressed with the level of detail for the Ukrainian under-21 leagues,” he told the Kyiv Post.

Ternopil office 

This level of success required new analysts, which led the company to open its office in Ternopil in spring 2018. 

Analysts make simple annotations of every action during a game. Wyscout’s AI software then turns the data into easily digestible graphs, heat maps and tables, which go online within 24 hours of a game’s final whistle in major leagues. 

Over 100 analysts work in the company’s nondescript but comfortable set of rooms on the fourth floor of a Stalin-era apartment block in the city center. 

The team is young, with most of its employees under 25 and exclusively male.

Drychyk explained that while women have applied for jobs at the office, it was difficult to hire them because they weren’t from Ternopil, or were deterred by the prospect of working in such a male-heavy collective. 


The 25-year-old Pavlo Melnychuk is one of the most seasoned analysts in the office, having been at Wyscout for three years. 

Like most of the employees in Ternopil, he found the job through word of mouth. He teams up with a partner to analyze two games a day — each match takes them four hours to annotate properly. 

Over 400 games a week are processed in the office. 

“When I tell people what I do, they think it’s some form of betting, it’s hard to explain to them what we do with statistics,” Melnychuk said. 

The previously patchy quality of footage sent to them by clubs has improved since the introduction of ball-tracking unmanned smart cameras, but this method has its flaws, he said. 

“They sometimes end up filming bald footballers, which gives us a laugh in the office,” Melnychuk said. 

Meanwhile, 21-year-old student Ekrem Arapoglu is the office junior, having only started in mid-September. 

“Most people here are students and footballers,” he told the Kyiv Post. 

Arapoglu was a youth player for several clubs including Karpaty Lviv, historically considered to be the biggest team in western Ukraine. He now plays in the amateur leagues and says that his own tactical game has improved in the weeks since he has started his training. 

“You watch professional footballers all day, so sometimes you can learn something,” he said. 

However, Drychyk conceded that there is currently no defined ladder for career progression up the Wyscout ranks for the employees in Ternopil. 


“Sometimes it’s not about the ladder, but about the way. If you enjoy the way, maybe you will find your ladder somewhere else,” he said, adding that working for Wyscout could open doors to work in famous football clubs.

Spotlighting locals Wyscout also helps local clubs shine. 

This year, the scouting company signed an agreement with the Children’s and Youth Football Leagues of Ukraine to put their players in the database. 

Over the last two or three weeks, Wyscout has entered over 2,500 under-14 to under-18 players into their database, taking the total number of Ukrainian footballers on the platform to over 9,000, according to Sahaydak. 

This means that young players in small towns and villages are far more likely to be seen by clubs and offered contracts, both at home and abroad. 

Ukrainian clubs, driven in large part by digital scouting, have begun to seriously improve their recruitment setup over the last two years, Sahaydak believes. 

“I think I will bring results, and we will see a big improvement in the quality of the game here.”

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