Almería Bets on Data to Get Them Back to La Liga

In the long term, LaLiga 2 side UD Almería projects itself as a team that wants to be a protagonist in the top division of Spanish football.

In this article, Almería technical secretary, João Gonçalves, explains how they envisage this growth with technologies and methodologies as the base of the pyramid.

Almería has shown itself as an ambitious club with an idea of renewing it’s previous structure. Although at the beginning, Gonçalves describes the club as having a very basic structure: "We arrived two years ago in a complicated situation where there were not many things set up in the club. We don't have as many fans as clubs like Espanyol and that's why we had to create a different business model, focusing on young players.”

Even with all of the above mentioned, Almería is already the club in LaLiga 2 with the most foreigners in its team, and also the second youngest team, which shows the direction they are taking with this new management.

To achieve the proposed goal, Gonçalves considers analysis as a key point: "Technology is not an expense, it is an investment. When we arrived, the structure was almost amateurish, we only had two Wyscout accounts.

We wanted to develop the club's scouting and we are still in that process. With Covid, these tools are even more important because of the travel restrictions.”

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"Technology is not an expense, it is an investment"
João Gonçalves - UD Almería technical secretary

To highlight how a team works with Wyscout, we asked him to tell us about the daily life of the club's scouts and coaches at Almería: "We still have one meeting a week to update the Shadow Teams (customisable, fictitious team compositions with players in the Wyscout database that the club wants to scout),” said Gonçalves.

“We have one shadow team per category and two for our senior team for two possible scenarios: Promotion to the first division, or if we stay in LaLiga 2.

Furthermore, in Wyscout we use the colour system to indicate in which phase of observation each player is, as we evaluate players in several stages.”

The change in working methods was not the same for all, with some being more reluctant to modernise: "In general, the new working format was well received, but for example, there was one scout who was reluctant to use the new methodologies,” said Gonçalves.

“We were able to help him understand the importance of creating reports digitally via Scouting Area (a space to create personalised reports on players and/or teams in Wyscout) and not on paper.”

In order to get a good return on player investments, it is also important to choose the parameters to be evaluated, and those that are important for the club to continue to grow:

"Our priority market is South America because of the ease of adaptation (to the language), such as Darwin Núñez (the most expensive sale in the history of a LaLiga 2 club), although there are always exceptions,” explained Gonçalves.

“As for the statistics, we have access to all this information, but with the video we also try to analyse the behaviour of the player on the pitch. Then we look for information by talking to the player, by getting to know his environment".

The coaches are also part of this change: "We have defined a long-term identity and even if there is a change of coach, the structure and the workflow are the same,” said Gonçalves.

“Our team must play attacking football and be dominant. After that, the coach is free to implement the tactical systems he prefers."

Finally, Gonçalves also spoke about the club's long-term ambition: "The club is going to own its stadium and this will give us more possibilities in the future. We are also going to create the Almeria Lab, which will aim to develop work methodologies and improve the performance of the players, along with a new training centre that will further improve everything I mentioned before and allow us to continue to bring young players forward.

For all this, technology will be the base of the pyramid, passing through recruitment, training, new methodologies and the tip of the pyramid will be the first team".