Over the past few years, we have extended 11tegen11 Scouting to a team of eight people, providing a world wide network to support clubs. But how did it all start?

To find out, we have to go back to the winter of 2015. At that time, Sander IJtsma was a well-known blogger of football content related to data and tactics. Since 2010, he operates under the name 11tegen11. Marco van der Heide’s professional football career had just ended because of a heavy concussion. We met online and decided to exchange thoughts over a cup of coffee. One thing led to another and we started discussing ideas about how to improve scouting at professional clubs.

Together, we focused on one central and simple question. How can we make optimal use of all available digital resources to analyse the skills of a football player ? Sander looked at it primarily from a data perspective, with enough eye for the tactical side of things. For Marco, it was the other way around. This led to a never-ending conversation with a constant interaction between football tactics and data.

Digital scouting

The next step was to explore the possibilities that event data offer to analyse football players. We started by defining different player roles for every position. For example, we distinguished different types of wingers. A winger who is very good at frontal one-versus-one’s, a winger who speeds up the passing game by playing in between the lines, a winger making a lot of well executed runs to receive in behind the defense, etcetera.

After that, we developed a large set of metrics that have the best chance to capture these specific skills. Sander had already build an expected goals model, which was rated highly. We were able to derive a lot of additional metrics from it. Furthermore, we dived deeper into football skills such as dribbling, progressive passing and making deep runs. At all times, we kept an eye on the outcome for the team rather than relying on a simple count of individual actions.

Video scouting

Player profiles

As a next step, we combined the player roles and the metrics by allocating a weight to every metric within every player role. In other words, dribbling skills are valued highly within the player profile of a dribbling winger. In the same way, progressive passes are important in the player profile of a playmaking winger.

Once the player profiles were created, we started testing them. We performed an eye ball test in the leagues we knew best, such as the Eredivisie and the Premier League. Did the best players from a data perspective match the players we rated highly from watching a lot of football? In most cases, they did. Sometimes, they didn’t, and the weighting was adjusted to improve the outcome. Also, over time a few metrics were added to highlight specific skills. In the end, with data we come close, but we’re not perfect.

That makes a lot of sense. With data, you can’t measure everything that is important. And on the other hand, not everything you measure is important. That is why 11tegen11 Scouting always combines data analysis with extensive video scouting. This unique combination leads to a much higher success rate than simply using data to compile shortlists of interesting players.


Looking back, this cup of coffee in the winter of 2015 was the start of a very exciting journey. With 11tegen11 Scouting, we carried out assignments for many different clubs throughout the world. From Holland to Slovakia and from Portugal to the United States. At this point, we are working together closely with two clubs on a daily basis. One of them competes in the European Champions League, and one in MLS. Also, we added six very talented video scouts to our team.


All in all, a lot has changed. And yet, the name 11tegen11 remains the same. It might sound a little weird to keep the originally Dutch name in place, since we are an internationally oriented scouting company. On the other hand, 11tegen11 has become a well-known name in the digital data-analysis world. Probably the two 11’s will ring a bell that we are all about football.

Get in touch

We don’t have the ambition to expand to six, ten or twenty clubs. In our vision, supporting the scouting team of a football club requires a lot of work. Watch their games, communicate a lot with the people within the club, constantly adjust to their actual needs and strive to improve the cooperation week by week. This can only be done with a limited number of clubs in a close and personal cooperation.

Does this sound as something that could be beneficial to the scouting team within your club? We’d be happy to get to know each other in a 30 minute video call and see how things go from there.