By Ryan Bailey
After serving as an Academy Scout with the Philadelphia Union, Abdul Chibsah joins Charlotte FC as Head of Recruitment. The USSF-licensed coach brings a wealth of experience in talent identification, data analysis and team administration, from grassroots to professional level.
Hi Chibsah! What was it about Charlotte FC that persuaded you to bring your talents to the Queen City?
In short, it’s the people and the Club’s vision. Throughout the recruitment process, it was clear to me that the ownership group has assembled an exceptional talent development leadership group, working in a diverse environment, to reach a clearly defined vision.
This is an opportunity for me to contribute to a big project from scratch. I’m thrilled and privileged to be working with such great people in such a beautiful city!
What does a typical day look like for you?
Firstly, there are no off-days in the world of recruiting: it’s a 24/7 job. Establishing a network of scouts and building relationships with club coaches and administrators in every corner of the world is vital for talent identification and recruitment. It’s my job to stay informed about all youth events and games in the Carolinas and beyond. We want to have a presence, if possible, at every match venue.
I spend the week analyzing information and reports submitted to our player database from the previous weekend of scouting, and prepare for the upcoming weekend. I also arrange and welcome trialists and their families into our environment.
On match days, when I’m able to attend, I have an opportunity to see how our players have developed since their arrival. As talent scouts, we need to measure our quality of work and continue to be a resource for our players. Often, we are their first connection to the club, so it’s important that we keep that connection alive.
What is the process for scouting a potential Academy recruit?
The process begins with information gathering: we seek as much information as possible, including off-field behaviors. Then, we conduct an initial observation of the player in different playing environments and conditions.
We continue to observe and analyze until we reach a final decision to invite the player into our environment for trials. We provide feedback as much as we can, and it’s very important that we see this as an educational opportunity as well.
Do you think there is something special about the youth talent in the Carolinas?
Absolutely! You can’t talk about sporting talents in our country without mentioning the Carolinas. With the arrival of Charlotte FC and the Academy program, together with the existing local and other professional clubs, talent development in the Carolinas has reached another level.
I’m very excited about the relationship between us and the local clubs, which will ultimately benefit young talent in the Carolinas. Every player will have the right environment to grow and develop—there are opportunities for all!
What are your impressions of the Academy players and staff so far?
So far, every staff member I’ve spoken to understands why we exist as a club and cherishes the opportunity to serve. It’s a positive environment under a shared philosophy, vision and a holistic approach to player development.
The person behind the player is important to every staff member, and our student-athletes understand the privilege given to them to train and learn in one of the best competitive learning environments in youth soccer.
I enjoy watching our players compete against each other and their opponents. They carry themselves very well in representing Charlotte FC and their families. I look forward to seeing them grow and reach their sporting and Academic potential.
Finally, how do you define success?
Success, for me, is about making a difference in someone’s life. Our job is to continue developing every player’s passion for the game. We must ensure they continue to learn and also enjoy the process.
I’ll celebrate a player graduating from Charlotte FC Academy as a scholarship-earning athlete, a community leader, or a life-long fan of the game just as much as I’d celebrate another signing a Homegrown contract for our first team.