Daniel Sousa is a Portuguese Soccer Coach who works close together with André Villas-Boas! He started his career as a Soccer Analyst and quickly moved to assistant coach at André Villas Boas technical staff! He worked in clubs such as FC Porto, Chelsea FC, Tottenham FC, FC Zenit and Shangai SIGP FC.
SH: Can you tell us bit more about how you started your career?
DS: I’ve started my career in soccer not in analysis but as a youth coach, in FC Porto Soccer Schools, but then I’ve realized that there are few doors for you to start your career in professional soccer. Soccer Analysis was the most obvious door for me because I didn’t had a past as a professional football player. So I gave 100% during my Master Thesis, where I’ve made some interviews to top coaches such as Louis van Gaal and André Villas-Boas. In my presentation in the University André (Villas-Boas) was present showing a lot of interest in my work. We’ve stayed in touch and I month after he invited me to work with him. And that was the beginning of a wonderful career where I’ve had the opportunity to work in clubs such as FC Porto, Chelsea, Tottenham Zenit and Shangai.
SH: What wore, at that time, your main goals?
DS: My goal was always to be in pitch! Analysis was a way for me to get in. It was the best door because it gave a lot of knowledge about the game. I was able to notice many things that I’ve never thought before, and that was thru soccer analysis! I’ve reached a point where I felt that I should go a level further, even in terms of analysis. In some point I feel the need to go to the pitch, delivering training sessions, to get “inside” of the analysis. I believe that is very important to get these two experiences together if you aspire to go further!
SH: What king of challenges have you found when you started as a Soccer Analyst?
DS: When I started, I’ve found many challenges! The main challenge was about technologies. We used DVD’s at that time and, sometimes, they didn’t work properly making our work a lot more difficult. I remember that, sometimes, I’ve used to sleep on the stadium preparing the material something that you can do nowadays in a few hours! So the main challenge was the technology because I’m from the sport side of soccer, and technology was not my specialization area. I felt that, in that area, I’ve had to improve and learn a lot. I’ve used to do analysis, at that time, using windows media player to do some videos, which was the easiest way to do it, but now we have many powerful tools to do it.
SH: What kind of advices do you have to offer to those who wants to start a career as a Soccer Analyst?
DS: First of all, to start in this area you have to master the knowledge about this subjects. You will learn a lot during the process of analysis itself, but you will need to study a lot and also, watch a lot of games. And if you could be, at the same time, on the pitch preparing the training sessions and interacting with players and coaches. That is very important: in all the clubs that I’ve worked, I’d really made and effort to speak and learn with other people. Because the other people have lived and experienced different situations, having different perspectives about the subjects. That confrontation of ideas is very important for you to evolve! So, share your knowledge and learn with others that have more and different experiences keeping always in mind that we should never stop studying!
SH: How was understood the importance of the role of a Soccer Analyst in the past? What about now?
DS: The difference is huge! When I started in FC Porto, the former coach – Jesualdo Ferreira – had only one analyst. We didn’t call it an analyst at that time. They wore called “opponent scout”. At that time, most of the staff of the club didn’t know even that I existed… But now clubs have huge departments were, the only thing that they do, is analysis. Now, those departments are one of the most important piece of the team’s staff. The difference is massive!
SH: Do you consider it very important for someone who wants to be coach of a top soccer team to master game analysis skills?
DS: My opinion is very clear about that subject: every one of the technical staff must to have some analysis skills. To have some discussions inside the technical staff, you need to have the knowledge of the game. If you don’t have the knowledge of the game, you cannot discuss the important things that are happening and how you can develop a plan. I think that everyone, from the goalkeeper coach, the fitness coach, the assistant coach and the manager should know how to analyze the game, of course with different levels of proficiency. I’ve no doubt about that!
SH: Can you tell a funny story that happened during your carrer?
DS: Well, a funny story… Just to understand how analysis changed my life, before I’ve started my career, in 2009, I’ve never had a flight trip! And after that, as you imagine, we travel almost every week!
SH: How important is a platform like Soccer HUB to those who want to start their career in this specific area?
DS: I think that is very valuable when you get information from people that already are involved. You can find in platforms like Soccer HUB their information already summarized and presented in a comprehensive way. It’s very important to get all of this knowledge because they’ve already leaved experiences that can help you to understand quicker all you need to know.