Digitization in amateur soccer

In this interview, Markus Kraetschmer talks about developments in the digital world of amateur football and his assessments of various topics at RIESPO

With almost 25 years in senior management positions in professional soccer, Markus Kraetschmer is a well-known and renowned expert in the field of digitization and new technologies in sports. He is also a sought-after speaker at national and international conferences. Here at RIESPO, he uses his experience to support the further development and marketing of the platform as Director Management.

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Markus Kraetschmer

RIESPO: Mr. Kraetschmer, after almost 25 years in a leading position in professional soccer, you are now taking on a new challenge: digitization in the football world?

Kraetschmer: That’s right. You know, in the professional sector, digitization has been around for a long time and is a great help for clubs. The necessary software, however, is cost-intensive and therefore hardly suitable for amateur use. RIESPO is a company that wants to close exactly this gap. The software is programmed in-house; it is independent and its usability has been fine-tuned in consultation and agreement with opinion leaders in the field of professional football. I find it a sensible and all-round solution.

RIESPO: What can we as users expect from digitization?

The “digital bio” on RIESPO

Kraetschmer: RIESPO’s vision is that every club, every player and every trainer should have their own “digital bio”, on this platform. This will greatly facilitate the scouting and especially the contacting of other members. Digitization will enormously simplify scouting, transfer management and team management for clubs and greatly improve performance for players and coaches. For example, imagine you are watching a game and a player catches your eye. The first step will be to find out the name. No problem, in most cases it can be found in the stadium newspaper or in the football database. Then when they find him in the search engine, the second question that arises is, how do I contact him? Of course, it is also possible to look for his contacts locally by investing some time. Once you have made the initial contact, you find out that he does not live in the area, and all your efforts were in vain. I want to save myself this time and effort, so with a push of a button you get a current bio—and off you go.

RIESPO: Where do you see the essential advantages for the members?

Kraetschmer: It increases their reach enormously. For example, let’s take the Upper Austrian Football Association. The Upper Austrian Football Association currently has 376 registered clubs with 40,600 active players. Let’s start with a regional catchment area, i.e., the distance to the training facility that has to be traveled from home. Let’s say 50 km. If we apply this to Upper Austria, it would be about one third of the clubs, i.e., about 125 clubs that I would reach. Now let’s say each club has two goalkeepers for the adult section. So now we are talking about a goalkeeper “portfolio” of 250 goalkeepers when searching with the digital scout. How many people usually know a manager of a club? And you can do that for any position. You can find out about players and coaches who were not on your radar before.

RIESPO: Are there also any selection criteria that can be used here?

Find and be found: Database with digital scout

Kraetschmer: Sure. You don’t just search by position, you can search the current league up to the highest league he has ever played. Also by height, strong foot, etc. And by name, of course. When you get a hit, you immediately know where the other member is coming from, you can contact them right away and put them in your scouting list. Less than two minutes and everything is done. That makes a lot of things easier.

RIESPO: Does this also work across countries?

Kraetschmer: Yes, of course. You can also look for a 190 cm tall center forward within 150 km of Bucharest who has played between the 2nd and 4th league and speaks German or English. No problem; from anywhere in the world. A member that matches these parameters will be displayed in seconds.

RIESPO: What exactly do you mean with scouting lists?

Private lists of profiles

Kraetschmer: The RIESPO software is programmed so that each club, but also each player and coach can create internal lists. We have just been working with lists for scouting, transfer and team management. The lists are fully customizable with 17 parameters. Here you can store the bios of the members you are interested in; you can create encrypted text fields, and from now on you can build long-term databases. Even if there are changes in the management of the association, the data will be preserved. Therefore, I hope that many will adopt this digital tool.

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