Arsenal have hired Kevin Balvers from Malmo to take on the role of the club’s first-ever Football Methodology Analyst.

Kevin Balvers via Twitter
Kevin Balvers via Twitter

The Dutchman worked in the same role for Malmo since January, according to Training Ground Guru. They also note that Balvers “worked as a Performance and Innovation Methodology Analyst for Barcelona on a freelance basis.”

I’m not going to sit here and pretend I know anything about this role, so I’d encourage you to head over to Training Ground Guru to read more about it. As they note, it is a rare role at a club. Francisco Belo at Wolves is the only person they are aware of in the same role.

Kevin Balvers via Training Ground Guru
Kevin Balvers via Training Ground Guru

I did manage to find the ad that Wolves used to hire Belo. Posted in October 2020, it gives us a better idea of what the job entails:

Wolves write as their introduction to the job ad, “The club is in the process of developing its Performance Analysis and Research department, enabling even greater quality and depth in the service provided across the club. The successful candidate will be responsible for developing the best practice framework, regular trend and research analysis across Wolves’ performance, the Premier League, as well as other global football trends, whilst supporting the 1st Team analysts in pre and post-match analysis tasks.”

Football Methodology Analyst requirements

  • Knowledge: the level and breadth of knowledge to do the job e.g. understanding of a defined system, method or procedure, legal or regulatory frameworks etc.
  • A strong understanding of both the tactical and technical aspects of football.
  • Previous experience of working in a professional football club.
  • Strong knowledge of coaches, players and playing styles globally.
  • Ability to work with video, using a range of tools including SBG, SportsCode, iMovie, Wyscout.
  • Operate within the rules of professional confidentiality to liaise with athletes, medical staff, sports sciences staff, coaches and other support staff as appropriate
  • An understanding of individual responsibility in complying with Health and Safety policies
  • Experience in working in an elite football environment
  • Technical/work-based skills: skills specific to the job e.g. language competence, typing skills, coaching skills etc
  • Previous experience of working with data and ability to filter this into informative reports and to visualise data to highlight key messages.
  • Strong use working with all Microsoft Office products (Excel, PowerPoint).
  • Experience using Apple products (including MacBook Pro).
  • General skills and attributes: more general characteristics e.g. flexibility, communication skills, team working etc
  • Clear communication styles through written and verbal work.
  • High levels of attention to detail.
  • Positive attitude towards challenging tasks.
  • Team player and ability to meet deadlines under pressure.
  • Highly organised and able to structure/file work, making it easily accessible to colleagues.
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks at the same time.
  • Learning mentality, looking to constantly improve and pick up new skills/attributes.
  • Ability to communicate complex data in terms that are easily understood by a wide range of audiences
  • Ability to work irregular and unsociable hours as required involving work outside normal office hours, evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays
  • Experience: proven record of experience in a particular field, profession or specialism.
  • Previous experience of working within professional sport.
  • Previous experience of working with Opta.
  • Previous experience of Tableau (or similar data visualisation software).
  • Previous experience of using Telestration tools to annotate video
  • Previous experience within an 1st Team/Academy football MDT environment
  • Qualifications: the level of educational, professional and/or occupational training required
  • A minimum 2:1 in a relevant Coaching/Sport Science related degree.
  • Post-holder will be subject to a DBS check at the appropriate level and cleared by the Wolves Head of Safeguarding.
  • A Performance/Data Analysis postgraduate course.