How clubs can 'health check' their player care with PlayerCarePro

Hugo Scheckter: Set up the Player Care Group in 2020 after working for Southampton and West Ham

Hugo Scheckter: Set up the Player Care Group in 2020 after working for Southampton and West Ham

Hugo Scheckter has been a flagbearer for player care in football for a decade, elevating the prominence and understanding of this crucial area as well as its standards.

After working for Southampton and West Ham, the 33-year-old set up The Player Care Group in 2020. Since then, more than 300 player care professionals have graduated from his courses, with a third now working full-time at clubs.

One of these is Sheldon Phillips, Senior Director of Club Welfare & Compliance at Philadelphia Union. As Scheckter says, it's a "nice cycle" that the MLS club are one of the partner clubs for his PlayerCarePro platform, which delivers world-wide player care standards.

“There are no rules around player care in the first team," he says. "Not even every Premier League club has player care in the first team, still. Some have 12 people, some have zero.

"With PlayerCarePro, clubs can work through the player care frameworks we have agreed in their own time, see how they do and then improve.”

Phillips adds: “PlayerCarePro is a great way for any club to see and understand the wider world soccer market in terms of player care. Using it was a great way to bring the team together, have robust discussions on where we want to invest our time & resources - and assess where we are compared to other clubs around the world.

"It's a really useful tool for us as we continue to seek to be world class in all that we do.”

The other partner clubs for PlayerCarePro are Premier League club Nottingham Forest, Italian giants AC Milan and Valladolid in Spain's Segunda Division, who each spent two months helping to develop the portal.

Lorenzo Libutti, Director Of Player Care And Commercial Football Operations at AC Milan, says: “My team and I have loved using PlayerCarePro - it has given us so many ideas on where we can improve, as well as confirming what we already do well.

"It has motivated the team here to look how they can improve all the different areas surrounding player care and is already an invaluable tool for us."


PlayerCarePro incorporates an updated set of player care standards, with 170 questions that have been peer-reviewed by staff at some of the biggest clubs in the world. These questions are split into 24 sections, including player onboarding, family engagement, team scheduling and more.

Clubs answer each questions with a score from zero to five, enabling them to build up a detailed picture of their player care provision. Each area can then be benchmarked against clubs of a similar level and size, and there are online resources to help them improve in specific areas if needed.

Bristol City are another club that have recently signed up.

“For the first time there will be a set of player care standards, as well as a delivery system where staff can log in and out in their own time," Scheckter says. “This is not to replace your player care department, it’s to monitor and improve it.

"The idea is that whether you are in the men’s game, women’s game, non-league, you will be compared to standards of where you should be.”

Clubs can sign up to the portal for a season, with a new subscription and audit beginning on July 1st each year. New resources are added on a monthly basis and the tool can be used anywhere, at any time. It's not a purely digital service though, because 34 expert consultants are on hand to advise clubs on specific areas of player care.

“I am not the expert in everything, so we have hired consultants from around the world to help,” Scheckter says. "If your club is struggling with the mental health of players, for example, then we have four qualified counsellors who can help with your strategy.

EVENT: Hugo Scheckter will be speaking at TGG Live 2024

To find out more and to buy tickets, click below


“You get four one-on-one calls a year with a consultant and we will pair you up with the right person.”

This panel of consultants includes Ceri Bowley, the former Rangers first-team coach and Head of Coaching Support at City Football Group, ex-Oxford United Academy Manager Dan Harris and former Brighton Head of Player Care Sue Parris.

The portal also brings clubs together for peer-to-peer support and networking. The most forward-thinking clubs are switching on to the importance of player care.

“Traditionally, clubs were focused on the four hours that their players were at the training ground,” says Scheckter, who has consulted for clubs including Brentford, Newcastle United and Deportivo Toluca in Mexico.

“Player care is about the other 20 hours. We are saying that if you want to support your people the best you can, then you need to focus on this area. We are saying to the Sporting Directors that the players are your assets and they are sometimes failing because they can’t settle, because their partners aren’t happy.

“So why aren’t you taking every step you can to have proactive player care and reduce those settling-in periods? You know the effort that goes into those marginal gains at the training ground.

"But if you have a player stuck in a hotel for three months surrounded by packing boxes with his wife and kids in the room, he isn’t going to be playing his best.

“You put so much effort and resource into all those bits at the training ground, but if we don’t get those bits away from the training ground right, you are going to undermine it. The reason to do it is because it helps performance and finance, but the result of it is the players get treated better as people.”

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