Episode 41 – with Jasmine Baba

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The United Mates Keitel and Joe are joined by football consultant and blogger Jasmine Baba to discuss her work life, the issue of mental health awareness/acceptance in the world of football, as well as to chat about her favorite team Arsenal and the new local clubs in her life, Borussia Mönchengladbach and SV Darmstadt 98.

Icebreaker:

Jasmine is very active on Twitter and often tweets out old tv show references… given that she recently started supporting Gladbach in Germany, today’s icebreaker for the group is “What old TV show which they don’t make anymore would you be GLAD to have BACK?

Jasmine’s Football Origins and a bit about her Work:

Jasmine grew up in a large family where football was already important and Arsenal is where the family’s allegiances lied. As a somewhat shy youngster, Jasmine’s football knowledge became a big part of her identity and formed the foundation of much of her social life.

Jasmine speaks out about the potential struggles of being a female football analyst in the male dominated world of sports. She’s had mixed experiences and occasionally has to deal with trolls but she has no problem with putting them in their place. Her advice to other people from minority groups looking to get into the world of sports media is to ignore the haters, however, that’s not necessarily a warning that Jasmine herself cares to heed… mess with her and you’ll be sorry!

Jasmine Baba now lives in Germany and along with her childhood love for Arsenal (and a fondness for Malmö FF that she picked up when living in Sweden) she know has two more special clubs in her life, Borussia Mönchengladbach and SV Darmstadt 98. Jasmine sees the major difference between the fan culture in England and Germany as a structural one; in Germany the fans are seemingly more hands on and have a bigger influence in the running of the clubs and the social fan culture beyond the matches.

Jasmine considers herself to be a football chameleon in the sense that wherever she lives, she’s likely to immerse herself in the local footballing culture!

When it comes to the modern approach of stats as the new holy grail for judging player ability, Jasmine thinks that it takes a more holistic perspective to uncover the best players. The “eye test” is still a reliable measure of potential and when combined with stats and more personal information about a player, that’s the recipe for proper scouting. Whilst Jasmine doesn’t believe that an emphasis on dense stats like xG is killing the romance of the game, she calls for a step back from the tunnel vision tactics of purely stats-driven scouting.

Who Are Ya?!:

The group plays “Who Are Ya?!”, the guessing game where a mystery player is revealed based on clues. In this edition the players are linked to the Bundesliga AND the Premier League.

1. Apart from the country of his birth, this player played his entire career to date in the Premier League and the Bundesliga. He also played for two of Jasmine’s favorite teams Arsenal and Borussia Mönchengladbach. Who is he?!

2. This player never played in the country of his birth but has played his whole career to date in the Premier League and currently plays in the Bundesliga? Who is he?!

3. This German footballer has English roots and played his entire career in Germany and England to date. He currently plays in the EFL Championship? Who is he?!

Arsenal Conversation:

Jasmine sets her realistic goals for Arsenal to achieve this season; she’s not confident that Arsenal can win the Europa League or necessarily qualify for the same competition through their final league standing. Essentially her expectations of Arsenal for the rest of the campaign are not a whole lot.

Jasmine has been a bit disappointed by Arsenal’s January transfer dealings. She likes the additions of Maty Ryan and Martin Ødegaard but is wary that the club didn’t sign a backup left back despite letting Sead Kolašinac leave the club. Likewise she thinks we’ve allowed too many squad players to leave on loan.

Mental Health Issues in Football:

Jasmine is an advocate for acceptance and understanding surrounding mental health issues. These are societal problems and so the solution is bigger than what can be done within football, however she does have some opinions on where the beautiful game can improve its resources and structures in order to better support players and other employees within professional football.

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