Sunday, May 19, 2024

Scouting Report

Steven Sserwadda

Position: Central Midfield
Current Club: New York Red Bulls (United States)
DOB: 28 August 2002
Birthplace: Kampala, Uganda
Height: 160 cm (5’3)
Weight: 73 kg (161 lbs)


Club (Years)LeagueAppearancesGoals
KCCA FC (-2018)Ugandan Premier League (I)171
New York Red Bulls II (2021-)USL Championship (II)172
New York Red Bulls (2022-)Major League Soccer (I)10
Uganda U-20Youth National Team102
UgandaSenior National Team30

Player Description

An exciting central midfield prospect, Steven Sserwadda is an energetic central midfielder who came to our attention thanks to his excellent performances that helped Uganda make it to the final of the 2021 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Mauritania. The soon to be 20-year-old has since earned his first senior national team appearances for Uganda as well as a move abroad to Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls, where he featured regularly for the club’s reserve team in the second tier USL Championship before signing a first-team contract. Sserwadda has distinguished himself with his remarkable engine, willingness to defend and the potential he has to be an excellent midfield connection between the defensive and attacking thirds.

While Sserwadda is a player who stands out for his physical characteristics there is plenty of room for him to develop as a player before he can capably compete in Major League Soccer or in a European top division. His passing efficiency is currently at a low level compared to his peers in the American second tier and he needs to further develop his instincts and decision making when approaching the opposition penalty area. Sserwadda also needs more experience to discover how to commit less fouls while transforming into the excellent ball winner he is capable of becoming.

General Pros and Cons


+ Showing very promising signs to succeed as a two-way central midfielder. Is already succeeding as a ball winner and showing the eagerness to move forward and further develop as an attacker.

+ Excellent engine. A real pest to opposing midfielders and attackers due to his stamina and quick acceleration.


– Has plenty of work to do on his decision making in passing and dribbling. Concedes possession far too often due to overcomplicating his play on the ball.

– Needs to develop his ability to play at different speeds in order to advance to the next level and higher standards of play. Can only operate at maximum pace which leads to a high rate of mistakes and unnecessary fouls.

– Technical ability is lacking in the attacking half. Lacks the ability to pass over longer distances or shoot from range.


+ Very quick burst of speed at short and medium distances.

+ Excellent agility. Navigates through crowds with ease and turns quickly in tight spaces.

+ Possesses the high engine and work rate needed in a two-way central midfielder. Is eager to push forward and also pursue ball winning opportunities when defending.

– Diminutive size makes him unlikely to win aerial duels and allows opposing ball handlers to hold him off.


+ Continues to improve with his ball control and dribbling, showing that there is potential for him to thrive when taking on defenders in open space or initiating attacks.

– Struggles to put the proper weight and distance on his passes. Lacks the range to accurately place passes over longer distances and needs to improve his decision making.

– Is yet to be a threat when shooting from outside the penalty area. Notable lack of power on long range efforts.


+ Dedicated to his role and eager to be a pest when the opposition is on the ball in the midfield. Excels in the Red Bull system of high pressing and maintaining a constant high level of energy.

– Overcomplicates his role at times. Needs to play simpler in possession and maximize his efficiency on shorter passes until he improves his touch.

– Far too aggressive at times. Tries to win every ball in the midfield and concedes his fair share of poor tackles that lead to fouls.


+ Enjoys operating in traffic and in tight spaces. Diminutive stature helps him sneak around markers and combine with teammates to find space.

+ Continues to improve in his abilities as a two-way midfielder in the center of the park. Eager to push forward and possesses a bit of an eye for goal in the opposition penalty area. Has already developed quite a bit in his skill at performing defensive duties and winning the ball.

+ Thrives in transition due to acceleration and engine. Continues to improve when turning defense into attack with his ability to burst forward and move ball through midfield.

– Can only play at maximum speed at this point. Needs to let the game come to him at times to improve his efficiency and avoid rushing when contributing to the buildup.

Statistical Analysis

First let us see how Sserwadda caught the attention of observers at the 2021 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Mauritania through all the excellent moments he had in the video below:

Now we will go through three categories of statistics from Sserwadda’s season with New York Red Bulls II, the reserve team of the Major League Soccer side. First let’s look at his numbers when he is in possession as well as his passing number. Statistical rankings are out of 121 central midfielders in the USL Championship who have played 600 minutes or more in the 2022 season:

Dribble Success47.06%T-92nd
Offensive Duels/907.7921st
Off. Duels Won37.14%104th
Progressive Runs/900.9653rd
Pass Accuracy74.29%115th
Forward Passes/9013.6537th
Forward Pass Acc.58.7%117th
Key Passes/900.37T-39th
Passes to Final Third/906.8335th

Sserwadda is a player who proves the theory that statistics can only tell part of the story but his poor ranking in many departments does reveal some about his weaknesses. Due to his position in the center of midfield, Sswerwadda is put into a position where he is asked to contribute moving forward but his ability to create attacks and move the ball into the attacking end is quite limited at this point. He often attempts to force passes to targets and spaces that are not there and it shows on his passing statistics while also lacking the close control to navigate past opposing midfielders and defenders.

At the same time it must be noted that Sserwadda is a player whose first instinct is to push the ball forward as shown by how a large percentage of his passes are played forward. As a result his accuracy suffers heavily and while there needs to be improvement in his passing efficiency and technique, Sserwadda is taking the necessary risks his role requires and this is the most important thing as he develops for the next level.

Now here are Sserwadda’s defensive statistics this season:

Successful Def. Actions/909.2729th
Def. Duels/909.793rd
Def. Duels Won48.48%T-108th

His defensive characteristics are the most developed at this point. The video further above featuring his aggression in the tackle and eagerness to win every ball goes a long way to explaining why his success rate in defensive duels is so low. Sserwadda attempts to win the ball at all times and any time he comes close or attempts to pester an opposing dribbler it is registered as a “defensive duel” even when there is little chance of him winning the ball to mark the duel as “won”. That being said Sserwadda needs to pick the correct moments when to engage in tackles and when to maintain the best position. However, in the high pressing system that Red Bull clubs are known for his ball winning mentality fits in well and is the perfect environment for him to develop within.

Evaluation: Needs plenty more experience and patience at this point. Currently at an ideal club and level for his development.

Sserwadda is currently at a club and system of play that maximizes his strengths with New York Red Bulls and their reserve side New York Red Bulls II. His situation is ideal because his high level of energy and dedication to playing at a high pace is perfect for developing in the American second tier with Red Bulls II. As Sserwadda gains more confidence in his abilities the transition to the senior team will be simple and it appears that the club are excited by what they have seen after he signed a first-team contract.

However, efficiency and simplicity are the key areas where Sserwadda needs to focus on moving forward. When moving forward in midfield he needs to gain more confidence in his vision and attacking instincts rather than trying to force the key pass or attempt to do too much. Sserwadda has the speed and engine to succeed in the physically demanding level of American soccer and has already shown that his skillset in defense is promising. At this point his ability to contribute both ways and especially moving forward in attack will come with experience and patience from him, something his club is willing to offer as he continues to adjust to playing abroad.