Instead of dispatching scouts around the globe to search out talent, a growing number of J.League teams are using a video streaming service to find and sign foreign players, inexpensively and efficiently.

The Wyscout service, which was developed in Italy in 2004, allows the viewing of videos of individual players in certain game situations, such as dribbling the ball or in checking the accuracy of kicks to set up headers.

The service allows teams to scout the 550,000 or so players who are scattered throughout 230 nations and regions around the world.

A change in J.League rules that now allows each team to use five players in a game rather than the three until last season has increased the need for scouting foreign players this year.

One team that has used Wyscout to its advantage this season is Sanfrecce Hiroshima, which added the defender Emil Salomonsson from Sweden to its roster. Through seven games in the current season, which sees Hiroshima currently atop the standings, Salomonsson has started all seven games.

He is the only Swede now playing in the J.League, and he admits being surprised when Sanfrecce contacted him. He said he believes the team has been doing well because club officials knew his playing style and how to best take advantage of it.

Salomonsson played until last season on Swedish teams for 11 seasons.

Osamu Adachi, who is in charge of player development for Hiroshima, said, "Previously, we would not have been able to sign him because he played in a league for which we had very little information."

Salomonsson also came at a reasonable price tag, with an estimated annual salary of about 40 million yen ($357,000).

Wyscout is widely used in Europe and allows for viewing of not only domestic league and cup matches, but international matches among various age-group teams. Teams in soccer powerhouse Brazil can be followed even at the fourth highest level.

A total of about 200,000 games are available for viewing and 1,500 or so are added weekly.

In addition to personal information about each player, the service also provides contact information for the player's agent as well as the date on which his current contract expires.

A Japanese-language version was completed in autumn 2014, and Wyscout's profile increased after the Japan Football Association began using it to analyze opposing teams in the Asian Champions League competition.

The number of teams using Wyscout has increased sharply over the past two years and now 35 J.League teams have contracted for the service.

It provides clubs with a more objective assessment of potential players. In the past, agents of foreign players would approach teams and often provided heavily edited footage of only good plays to convince the club to sign their client.

Katsumi Oenoki, general manager of Shimizu S-Pulse, signed up with Wyscout as soon as he took over as head of player development last season.

"It helps us greatly because we can also see the mistakes of the player," Oenoki said.

Mitsuru Suzuki of the Kashima Antlers has instructed the team's four scouts to watch Wyscout whenever they have the time.

While some J.League teams have signed top stars from around the world, not all teams have the financial backing to do so. For the more budget-minded teams, Wyscout provides an attractive alternative because it also provides data from leagues other than the major ones in Europe and South America.

The search for bargain players has led to a greater diversity in the backgrounds of foreign players. This season, players have come from five nations that have never been represented on J.League rosters--Luxembourg, Mozambique, Gabon, Kenya and Venezuela.

Overall, the ratio of foreign players from Brazil and South Korea has decreased from the 89 percent of 10 years ago to the current 70 percent.