The Secret of Football Academies (Part 1)

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One of the keys of being a successful team is to do a great job with young kids through their football academy system. But, how does this work need to be done?

The secret of Football Academies

Where do football players start their careers? It’s possible that you have asked yourself this question many times. And you can be sure that football teams have it in mind all the time. Actually, nowadays having the best players since they are children is one of the reasons for the success of one particular club.

This is why today many important clubs in the world and coaches are focused on attracting, following and developing potential stars. But this needs to be organized. This is why the best clubs and academies around the world always follow a plan. And, even when sports are not mathematics, many times this kind of organized work gives good results. Let’s see some examples.

Sporting Lisboa (Lisbon) was named the best football school in the world in 2010. In 2003, executives of the club decided to create “The Academy”, a new complex to be in charge of young divisions. Cristiano Ronaldo is the most famous of the more than 50 professional players that started dreaming of success in football in “The Academy”. And of course, this is not a coincidence. In this place, the Portuguese club works with one objective: provide children with all they need to improve. Doctors, psychologists, personal trainers and coaches have the same mission. The point is not to win championships when they are young. The point is to learn and improve.

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Private academies (Soccer Stages) vs club academies (La Masia)

Jorge Griffa is one of the top recruiters and trainers of “young guys” (young players) in Argentina. After starting his career in Newells, he went to Boca, where he promoted players like Éver Banega, Sebastián Battaglia, Fernando Gago and Carlos Tevez. Griffa thinks that: “Coaches, and especially young players’ coaches, are not only this, they are like teachers, and they need to have a very close relationship with the children”.

Actually, Boca has now only one plan for young divisions: to copy Barcelona’s idea. It’s known that a big part of today’s Barca’s (Barcelona’s) results are because of the great work the club has done in La Masia, its football complex for young divisions. What is the secret? They grow up with the same idea and game philosophy.

Even if you like their game or not, you will agree that the best thing you can do is to teach one way of playing. In a similar way, other important clubs have their own academies, like Real Madrid, Manchester United or Juventus. Many times those big teams made deals with small clubs or academies. Boca, for example, made it with Parque, a very small club from Buenos Aires who used to win every tournament in young divisions. It was the club where players like Juan Pablo Sorín, Juan Román Riquelme or Fernando Redondo started.

Of course, this can be seen at the same time in national teams. José Pekerman is known for being the coach who won three U-20 championships with Argentina. He made a national plan for young divisions, supervising the work in clubs.

Jordi Alba – “product” of Soccer Stages

At the same time private academies copy the model and offer similar services with professional coaches and good infrastructure for those young kids who want to have a chance in the football world. For example, Soccer Stages works together with Unión Deportiva Cornellá in the city of Barelona with players from all around the world. Depending on the age of the player, their technique and the time they can train there are different programs. Players like Jordi Alba came from Soccer Stages.

But, how did players get into the Academy? Nowadays many young guys want to improve and become professionals so they decide to look for an academy. Remember that football is a business and marketing is really important in this case. But, on the other hand, clubs always want to look for the best players, so they have recruiters who are looking in every single young division championship to take those new talents to their own football school.

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Next post:

The Secret of Football Academies (Part 2)

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