Vasco look to youth for future growth
Vasco da Gama are aiming to establish a full-time youth programme after taking their first tentative steps with participation in the thirteenth International Under-11 Football Tournament of the Azores.
The tournament, which the club were invited to enter after a meeting in November with officials from Clube União Micaelense, who hosted the competition, featured established professional outfits FC Porto, Feyenoord and Borussia Mönchengladbach, as well teams the Azores, Madeira, Cape Verde, the United States and Canada.
From the 20 teams in total split into four groups of five teams, Vasco finished third in their group, including eventual tournament winners FC Porto, before going on to finish a very respectable ninth overall.
“We travelled to the tournament to represent Bermuda and I believe we more than held our own against some very established academies,” said Eduardo Correia, a former president of Vasco, who also acted as a chaperon on the trip.
“The tournament was a chance to test ourselves against some strong opposition and build relationships for the future.
“We certainly showed that the island has strong football talent, which is great for Bermuda, and based on our performance I wouldn’t be shocked if we are invited back again in the future.”
Having been invited to the tournament at a time when Vasco did not have a youth team in place, Correia conceded they had to approach other clubs on island, as well as the Bermuda Football Association to make their intentions clear of competing in the tournament after others turned down the opportunity.
However, after making the most of the opportunity Correia is more than convinced that the club are in a position to establish their own youth programme in the very near future.
“When we were first invited we didn’t have a junior programme in place so approached local clubs to go in our place,” Correia added. However, after having no real feedback, it was a choice of giving up on the idea of representing Bermuda at the tournament or try and find a solution.
“Thankfully Joseph Carolo and Germano Botelho took control and created a list of 16 to 18 children who we could take with permission from other clubs and the BFA.
It was never our intention to use these children as our own youth programme going forward but hopefully the tournament can act as a catalyst for the club to create our own youth initiative.
“It was like a tentative step competing at the tournament and I’m convinced one of the goals of the club will be to go down that youth route.
“The whole idea of any club is to build from the youth in the hope of building for the future. The club knows in order to have a future we need a youth set up.
“It’s paramount for the long term future and it would be money well spent by the club. If the opportunity to build a programme arises, I’m sure will look into it.”
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