Bascome’s kids to learn to play the Valencia way
Spanish football giants Valencia have signed a five-year deal to base one of their football academies in Bermuda.
The season-long camps, will begin in September, be based at Saltus around Andrew Bascome's ABC football school, and will see the La Liga club send two of their main youth coaches to the Island.
Valencia ran a week-long camp alongside Bascome last October, but this new permanent arrangement will only be the third such academy the club has opened outside of Spain, with the others in Egypt and Japan.
“We are trying every day to grow, we think we are one of the top clubs in Europe, we are trying, not only to grow, but also to export our methodology to other places around the world,” Carlos de Lera, the Sports Director of the Valencia Foundation, said.
“After our experience with the camp here last October, we are thinking to work together. The idea is to move two of our main coaches, to work here, and we will work with 200 kids from eight to 16, and 20 Bermuda coaches.”
The academy will train two or three times a week, and the expectation is that academy teams will play in the local leagues.
“At the moment I don't know how many kids we will have exactly, but the main part of them are playing in the (ABC) teams,” said de Lera.
De Lera made the announcement at a press conference yesterday where four ABC graduates from last October's camp were officially handed their certificates and invitations to attend the Valencia Academy in July.
Jibri-Lawrence Salaam, Jasmin Spence, Jacob Greene and Jahkari Furbert will spend a week in Spain alongside 200 of other children and be put through their paces by the club's top youth coaches.
The plan of course is that others will follow in their footsteps, although they might not necessarily be the most talented players. The four, who are all members of the BFA national academy, were chosen not only because of their skill, but because of their attitudes, and willingness to listen and learn.
“We would rather have 11 kids that are well-rounded, understand how to play together and respect the game, than have very gifted players who might not abide by those rules,” said Henrik Schroder, a director of ABC football. “It's more about creating a whole programme where structure, methodology, and progression comes in, not about creating a winning machine.”
For Valencia the benefit of the camp is not just about potentially unearthing a hidden gem, in fact that seems secondary to the desire to expand their brand and attract a new generation of supporters.
“We want to collaborate with Bermuda football because we know that you like football and want to work with one of the important clubs in Europe,” said de Lera.
“The main idea is to export our methodology and our club to other places, of course if we can bring in new football supporters and if we find a player of good quality then they can sign a contract with me.”
ABC on the other hand hope to be able to spread the Valencia football philosophy among the Island's coaches, some of whom they expect to attract to work alongside Bascome and the two Spanish coaches.
“This is a push to educate coaches, because we believe that a coach can touch 20 to 40 players. If we can educate 10 local coaches through this programme, they can touch 200-400 children.
“In the end we can get coaches who are working in the youth development area to come inside the academy and be part of this for one or two years, and then use their skills to enhance what they're doing in their home clubs,” said Schroder.