Spain coaches at Valeo/KSAFA camp encourage ‘football culture’
Developing young players with proper football culture will enhance opportunities for Jamaicans to earn contracts with clubs in elite leagues such as Spain’s La Liga.
This view was shared by a leading juvenile trainer from one of the world’s top football clubs, one of Atlético Madrid’s under-16 and under-17 coaches, Sergio Recas; an under-15 coach at Spanish Second Division club AD Alcorcon, Miguel Misis; and juvenile scout, Spain’s Dario Castelo, following a coaching stint at the Valeo FC/KSAFA Summer Coaching Academy.
The academy ran for two weeks at the University of the West Indies Bowl, Mona, where coaches from giant Portuguese club, Sporting Lisbon, led sessions at the Valeo/KSAFA during the first week. Emelio Williams, President, Valeo FC Academy and Fabian Davis, Valeo FC’s Jamaica Director, were among other coaches at the camp, which extended an open invitation to other local clubs.
After conducting sessions the second week, Recas, speaking through an interpreter, said: “We’re very enthusiastic to be here and we like what we see here. There’s good talent, motivation, everybody’s motivated, the kids, the coaches, the fathers, the parents.”
Recas shared pointers that may prove useful for clubs looking to properly get into the business of football, when asked to comment on the difference in Spain when compared to Jamaica.
“It’s about the thinking of the game because here exists talent, but there doesn’t exist the habits of football,” said Recas. “Football, in our opinion, is not the number-one sport here. In Europe, very soon, the kids learn football, the coaches teach football tactics, and help thinking for great football decisions on their head for game situations.”
Misis continued: “Here, the kids are very natural. We think that the coaches are the important ones here to teach the kids.”
Castelo says that the future lies with the kids so all this can change in years, but coaching will make the difference.
“We think we have to give time to the kids, give time to the persons who are working with the kids and the future is in the small kids,” said Castelo. “I think in three, four years, it’s my personal opinion, I don’t have results, but three-four kids now, in eight, nine, 10 years when they become 15, 16, 17, they could go to our clubs. It’s just an opinion.”
“Attitude is fantastic,” they all agreed.
The coaches had also participated in summer coaching camps at Valeo FC headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts.
“They worked with our boys to pass on some of the training methodologies that they use to develop the players,” said Williams, following the Sporting Lisbon camp.
Davis, a former Reggae Boy, who also played professionally in the United States, explained their contribution in depth.
“Valeo has been doing a lot of positive things, getting these coaches to come over and work with these kids here throughout the past two weeks. It’s been great working with them, I’ve learnt a lot from them. I knew of some of the things that they imparted in the sessions, I had learnt them from earlier on, but it just reassured me of the path I’m on in my development with the Valeo programme that is running here. They’re doing a great job,” said Davis.
In terms of specifics, Davis outlined: “They (coaches at both camps) focused on the decision-making, spatial awareness, attitude, discipline. They stress a lot on the attitude of the players, which is very, very important as we know. With Atlético Madrid, it’s kind of similar, they stress a lot on attitude of the players, be hungry to achieve, decision-making – the whole intelligence of the game.”
Davis also said that it is important to introduce certain aspects of the game according to age.
“They also explained to me the whole development process – 12 and under is a lot of skills, 13 going up, you want to help them to understand the game, which is game intelligence. Thereon, you add more to the sessions of the kids the older they get, but it makes lots of sense, for the past two weeks, the knowledge they’ve shared with us,” he said.
“Basically, I’ve learnt that good teaching has to begin early, like early childhood education. From an early age, you have to impart the good habits and that is a massive part of what they’re stressing from the grassroots level,” Davis explained.