Some people are just born talented, whether it is in academic endeavors, musical and artistic creativity, or sporting prowess. But for the rest of the world we have to work at what we want to be good at. And for the most, top footballers do not just fall out of the heavens, as if by magic.
The vast majority of the world’s best players have honed their skills and developed their game at soccer academies, whether it is Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, or Lionel Messi. And there are a few of these soccer schools both from the best known clubs and also from smaller teams that have proved themselves as the elite academies in the world. And now let’s take a look at the ten of the very best.
Over the last decade the Belgium national team has grown into one of the best in the world, able to compete with the biggest countries such as Brazil and Argentina. And at the heart of this success has been the Anderlect Youth Academy. Recent graduates of this fine soccer school have been, Adnan Januzaj, Romelu Lukaku, and Vincent Company. The ethos behind the academy is to mold players that are capable of playing in the Champions League through rigorous training sessions, and also mental training from a very early age.
Similar to the rise of the Belgium national team, in recent years we have seen the resurgence of the Croatian national team. And the driving force behind preparing the players to play at international level is the Dinamo Zagreb academy. Dejan Lovran, Niko Kranjcar, and Luka Modric all came through this soccer school to play in the Barclays Premier League. What is amazing is the tiny budget of under $1.5 million that the program is funded by. Which compared to bigger clubs is a drop in the ocean.
President Laudo Natel Athletics Formation Center
This rather elongated sounding academy is part of the grand Sao Paulo club in Brazil. The two hundred square meter compound is situated just outside the city and has an impressive list of amenities. It has eight full-sized pitches, two swimming pools, plus accommodation for all the students on site. Players such as Kaka, Lucas Moura, and Oscar learned how to play football here, and the academy was the base for the Brazilian team for the 2014 World Cup.
The Manchester United Academy
Manchester United is a club that is famous for giving local youth players an opportunity to play in the first team. The academy based at the Carrington training facility is state of the art. And in 2013 a new medical center and sports science department was added at the cost of nearly $100. The famous team of 1992 that included, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, and David Beckham all came through the academy and together they won the Treble. In part two of our blog we will travel the world to see even more great academies that have produced fantastic players as graduates.