LaLiga has begun 2023 by reaching a milestone with LaLiga Grassroots, the initiative under which it brings together the know-how, experience and projects to promote grassroots football all over the world.
The project has now developed more than 640 permanent and temporary projects in 48 countries, from introductory to high performance, and led by more than 900 of the best Spanish youth football coaches, selected for their high qualifications (university graduates, UEFA Pro licensed coaches), national and international experience and values in line with LaLiga, including empathy, effort, and adaptability.
Over 22,000 local coaches and more than 200,000 international players of various ages and levels have been trained in this Methodology throughout the different LaLiga centres and projects spanning the five continents.
LaLiga is a pioneer among the major European leagues in creating a network of academies, schools and training projects for players and coaches around the world focused on the comprehensive development of international talent thanks to its own Methodology, which combines the elements that make the clubs’ youth academies a global reference.
LaLiga teams dominate the rankings of the best youth academies in Europe put together by prestigious institutions such as the CIES Football Observatory, the leading organisation for bringing together European football data. Athletic Club, FC Barcelona, RC Celta, RCD Espanyol de Barcelona, CA Osasuna, Real Sociedad, and Valencia CF all feature in the Top 15 teams of the five big European leagues that gave most playing time to home-grown players during the 2021/22 season, with an exclusively Spanish podium made up of Athletic Club, Real Sociedad, and RC Celta. Atlético de Madrid, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Valencia CF also feature in this season’s top 15 most productive youth academies among the five major European leagues.
Within the five big European leagues, LaLiga leads the rankings by some margin: during the first half of the current season, youth players had played 15.8% of the minutes in the competition, compared to 12.4% in Ligue 1, 11.8% in the Premier League, and, some way back, 7.1% in the Bundesliga and 5.5% in Serie A, making LaLiga the leading example of grassroots football in Europe.
The LaLiga Methodology integrates many of the elements that have made LaLiga Grassroots a global benchmark, and many LaLiga Grassroots coaches have club experience, helping to export this shared LaLiga brand know-how. The clubs’ youth academies also participate in many international LaLiga Grassroots projects, with matches, training sessions or even associate centres, promoting international exchange, contact and presence. This forms a unique system focused on the holistic development of the player that encompasses four key areas: tactical-cognitive, technical-coordinative, physical-conditional, and psycho-socio-affective.
The heart of LaLiga Grassroots: Madrid
The ESC LaLiga & NBA Centre in Madrid opened its doors in the summer of 2022, becoming the hub of LaLiga’s grassroots football projects. The main focus is LaLiga Academy Madrid, a long-term academic and sporting programme open to young footballers from all over the world. The centre also hosts LaLiga Training Stages, intensive training and coaching stays for clubs and federations from all over the world; LaLiga Camps, summer football training camps; and it also hosts different scouting projects.
At LaLiga Academy Madrid 2022/23, 36 young players from 24 different countries, including Mexico, France, Lebanon, Poland and Japan, study in a school integrated into the Centre and train under the LaLiga Methodology with top-level coaches coordinated directly from the organisation’s headquarters in Madrid who are in constant contact with the Centre. The athletes, aged between 14 and 18, are divided into two teams (U16 and U18) and play weekly matches with teams from youth academies of LaLiga clubs and other teams in Madrid to enhance their skills, focusing on excellence and the integral development of their performance in both the academic and sporting spheres.
The ESC LaLiga & NBA Centre, which brings together two of the world’s leading sports organisations for the first time in a project of this kind, boasts accommodation for more than 450 people and 24-hour security, an international school equipped with an auditorium, library and laboratory, a clinic and several areas for games, relaxation and study. The complex also houses two state-of-the-art football pitches and different training spaces, a basketball court, gymnasium and swimming pool, and the NBA training pavilion is being completed, which will make it the ideal place to create the union between sports and academic training that the LaLiga Grassroots projects seek to achieve.
These facilities will also be available to all LaLiga clubs for the implementation of exclusive training programmes, brand internationalisation projects and any other needs, in addition to the LaLiga Academy Manager software, developed by LaLiga to optimise the management and daily operation of youth teams and academies.
All additional information is available here: https://laligagrassroots.com/