Honestly, I have not seen or heard of a country’s futbol could be so strong and dominating till they could literally “conquered” a continent in nearly all possible age-group levels. At certain point, it did conquer the world! Immediately, my curiousity pushed me to do the following research.
After winning EURO Cup 2008, different age-groups of Spain’s starting to create a phenomenon wave across Europe continent! First was the World Cup for the senior team last year, this year alone, Spain U-19 and Spain U-21 teams lifted the Champion trophies on foreign soils. Even the Spain Women U-17 lifted the UEFA Women Championship trophy recently!
Looking at the Spain U-21 team, they won 12 of their 15 games in the UEFA European U-21 championship campaign, drawing 2 and losing only 1 game to add on to the accolade. 7 players from the winning team were also picked by the UEFA Technical team to be featured in an All-Star squad of 23 players! That simply means the Spaniards already occupied one-third of the All-Star team!
Next, Spain U-19 scored an impressive average of 3 goals per game during the entire UEFA EURO U-19 championship campaign to being honored as European U-19 champion! Well, to provide you with another piece of amazing statistic, from this winning squad of 18 players, there are actually 11 players with the age of 18 and 17. In another word, this current European U-19 champion team has the depth and potential to capture yet another championship the following year! For the record, the Spanish has been crowned the U-19 champion the 8th time after another successful campaign at Romania last month. And out of these 8 times, the Spanish won 5 times between year 2002 – 2011. What does this indicate? To me, it shows that the Royal Spanish’s national youth setup is well in place and is producing all the greatest youths in this sporting arena.
Not to forget about the ladies, Spain Women’s U-17 success at the UEFA Women’s U-17 championship this year - it was a built-on success from year 2010 in which the Spanish was crowned the champion too.
Judging by all these amazing results, I couldn’t help but starting to google about their national youth setup. Ask any top coaches and they will tell you youth setup is one of the most important factors contributing to the success of a country or club. So what exactly happened in the Spanish’ camps which produce only winners with overflowing winning mentality? Or maybe I should ask what exactly happened in the country where even their top club, FC Barcelona, won the Champions League as well! Interviews were attempted but players from the Royal Spanish refused to reveal their philosophy and style of play. According to them, its secret.
To me, there’s definitely no secret. There’s definitely no short-cut to success than to groom and develop players from young. That includes getting the right coaches for the job, planning the best dietaries and cultivating the right mentality to the young players.
In all aspect, Singapore’s futbol development is still green but do not get me wrong, it’s better than not doing anything. With the COE (Centre of Excellence), Sports School and various futbol developing tied-up with the S-League clubs and schools, Singapore’s futbol is right on track. Great example, look at our young cubs’ achievement at the most recent concluded Lion City Cup. The came-back from behind to win against Newcastle Utd, the hard-fought draw against mighty brazilian’s Flamengo…. National pride and the desire to win from the cubs were deadly and contagious! I was at the Jalan Besar Stadium’s media stand watching how the cubs convinced all of us, fellow Singaporeans, that we do have a glimpse of hope with them especially after what our senior team failed to do on the international stage.
So long as proper training and the right futbol philosophy can be cultivated to these group of young players, the future of Singapore’s futbol still looks promising! And that also means the success of our domestic youth development setup!
Hey Spaniards, listen up, we are chasing you.