Local Sports

LaLiga Academy UAE ready to deliver another successful season

rituraj@khaleejtimes.com Filed on September 22, 2020
The most promising teams from the academy would continue to get opportunities to play with La Liga youth clubs in Spain

Head coach Jose Mario Zarco also spoke on the Covid measures the academy has taken to keep the young players and the coaching staff safe amid the pandemic

The LaLiga Academy UAE launched its new season last month with the aim of producing top players.

Jose Mario Zarco, the academy's head coach, revealed that the most promising teams from the academy would continue to get opportunities to play with La Liga youth clubs in Spain.

During an interview with Khaleej Times, Zarco also spoke on the Covid measures the academy has taken to keep the young players and the coaching staff safe amid the pandemic.

LaLiga Academy UAE has started the 2020/2021 season. How different things are going to be considering we are in the new normal for sports post Covid-19?

Designed by the strongest league in the world and delivering the highest standards of Spanish football training to youth across the UAE, LaLiga Academy is the only official Academy in the UAE. We are committed to providing superior football training executed to the Spanish league's highest standards and with the same methodology that has developed the world's best football players. As part of our overall strategy, we align and quickly adapt ourselves to situations on the ground while ensuring that the same level of training is delivered to our students.

LaLiga Academy UAE ready to deliver another successful season (KT26092922.JPG)

LaLiga UAE academy students pose with former Real Madrid striker Fernando Morientes

With this in mind, a few months ago, we kicked off LaLiga Academy Online, our online training program firmly in line with the safety guidelines and policies of the UAE sports and health authorities to fight against the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

Today, we are indeed delighted to be back on the pitch with our players while adhering to the safety norms, limitations and restrictions in the number of players allowed for practice and training on the field. As we welcome the start of the new 2020/2021 season, we are taking additional precautionary measures to ensure the safety of all our players and their families.

While we continue to put in place a robust approach for a safe environment, it is worth mentioning here that it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to ensure that all appropriate steps and measures are being undertaken and likewise followed rigorously every day, that will enable us to have a risk free atmosphere to play sports in an uninterrupted manner.

What are the safety measures taken by the academy?

While continuing to maintain the highest levels of health and hygiene for our students and their families, in line with strict guidelines and safety measures declared by the UAE sports and health authorities, we also ensure that our facilities are thoroughly sterilized and players are subjected to temperature checks before the training as well as making sure that to limit the number of players in line with the guidelines set by the sports authorities.

You are moving into the Dubai Sports City. Tell us a bit about it? Is it on par with the best of the facilities in Europe?

We are indeed delighted to be moving to Dubai Sports City. With its new home at Dubai Sports City, we are very excited to continue our legacy of delivering LaLiga Academy's world-class training methodology to young football enthusiasts across the UAE.

Indeed, LaLiga Academy's presence at Dubai Sports City with facilities on par with the best in Europe, will surely help us in delivering outstanding training and development programs to our players while also allowing us to expand our reach in the UAE.

Our programme is open to boys and girls aged 4-17. We pride ourselves on having a team of highly qualified LaLiga UEFA certified coaches who have a thorough understanding of football and we focus on player development within the context of the team. We have a clear development pathway for our players with our High Performance Teams receiving training in line with their counterparts in Spain.

LaLiga Academy UAE ready to deliver another successful season (KT26093922.JPG)

Jose Mario Zarco, the academy's head coach, interacting with students

What are the new programmes introduced by the La Liga Academy for the new season?

This year, we are rolling out some exciting programs which will enable us to  measure the progress of our players including the use of cutting-edge software that has been specially created for LaLiga youth teams. 

Furthermore, there are many innovative tools and techniques that are new and unique to our comprehensive training programme and we will continue to give our players the feedback and analysis that will help them grow as all-rounder football players with focus on their physical, technical development as well as their football intelligence.

Like in the past, will the best students get a chance to train with the La Liga clubs?

Select players from our High Performance Teams will continue to have the opportunity to travel to Spain, of course in line with the guidelines related to travel, youth football and safety. 

Our Spain scouting camp has historically taken place in August every year and this is an opportunity for our players to experience the level of training and commitment that goes along with playing in keeping with high professional standards. 

LaLiga Academy UAE ready to deliver another successful season (KT26094922.JPG)

The academy has been moved to the Dubai Sports City

During this camp, our teams receive extensive training and they play against the top youth teams from LaLiga. This is indeed a true test of their development throughout the season and a unique opportunity to be seen and invited for trials by LaLiga Clubs. In addition, the camp is considered as our pre-season from which players can re-assess their personal development and identify the areas they can continue to improve during the new season. 

For us as coaches, it's a great opportunity to witness our players potential as well as guide them towards their goals of either playing pro-football in their future careers or obtaining soccer scholarships in the US.


Rituraj Borkakoty

A big fan of the Argentina national football team, Rituraj generally writes on sports. But he deeply cherishes the time he spent with his favourite musician from Assam, India, for an interview. And he loves to bring human interest stories to Khaleej Times readers.

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