Today’s post is brought to you from “The Moon”. I hope you enjoy it.
Of course by “The Moon” I mean Fiorentina’s training facility for their U13 – U15 age categories. This is the name affectionately (or not so much) given to the training surface that players and coaches here have to endure throughout the long, cold, wet Winter months.
As you can see from the video clip, where Mirko’s U14 (2004) lads are playing an 8 v 8 game, the surface is more akin to a mud bath than a football pitch. In the warmer months it morphs into a dusty desert that is brutally hard and hurts like heck when you fall on it.
So, as you can see, it is not all roses here in Italy as far as youth football is concerned. Boys do not necessarily have everything laid on for them and more often than not, they have to put up with less than ideal training facilities and conditions. In spite of everything, the 3 hours bus rides to and from training, the poor facilities, the lads truck on and give it their absolute best.
I have always maintained that in many respects players back in New Zealand have some huge advantages over players here in Italy and other parts of Europe. The fact that physical education is still an important part of the curriculum back in New Zealand, means that our kids are better prepared physically from a younger age, in terms of general coordination and well being, to play football. This is something that both Simone and Mirko maintain is a major setback here in Italy as they are now seeing boys enter their environments who lack basic movement and coordination abilities.
We also have public playing fields galore which are available for use all year round. Here in Italy, space is at a premium, so there are very little, if any playing fields available to kids to play and explore movement in their formative years.
Therefore, we can either choose to continue to make excuses and point the finger as to why we are failing at international level, or we can start to demand excellence from our young players and settle for nothing but their absolute best. We choose the latter, because only by raising our own standards and demanding more from our young players, will they be able to reach their full potential. The benchmark for Top Flight Football Academy therefore, will always be the standards set by coaches here in Italy for their young players. Because if we expect anything less, that is exactly what we will get.
Till next time.
Share this Post