Academies has been an important topic amongst youth football over the past few years and just as new technology has been at the forefront of the ever-evolving world of football with information being shared between clubs the same is true about Academies. Last week, Patrick van Leeuwen, Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Performance Director attended a special ECA conference concerning this matter, as the body representing the interests of association football clubs in UEFA have looked to continue to explore this subject matter in much more depth.
Van Leeuwen, along with representatives from Juventus, Sporting Lisbon, Olympiakos along with other top clubs in Europe were selected to be part of a team assembled to establish a list of standards that will form the basis for any Club that wants to build or analyze their Academy. “A lot of the conference was spent discussing Academy standards in European countries. We want to ensure that the Academies will be at the highest professional levels and for them not to just say that they have an Academy. We want to really make sure that the coaches and players have the best facilities in order from them to develop to the best of their abilities.”
About what Maccabi Tel Aviv will gain van Leeuwen said: “As part of the cross sharing of information, I hope that we will be able to receive reports that we will be able to use at Maccabi’s Academy and then be able to compare ourselves and our performance standards to the biggest and best clubs in Europe.” The Performance Director continued to discuss the differences between the perception of Academies in Israel to those from abroad: “From what I understand, for the most part in Israel, Academies don’t have the highest demands compared to other clubs in Holland, Germany, Spain and others where there are ratings and various levels of their Academy’s training facilities, performance and investment. Maccabi is currently having some challenges in developing the training facilities, but we are going in the right direction.”