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WED 06 APR 2022 | FOOTBALL PROJECTS
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Young football talents from North America land in Spain to train with LaLiga
  • LaLiga Select, launched in 2021 by LaLiga North America in partnership with specialist agency ISL, is the first official scouting programme in North America to be promoted by an international football institution.
  • A total of 118 players, aged between 13 and 19, have been selected by coaches and scouts from LaLiga Grassroots out of over 12,000 participants across a total of 14 events since the launch of the initiative.

LaLiga Select, a talent spotting and development programme launched in 2021 by LaLiga North America in partnership with ISL Agency, landed in Spain in March to train 118 young players from the USA and Canada. The players, aged between 13 and 19, were selected by LaLiga Grassroots scouts from a total of 12,000 participants across 14 events and tournaments in locations such as Texas, New York and Las Vegas (Nevada) since the start of the programme in January 2021.

The players, divided into 7 teams, have spent 10 days in Madrid preparing intensively with LaLiga coaches for a series of matches with youth teams from Atlético de Madrid, Rayo Vallecano, Getafe CF, CF Fuenlabrada and CD Leganés. They have also played against two other famous clubs from the region (Rayo Majadahonda and Unión Adarve) and have trained with Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid in their training centres.

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“This project is a pillar of our strategy to support the growth of football in the US and complements our other activities in the country. The USA is the second largest country in the world in terms of the number of registered football players, with more than 4 million, so LaLiga's commitment to identifying and developing talent has great potential for growth,” says Boris Gartner, CEO of LaLiga North America.

“These programmes help to create a framework of opportunities for growth, visibility and improved competition level for these players. One of the key factors is the level of the coaches who have worked with them over the past few days: we have selected 8 UEFA Pro coaches who have international, as well as experience in academies of LaLiga clubs. They have all been trained in our methodology, which includes many of the elements that have made the clubs' youth academies a reference point internationally,” says Juan Florit, head of Sports Projects at LaLiga Grassroots.  

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“After many months of work in North America (United States and Canada), we are very proud to see how LaLiga Select is moving towards its final goal. The selected players have shown an excellent level during their stay in Spain, demonstrating the potential of the American talent. We hope to soon see some of these players excel at the highest level and consolidate the programme on a global scale,” says Alex Isern, CEO of ISL Agency.

Scholarships to train with LaLiga clubs

During their stay in Madrid, the coaches and officials from LaLiga Grassroots have monitored the 118 players to select the best in each age category. These players will receive a scholarship to train for a period of time with a LaLiga club's youth academy.

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In addition, some of the players are also expected to have the opportunity to complete part of their training with LaLiga Academy or LaLiga Talents, the long-term academic-sports programmes to be hosted by the new ESC Madrid Centre. The ESC Centre is LaLiga's grassroots football hub that will open its doors in the summer of 2022 and will also host these new LaLiga Grassroots programmes for international players in the Spanish capital.

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