Football has always been associated to principles that go beyond just sports. Making friends, competing and learning are the bases of any football academy and Villarreal CF's is one of the leading academies in the country. The Yellows Academy is not only recognised for its sporting results, but also for the atmosphere that favours the growth of its players off the pitch.
One team that perfectly represents these values of Villarreal is Alevín F - of the U11 age group - coached by Ángel Valerio and Adam Badenes. The young side compete in Group 3 of the 'Alevín de 1º Año' from the province of Castellón, and is characterised by strong ties of friendship which unites each member of the team. "We've made the group feel like a family. There's a time for everything. They know when it's time to laugh and when it's time to focus. We never have problems, but should there be a disagreement, we always solve it by speaking, and then they shake hands," said Valerio.
What's more, the coaching staff know how to motivate the young players through a number of objectives with rewards. One of those aims is for every 20 points they get, the coaching staff invite the players out to eat. A simple gesture that helps the family feeling that exists among the players. "The boys like it a lot and it helps to motivate them. It helps them laugh, have a good time, become closer and get to know each other better. It also helps us get closer to them," explained Valerio.
A very competitive side
On the pitch, Alevín F are a very competitive team, they never switch off and always fight to win - which is something that can be seen in their results. The majority of their games have been decided by small details or luck. Concentration and intensity are two values that are the base of the Yellows Academy side. Valerio added. "We've focused on becoming a block, to try and balance the strongest areas with the weakest. Whenever we make a substitution, the team isn't weakened, so it's easy for us. We've made it clear that it is hard to beat us."
Finally, the side coached by Valerio and Badenes has started the second half of the season with the same aims as the first half of the season, which are to enjoy themselves and compete. Despite the strong competition and quality of their opponents, the young side have known how to earn their place in the table. Valerio is clear as to what their aim is ahead of the rest of the campaign: "We want them to forget about the results. We want them to compete as best they can, and to strengthen as much as possible. With hard work and commitment they are going to improve, and there will definitely be evolution and progression."
Coaching staff: Ángel Valerio, Adam Badenes.
Players: Ianis Aionei, Alejandro Halabi, Ioan Nicolás, Jordi Orenga, Joaquín Yuxuan, Joan Espel, Hugo Jornet, Héctor López, Alexandru Mihai, Vicente Yuhao, Leo García, César Jorquera, Óscar Martínez, Manel Trenco, Diego Zirio.