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The U12s, with an unforgettable year ahead of them
The U12s, with an unforgettable year ahead of them

The Yellows go into a special season which will end with LaLiga Promises before stepping up to 11-a-side football

Villarreal’s U12s (Alevín A) are deep in their league season in their last ever campaign in 8-a-side football. The boys, coached by Hodei Jiménez and Iván Molés know the importance of this season in terms of their footballing and personal development, and give their all in every training session.

“For us, every one of the games we go into is a challenge, and we never think about the opposition based on their name or where they are in the table. We always try and carry out our game plan and hope our players give their all,” explained Jiménez, while his colleague Molés added that: “It’s the best way of making each match count for our players to improve each week.”

Currently, the U12s, top of their league with a number of wins, have become the team to beat in the competitive ‘Liga Preferente’ division. Their players, however, know that each match is an opportunity to improve: “I think that we always need to stay humble, so we always have the utmost respect for the opposition we come up against. At the end of the day, our opponents help us improve as players and as people and that’s the aim of the academy,” stated Jimenez.

Regarding their aims of the season, the coaching staff know the Yellows Academy’s methodology and way of working :”We’ve always been clear that we are forming people, and you can never forget that. We hope that these players stay at Villarreal for a number of years, which is the main aim of the club,” underlines Molés. To do that: “We have short-term objectives which help our players’ progression and evolution while they are with us. We don’t renounce anything related to the sports side, so we try and make the team dominate all aspects of the game. We consider that we have a great group and we have chances of competing against any team,” underlined Jiménez.

The highlight of the year will be taking part in LaLiga Promises, where the Yellows will once more face some of the best academies from Spain: “It’s always a special tournament, but it doesn’t stop being an experience that our players can use to continue their development. Thanks to being part of Villarreal, we can participate in tournaments with teams that demand the most of you, and during the year, I’m sure we’ll enjoy a lot of high-competition moments,” added Jiménez.

“Managing emotions in tournaments like that add a different difficulty to the learning-teaching process which we have with them, as there are situations that we cannot simulate, which, we are grateful for,” added Molés.

After the competition which will take place once more at the Pamesa Training Ground (Ciudad Deportiva Pamesa), this group of players will step up to 11-a-side football, one of the biggest steps in youth football. “Evidently, it’s a step that needs the adaptation of the players with regards to various essential elements of the game, such as spaces, the ball and the goal size, but to do that, from time-to-time, we play various 11-a-side friendlies, which help the learning process from 7-a-side to 8-a-side football to 11-a-side football, and we make the step in a more progressive way,” said Jiménez.

Of course, the youngsters continue to look up to the numerous academy graduates who are having success in the first team, such as Yeremy Pino and Pau Torres, and try and emulate them. “First-team players are always role models for our boys, and although we know that reaching their level is difficult, we’re working to try and form new Villarreal players in the future. It helps generate the feeling of belonging to Villarreal,” underlines Molés, who concludes that it is impossible to do so without “hard work, consistency and humbleness.”