The Yellows once more won LaLiga Promises, and normality returned to Miralcamp
The Yellows Academy ends 2021 with the pride of having carried out a great job on a sporting level, without losing sight of the values and the methodology that characterise it. The success of the men’s first team, who won their first-ever title, the UEFA Europa League, in Gdansk, and the women’s first team’s promotion to the top flight of Spanish football are not the only successes for the Yellows this year.
Among the main achievements for the Yellows’ youth set-up, winning the LaLiga Promises competition for the third time stands out. Villarreal won the 2020 edition, which took place in 2020, with their U13s, who beat Sevilla FC 2-0 in the final. The last time the Yellows won the U12 tournament was in 2016 against Atlético de Madrid. Four editions later, the Submarine were able to repeat that achievement, confirming the Yellows Academy as one of the leading youth set-ups in Spain.
The main academy team, Villarreal B, also had an impressive year. Last season, they sealed their place in the newly-formed Primera RFEF, in which they have finished the calendar year in second place, just one point behind Albacete, but with a. game in hand.
Villarreal C and the U19s (Juvenil A) also had great 2020/21 campaigns. Villarreal C, led by Miguel Ángel Tena before he was replaced by Igor Tasevski when he was named Villarreal director of football, finished fourth in the girst stage of the season, but were finally unable to seal promotion to Segunda RFEF. The team, now managed by Pere Martí, are continuing to compete well in Tercera RFEF. The U19s came close to winning the División de Honor title they had lifted in the two previous campaigns.
Both teams have a number of players who make up the UEFA Youth League team, which has qualified for the play-offs to the Round of 16. Martí’s side will face AZ Alkmaar, the Dutch national champions, in a one-legged tie away from home to try and get into the best 16 U19 teams in Europe. They finished second in their group, just like the first team, behind Manchester United and ahead of Atalanta and Young Boys.
Villarreal’s youth set-up also had ten league champions in 2020/21. Mini C, Mini B, Mini A, Benjamín C, Benjamín B, Benjamín A, Alevín Femenino, Alevín C, Alevín B and Alevín A. The Alevín A side also took part in LaLiga Promises 2021, but were knocked out by Sevilla FC, who finished runners-up, in the Round of 16.
New affiliated clubs and the return of Primer Toque
During the current calendar year, Villarreal CF managed to expand its youth football brand throughout Spain, with UCD La Cañada Atlético and Escola de Futbol Gavà becoming part of the affiliated clubs in the formative programme of youngsters organised by the Yellows. During the month of November, the club renewed ties with other clubs it was already working with, such as Benicarló CF, CE Vila d’Onda and UD Vall de Uxó, with Primer Toque CF also rejoining the alliance after having previously worked with the Yellows for five seasons.
During the past campaign, the club also lanched new academies in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and Russia, as well as working with the Juan Manuel Peña Soccer School in Bolivia, led by the former Yellows defender. And at the start of this current season, the club announced the opening of a new academy in Israel, Villarreal Israel Academy.
The team with intellectual disabilities ended last season in Tarragona
Another great piece of news from 2021 was the return to action of the team with intellectual disabilities, known in Spanish as EDI. In an event which took place in Tarragona in November, the Yellows won the three games which they played and ended a season which, the previous year, had been postsponed by the pandemic.
A tribute to a decade in yellow
During the month of April, Villarreal had a traditional ceremony in the Estadio de la Cerámica, hosted by Fernando Roig, paying tribute to the hard work and passion of 13 players who in 2021 reached a decade in Yellow.
Among the prize-winners was first-team player, Jaume Costa, along with the following 12 players who also received the distinguished award from the club: Sergio Lozano (Villarreal B), Yolanda Palomino (Villarreal Women) Albeta López (Villarreal Women), Laura Jarque (Villarreal Women B), Héctor Contreras (Villarreal U19s), Ángel Sánchez (Villarreal U17s), Xavier Capdevila (Villarreal U17s), Santi Mulet (Villarreal U17s), Héctor Rodríguez (Villarreal U15s), Iván Tasevski (Villarreal U15s), Fernando Broch (Villarreal U15s) and Alba López (Villarreal Women U16s).
The Training Ground reopened
Without a doubt, one of the most positive pieces of news of 2021 was returning to see people in the stands after some of the toughest moments of the pandemic. It happened in May, when fans returned to the Estadio de la Cerámica to enjoy the game against Sevilla (4-0), however it also happened at the Villarreal CF Training Ground (Ciudad Deportiva). In October, Villarreal CF opened Miralcamp up to family members and people accompanying youth players, so they could attend training sessions and matches at the training ground.