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La Liga feature: The future is bright at Valencia

Valencia

Bengaluru, October 16: Valencia CF have a virtuous cycle at their academy, as the success stories of each year group inspire the next generation of youngsters and convince them that Paterna is the place to be.

Thanks to the various world-class footballers coming through Valencia's academy, the future is bright at Mestalla.

From key Spain internationals such as Jose Gaya and Carlos Soler to emerging teenage talents like Koba Koindredi, Yunus Musah, Hugo Guillamon, Uros Racic, Toni Lato, Valencia have 12 homegrown players representing their first team in La Liga in 2021-22 nowadays and this gives Los Che a unique identity.

Of the homegrown players to have made at least one of Joss Bordalas' match-day squads over the first seven rounds of the new La Liga campaign, nine of these players are aged 23 or younger.

That clear pathway between the academy and first team is one of the primary reasons why Valencia, along with Real Sociedad, have the joint-youngest average age of all La Liga sides in the 2021-22 season, at 24.7 years.

Academy's success

Academy's success

According to Valencia Academy general director Sean Bai, these first-team opportunities are an intrinsic part of the academy's success.

With potential recruits seeing a pathway to opportunities in La Liga, they too want to come and train at the facilities at Paterna.

Soler makes his mark

Soler makes his mark

The success stories of current players like Gaya and Soler really help with this process, as do those of other academy graduates, even those who eventually moved on to other clubs over the years, such as Jordi Alba, Isco, Alcacer, David Silva, Albelda, Albiol or Ferran Torres.

Valencia's academy scouts do an excellent job in terms of recruiting special players from within the Valencian Community and also from other regions of Spain and even from abroad, as has been the case with some recent high-profile graduates like Yunus Musah or Kang-in Lee.

Gaya, a revelation!

Gaya, a revelation!

And no matter if the player comes from the Valencian Community or abroad, cause the talent and resilience finally appear in Paterna, as Bai explains. "Our captain, Gaya, when he was much younger, he would travel, every day, for 200kms from his home to come here for training. That's a commitment that set him apart from everybody else and for all the rest of the players is exactly the same.

"For Yunus Musah, when he first came in from Arsenal, he was in our Under-19 team, but he didn't ask why he wasn't playing in the first or second team. He was there, he was ready to take advantage of the opportunity to continue competing, growing, developing and when the opportunity came, he was ready, when the US national team came, he was ready."

Solid structure

Solid structure

As well as giving Valencia a competitive edge in La Liga, their world-class academy has also earned the club acclaim across the globe. The CIES Football Observatory, a renowned football data research organisation, has regularly highlighted the positive results of Los Che's football school.

At home and abroad, the players who form part of Valencia's academy know that there is a solid structure in place and that this is a club where it is possible to progress. There are no barriers to the first team at Valencia, where rising stars will always be given a chance to show what they can do at La Liga level.

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Story first published: Saturday, October 16, 2021, 10:47 [IST]
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