Interview with the Director of Valencia CF Academy, Luis Vicente Mateo

During our Technical Trip to Valencia in March 2018 we had the chance to meet at Ciudad Deportiva the Director of Valencia CF Academy, Luis Vicente Mateo.

Valencia combine football with education. "We educate people, we train footballers" is the club's philosophy as Valencia CF produce players with ethos and values who are promoted into the first team.

Luis Vicente Mateo analyses on camera the way the Valencia CF Academy works, the plan and the development of the young players until they move into the first squad.

On why the Valencia CF Academy is different than others: "There are many Academies in Spain and globally and all of them work on football. However, since five years there has been a big change in the structure of our Academy. So, if there is a difference is that here we focus tremendously on the development of every player from a very young age so that he will learn the identity of this club. This club is different because of the history and the structure."

On the importance of believing in the talent of these young players from Valencia CF Academy: "It's very important for the first team. There are local players who feel so much for this club and they want to play at Mestalla and make their debut with Valencia CF. These players are important for those who are coming from abroad as well. The local players can explain them everything around Valencia CF."

On the plan of developing the young players in Valencia CF Academy: "We aim our young players to get better and better according to their age. In the very young ages we want to make them understand the technical abilities. So, when they become 11, 12, 13 years old, their coach will be able to teach them tactics and collective game. The age plays an important role. The methodology is very specific."

On the activities the Valencia CF Academy provides to the young players outside football: "Our most important program is the educative one. It's very important for a young player not to play only football. Because if he wants to reach a high level he needs to be a good person, to study, to have hobbies and make the right decisions. We want to see our players being smart not only at football, but in their education and to have a normal life. Because not all of them will play football professionally. So through our educational program we try to give to every child another option as well if they don't become football players."

On when a young player can make the step into the first team: "For us there is a combination between the Academy and the first team. The first team needs to get players who are ready to play in the highest level. So there is a lot conversation and collaboration. But there are players who are 17, 18 or 19 years old who train with the first squad. Ferran Torres for instance, who is 18-year-old. He is a first team player and he has already made his debut in Primera Division. Gaya, Lato, Gil, Vidal and now Ferran are an example for the kids who come from behind on what is going on in this club. Because they have seen these players who have come through our Academy playing in the first team."

On the talent in South East Europe and the Academies in this region: "There is so much talent in the countries of South East Europe. There are many footballers from these countries who have reached the elite and they have played in the biggest leagues. For me it is a project we need to improve a lot because it's new and it has got great room for improvement in order to develop with the way we want and to start producing talents who could join Valencia CF Academy soon."

You can watch the full interview of Valencia CF Academy Director, Luis Vicente Mateo by clicking here.

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