RCD Espanyol de Barcelona opens the first football academy of a LaLiga club in South Africa

TOP LaLiga side RCD Espanyol has announced the opening of their football academy in Johannesburg, the largest and most populous city in South Africa, becoming the first LaLiga club to open a football training centre in the country. 

The academy will come into operation this weekend when it hosts its first trials for male and female footballers from the ages of 8 to 18 at St Stithians in Bryanston on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 April 2022 and on Saturday 30 April and Sunday 1 May 2022.

Trials are FREE to participate for all footballers and registration is at 08h30, with the first trials starting at 10h00.

Acccoring to the club, the Espanyol academy will be aimed at developing and training the talent of South African players and coaches according to the philosophy and method of the Blue and Whites’ club. This is the 11th academy that RCD Espanyol has opened. 

The club said start-up of this academy in South Africa represents an opportunity for local young players and coaches, as well as for RCD Espanyol to gain a foothold in South Africa for the development of football in the country. This stable project, in addition to being an important Cantera (internal feeder team) for RCD Espanyol, is also an opportunity to attract new talent and position the club as a global brand, thus expanding its growth and impact. 

The project has been developed along with local partner IBERCUP, an expert in the youth football sector, responsible for hosting LaLiga Camps around the country and the Ibercup International Youth Football Tournament, a household name in South African football. 

“This partnership is a milestone for youth football in South Africa and we are proud to be the first company to achieve this in South Africa. More importantly, RCD Espanyol will provide us with the full support of their coaches, who will visit us and train our coaches to find the best talent the country has to offer irrespective of their socio-economic standing. The RCDE Academy is committed to providing as many talented disadvantaged players as possible with a full sponsorship, including their kit, transport and educational opportunities,” said Michael Bender, the CEO of Ibercup and CEO of the RCD Espanyol Academy JHB.

Joan Capdevila, a former Espanyol Academy graduate and LaLiga and Spanish national team legend, who made 60 appearances for Spain and played every minute of Spain’s 2010 FIFA World Cup triumph on South African soil, will travel to South Africa shortly for the official launch of the RCD Espanyol Academy JHB.

“We are looking forward to welcoming Joan Capdevila, a former Espanyol Academy player and FIFA World Cup Champion with Spain in 2010, back to South Africa, and together we hope to make an impact that will start to change the landscape of opportunity for our youth through football,” added Bender.

The academy has secured the partnership of local brand Vumatel as the headline sponsor of the academy for the next five years. 

“Vumatel are extremely excited to be partnering in this fantastic initiative that aligns with our brand strategy to provide life changing opportunities for our youth. The RCD Espanyol Academy, its value system and the IBERCUP team have provided us with a perfect platform to continue contributing to our society as a company and we look forward to watching this grow over the next five years,” said Lianne Williams, Marketing Executive of Vumatel.

The methodology of the RCD Espanyol academies are: values, game and learning model. RCD Espanyol was a pioneer in the international academy sector by opening its first centre in 2014. The Club currently has 11 academies, all of which work under the club’s Blue and White philosophy. 

With an average number of 250 students in each centre, the RCD Espanyol academies have their own teaching method that combines values (both on and off the pitch), the Blue and White game model, and its own learning model. With this line, the club creates the appropriate context, knowing the environment of the students and understanding the players. 

On this foundation, RCD Espanyol de Barcelona fosters football talent, while creating flexible and adaptable players and coaches, both in life and in the game.

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