Mumbai: As part of an initiative by EA SPORTS' FC FUTURES to promote a global football community and build women’s football, India’s Kajol Dsouza will join the Laliga Academy in Madrid on a full scholarship to learn under the Laliga Methodology and international school, alongside some of the best youth soccer coaches in the world.
Evaluated by the Laliga Sports project department, the international high-performance football program at the ESC Laliga & NBA centre will host 80 players across 40 different nations, doubling from the 36 players across 24 nations in the previous year. Having passed the admission process which analyzes areas of technical, tactical, physical, psychological, sporting & academic records, Kajol will study in Madrid from 1st September 2023 to 30 June 2024.
Offering players, the opportunity to compete against different Spanish clubs throughout the country and participate in non-federated national & international tournaments, the program will ensure a weekly academic load of 30 hours throughout the program duration. Including all aspects of training, competition, school tuition, medical, and accommodation fees, selected talent will be provided with the best tools and opportunities to succeed in both personal & professional growth.
A trainee of the Laliga Football Schools (LLFS), Kajol is a member of the LLFS centre in Pune and has also represented India at the historic FIFA Under -17 Women’s World Cup. Launched in 2018 as a joint project byLaliga and India on Track, the theLaliga Football Schools initiative helps in the development of the game in India through LALIGA methodology & technical knowledge of the game.
Speaking about her acceptance into the program, Kajol Dsouza said: “I’m thrilled and grateful to have been given this opportunity by Laliga. To represent India at the Laliga Academy in Spain is a moment of great humility for me and my family and I wish to thank Laliga Football Schools for the foundation that has enabled me to reach here. My goal is to soak and learn the game from the best minds in football & continue to bring more attention to women’s football in India.”
Laliga Academy head Francisco Javier Hernández points out: "We are very satisfied with the success of the Laliga Academy programs: this season we will have twice as many teams and twice as many players than last year, which shows that there are many athletes who see this program as the best opportunity for sporting and personal growth. The fact of being able to open the first women's soccer team is also a milestone in the program, which we hope will continue to help promote women's grassroots soccer globally”.
Laliga Sports Projects head Juan Florit highlighted: “All of the Laliga Academy coaches have been selected and trained specifically for this project through an exhaustive and rigorous process. From day one, the four teams will train under the Laliga Methodology, whose main guidelines and fundamentals represent the work models of the Laliga EA SPORTS and Laliga Hypermotion clubs' own youth academies, and major international benchmarks. Pillars such as the integral development of the player, the improvement and individual optimization of performance or the cognitive capacity and comprehension of the game will be the focus of the training process, directed in each team by a coach, an assistant coach, a physical trainer, a goalkeeping coach and an analyst; all with the ultimate goal of offering the player all the necessary tools to reach their maximum potential, both on and off the pitch.”
LALIGA Academy: new era, new name
LALIGA's initiative to promote global grassroots football was born in 2021, under the name LALIGA Grassroots. Rebranded to LALIGA Academy from this season onwards, the umbrella project encompasses the long and short-term programs developed at the ESC Laliga & NBA Center in Madrid, as well as all those developed internationally. Globally, there are more than 650 projects in more than 50 countries to date, with over 200,000 male and female players having already passed through these programs, and more than 22,000 local coaches being trained.