While the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on football is most easily seen at the professional level, the knock-on effects have been felt all the way down to the grass roots level. It’s been no different for Villarreal—the Villarreal Academy program, which was in full swing, abruptly stopped with lockdown—but now, the academies are beginning to reopen.
Villarreal North Texas Academy has already started holding player tryouts. Villarreal Force Academy (Fayetteville, NC) will be holding tryouts over the June 15-25 period, with specific days for specific age groups. Villarreal Nebraska Academy will be holding tryouts starting July 2nd.
Villarreal Virginia and Villarreal NY Bolaños haven’t confirmed dates yet, but hopefully soon.
Of course there are some differences from the usual. Normally Villarreal coaches fly out to observe the tryouts in person and work with the coaching staff, and that just isn’t possible right now. Villarreal will be offering online support instead, and coaches will be watching the tryouts on video. I believe it is two players from each academy who will be selected for a Player Training Week in Vila-real (I assume that will happen in the fall), and two others will be selected for an online player development program session.
It’s important to remember that the Villarreal academies are not just about football—they’re about far more than that. This article on the Villarreal Nebraska website (“VNA, Why We Keep Going”) explains the Villarreal philosophy, and the need for the academies in this unprecedented time, very well.
Here’s hoping that before long all the youngsters are back to playing and developing their skills, both for the football pitch and for life. Endavant!!