4 maio 2005 - 2h29

Leia texto de Albert sobre o Atlético em inglês

Na notícia imediatamente anterior, publicamos a versão em língua portuguesa do artigo escrito pelo técnico norte-americano Al Albert sobre o Atlético. Albert esteve em Curitiba em novembro, quando conheceu a estrutura do Rubro-negro. De volta aos Estados Unidos, ele escreveu um texto para a NCSAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America), entidade que realizará um congresso no CT do Caju na próxima semana. Confira o texto em sua versão original (em língua inglesa), publicado no "Soccer Journal" da NCSAA:

Previewing the 2005 International Course – A look at the host site in Curitiba, Brazil
por Al Albert

It is often said that if you want to find soccer players, go to Brazil. More Brazilians play professional soccer outside their country than any other nationality (more than 800 last year). More Brazilians play in the Champions League than any other nationality. While on business in Brazil in November, I had a chance to do a site inspection of the facilities the NSCAA will use for its International Premier Course in May. What I discovered was a true gem in the south of this enormous South American nation.

A popular misconception is that Brazilian clubs have tons of raw talent but don’t develop players as professionally as European counterparts such as Manchester United, Ajax and Real Madrid. This may be true for some of the well-known clubs in the Western Hemisphere, but I found just the opposite at Club Atletico Paranaense (CAP) in Curitiba.

Ten years ago, the leaders of this 80-year-old club decided that, with a plan, they could move into the top echelon of South American soccer. Prior to the 21st century, the club won the second division and advanced to the top division of the Brazilian League. They had won numerous state and regional trophies, but had not done much at the national level against the big clubs from Sao Paulo and Rio.

CAP began its move by erecting one of the nicest stadiums on the continent on the site of their previous facility. The design is European, modeled after one built a few years prior at PSV Eindhoven. Its capacity will soon grow from 24,000 to 32,000. Not only a magnificent place to watch a game, it has a large supporters shop, an excellent restaurant and plans for a second VIP club restaurant overlooking the field, and numerous skyboxes with modern amenities. The field is used only for first team matches (about 40 a year) and is in mint condition.

The club then purchased a resort about 15 minutes outside town and developed a top flight training facility for not only their pro players, but also their youth teams. More than 100 players train daily on five full-size pitches, from the full pros down to the U-15’s. One of the fields is a 3000-seat stadium where the youth teams play home matches. The spacious indoor facilities include meeting rooms, classrooms, computer lab, chapel, two dining rooms, laundry, weight room, medical support for doctor and dentist and several locker rooms. The outdoor facilities include a training area with a large concrete wall, a rehab area for physical training, full size swimming pool, basketball court, five-a-side field and a sand court for futsal.

The main building can house more than 100 people at a time and is home for some of the single pros and almost all the youth players. There also is room for trialists who are continually coming and going and international youth players who are sent by their clubs for training. A second lodging facility and a covered training area are planned in the near future, as well as three more full size practice fields.

In terms of programming and staff, the club is led by two Ph.D.s in exercise science and human physiology. They preplan each team’s programming for workload, nutrition and psychology. Each team receives the same support from two coaches, physiotherapist, equipment man and team doctor.

The youth players take classes at night and are encouraged to finish their education, something not required by law in Brazil. The 42 full-time staff at the training center are an extended family, along with the pro team, raising the youth players, who primarily are poor kids who have left their homes to pursue the dream of playing professional soccer.

It is no accident that CAP sold Kleberson to Manchester United last year for $16 million. They are poised to win the league, even after selling their best player, and again probably will sell their best player, Washington, the league scoring leader. Their substantial investment in the youth player development will produce plenty more stars in the future.

Eighteen non-residential academies constantly feed youth players into their residential system. At present, 12 of the 30 professionals at the club were youth players – six of those are starters. Twelve CAP players are on various national teams from the full team down to U-15’s.

There is complete vertical integration in CAP’s team infrastructure. The younger pro players will play anywhere from the first team down to the U-17 side. Younger players from the U-15’s frequently move up and play for the U-17 team, and U-17’s for the U-20’s. With more than 80 matches for the first team next season (sometimes as many as three games in a week), the club has to be prepared to field almost two separate teams. The juniors will fill gaps in many of those games.

Winning is important at CAP, but players at all the levels spend a lot of time on pure technical training, using a variety of exercises and training venues. There is a premium attached to developing the “special” player, and the club has no lack of them at any age group.

I hope someday our MLS teams will take charge of their future by establishing similar setups. It will be the lifeblood of MLS for its teams to develop their own talent, so that even when a player is sold to the giants of Europe, the quality and integrity of the league is not affected. I have seen no better example to emulate than Clube Atletico Paranaense.

Al Albert é terceiro vice-presidente da NCSAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America ou Associação Americana de Treinadores de Futebol) e dirigente do Tribe Club, da Virgínia.

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