Trio living up to Spain’s high standards
By Colin Thompson in Barcelona
Three promising young Bermudians are living up to the high standards in place at the World Sport Academy UE Cornellá Residency Programme in Barcelona.
Kane Crichlow, Antonio Carvelho and Blaiz Hall have stepped up their game — both technically and tactically — since joining the academy which is regarded among the best in Europe.
The trio are all registered locally with Bermuda Athletic Association.
Crichlow, who has been involved in the academy for the past three years, has really impressed the coaching staff.
“Kane has amazing technical skills and he is a very smart player,” Didac Rodríguez González, the academy’s managing director and former Atlético Madrid winger, said. “He can use both peripherals and both feet, and technically I could say he’s the best in the programme.
“When he arrived the problem was tactically and in the decision-making area. He improved a lot and is choosing the best decision in each situation.
“He is three times more competitive than when he came. I think he is a very talented player and has real possibilities to play professionally.”
Crichlow, 14, earned a runner’s up medal with Cornellá’s Under-14B team after losing 1-0 against Barcelona at last summer’s Catalan Football Federation Championships.
Also making strides at the academy are Carvelho, 14, and Hall, 13.
“Blaiz has an amazing one-on-one situation,” González said. “His dribbling is very good and he is very fast. He plays as a winger and I think he is one of the best players in his team.
“As for Antonio, he started to play as a centre back but he can also play as a striker, so he can play anywhere now.”
Of the trio, Carvelho has made the biggest improvement since arriving at the academy.
“Antonio’s improvement was huge,” González said. “He knows now where to move and how to move, his decision-making is getting better.”
The trio train twice daily three times per week — either side of school studies — and then play for their respective Cornellá teams in the Catalan Football Federation at the weekend.
The league season consists of 30 matches and runs from September to June. There are also friendly matches and various tournaments held throughout the season.
Cornellá has more than 800 youth players that play in 65 teams.
“We have a very big academy and a very big youth programme with very good players,” Andrés Manzano, the Cornellá football director, said.
“When you talk about youth development, I think we are one of the most important programmes in Europe, at developing young players.
“We are the team in Europe that sends more players from a little club to different professional clubs. We have players playing in Germany, Italy, England, in universities in the United States and of course in all of the big professional teams in Spain — and we are really proud of that.”