The LaLiga Football Schools is set to make its debut in the Mumbai Football Association’s youth league this year. As they celebrate five years in India, LaLiga Football Schools will field under-13 and under-15 boys’ teams in the upcoming competition in March. The players will be selected from the eight centers they have established in Maharashtra.
The main objective behind this initiative, according to Jose Antonio Cachaza, the managing director of LaLiga India, is to provide young footballers with the opportunity to compete and gain experience. He emphasized the importance of enjoying the game while training, highlighting how in Spain, individuals can continue playing until their 40s or even beyond, regardless of their professional aspirations.
LaLiga Football Schools also has plans to establish a goalkeepers’ school for both boys and girls, as well as a development center in Mumbai. Cachaza noted that Mumbai has the highest number of enrollments and is the base of the program’s technical director, Miguel Casal. The development center will offer additional training to the top performers from the Mumbai schools, preparing them for higher-level competitions such as the Mumbai youth leagues.
While the cost of joining varies depending on the city and center, those selected for the development center will not have to pay extra, according to Cachaza. LaLiga Football Schools currently has 2,500 boys and girls across 22 centers in 10 Indian cities. Some of their players have even made their way to Mumbai City FC’s academy. Cachaza mentioned Kajol D’Souza, a midfielder who participated in the under-17 women’s World Cup and was part of the Spanish league’s program in India.
Notably, most top football brands in India have avoided participating in competitions organized by the All India Football Federation and its affiliates. When asked about the risk of compromising LaLiga’s brand value by joining the league, Cachaza responded confidently, stating that they trust their coaches to do a good job. He expressed their coach’s confidence in their ability to compete effectively and uphold LaLiga’s standards.