Posted on October 15, 2016

Aspire Academy has successfully concluded the second round of the 2016-2017 Tri-Series football tournament, which took place from 10-12 October. The latest tournament saw Aspire Academy’s U-13, U-14 and U-15 teams compete against distinguished Belgian club RSC Anderlecht and Tunisian club Esperance.

Commenting on the tournament, Aspire Academy’s U-15 coach, Arno Buitenweg highlighted the invaluable experience that the tournament provides for his young footballers, saying: “I am very pleased with the overall performance of the team and the way we adapted to the different playing styles of our opponents. I thought our team handled the difficult game against Esperance particularly well. This tournament provides great learning opportunities for students and coaches alike, as it gives us exposure to teams from around the world and differing approaches to preparing for games, playing styles and training techniques.”

Aspire Academy youth teams draw 2 [].jpg

RSC Anderlecht U-15 coach, Benoit Haegeman, added: “Taking part in this competition is great experience for my youth team and they have all enjoyed playing in the second round of this tournament. Aspire Academy and Esperance were tough opponents, and they pushed us to play our very best football. We’re thrilled to have been involved in this year’s tournament and we’re enormously grateful to Aspire Academy for offering us the opportunity to participate.” Meanwhile, Esperance U-15 coach, Lotfi Rafraf, said, “It’s not every week that you get to play against the likes of the teams we faced here – Aspire Academy and Anderlecht. We’re very happy to have been invited to play in the tournament and to use these state-of-the-art facilities. Even though we are disappointed to have lost out on penalties to Anderlecht, we’re pleased with our performance at the tournament.”

Aspire Academy staff working with the U-13, U-14 and U-15 teams emphasized the value of the Tri-Series tournament in supporting players’ progress and development, as well as providing a useful benchmark against other top sides. The Tri-Series football tournament resumes next month, on November 7-9, and will see Aspire Academy’s U-17 and U-15 teams compete against those from Leicester City FC (England), and American club FC Dallas (USA). The Academy’s U-16 group will compete against visiting youth teams from Uruguay and Turkey.

Aspire Academy youth teams draw 3 [].jpg

The number of teams that have visited Aspire Academy to compete in the Tri-Series tournament has grown steadily since it was launched in 2012. Last year, a total of 32 clubs and associations participated in the tournament, and more than 30 clubs are set to take part in this year’s competition. Participating teams have included major football clubs such as Liverpool FC (England), Paris St-Germain (France), Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands), Zenit St. Petersburg (Russia), Nagoya Grampus Eight (Japan), Esperance de Tunis (Tunisia) and Palmeiras (Brazil) as well as national youth teams from Canada and Denmark.

The selection criteria for overseas teams taking part in the Tri-Series competition includes a strong emphasis on youth development programmes, in addition to their standard of football and footballing style. During their time in Qatar, representatives from visiting clubs are also invited to present their philosophy and management approach when working with junior players, which is of considerable benefit both to coaches at Aspire Academy as well as those of the Qatar National teams.