Posted on May 28, 2017

Aspire Academy’s Tri-Series has drawn to a close after a thrilling final week of games, concluding yet another hugely successful year of competition on Aspire Academy’s world-class outdoor pitches. The annual series of weekly competitions that run throughout the year features youth teams from all over the world competing against teams from Aspire Academy.

Visiting teams Sao Paulo FC (Brazil) and FA Thailand took part in last week’s competition, playing against Aspire Academy’s youth teams in three age groups – players born in 1999, 2000 and 2001. A team from VfB Stuttgart (Germany) also took part, competing against a youth team from Aspire Academy made up of players born in 2001. Brazilian Club Sao Paulo dominated the final games of the Tri-series tournament, with its teams winning in all three age groups. Sao Paulo player Anthony Matheus won the tournament’s Most Valuable Player for those born in 1999 and 2000, scoring five goals in three matches. Meanwhile, Aspire Academy’s Elite team made up of players born in 1999 achieved second place, just one point behind Sao Paulo with FA Thailand trailing in third. German side VfB Stuttgart achieved second place in their age group.

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Competing against different teams from all over the world provides Aspire Academy’s youth teams with ideal learning opportunities as well as exposure to different footballing styles and competition experience. In this way, the Tri-Series tournament is an integral part of the work Aspire Academy does to realise its vision of becoming the world's leading sports academy for the development of youth athletes by 2020. Commenting on their participation in the tournament, Rudolfo Pinheiro Canavesi, Youth Team Manager at Sao Paulo, said: “We’d like to thank Aspire Academy for inviting us to participate in this wonderful tournament. Our team played against some brilliant opponents, and they were very happy to make use of Aspire Academy’s incredible facilities. When it comes to long-term youth development, Aspire Academy is definitely on the right track and we wish them the best of luck for the future.”

Valero Garcia, Thailand FA U-17 head coach, added: “Taking part in this competition has been very good for all the teams, particularly for us and for the teams from Aspire Academy. Competing against a team from Brazil is great experience. Brazil is a footballing giant – and it is very clear why, based on the quality of their youth players. Their performance was very impressive. Competitions like this are very useful for us coaches in enabling us to take stock, evaluate our approach and look at opportunities for further development.”

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On the sidelines of the football matches, coaches from the visiting clubs also shared their expertise on a range of football-related topics, philosophies and coaching methods. These knowledge-sharing sessions benefit coaches from Aspire Academy as well as from the Qatar Football Federation who are encouraged to participate. The Tri-Series was established in 2012. Since then, it has played a vital role in the development of the youth teams at Aspire Academy. The Tri-Series provides coaches at Aspire Academy with a useful benchmark against which to evaluate and compare the Academy’s student-athletes’ performance.

Each season, the Tri-Series attracts club teams, national youth teams and other academy teams. The number of teams that have visited Aspire Academy to take part in competitions has grown steadily since it was launched in 2012. This year, over 35 foreign clubs and federations took part. Participating teams are carefully selected by Aspire Academy based on a thorough evaluation of the standard of youth development programmes in their own countries, their profile and backgrounds. Aspire Academy aims to involve their student-athletes in competitions against some of the best teams in the world, giving them the opportunity to learn from as many different footballing styles and systems as possible.

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 (Japan), Esperance de Tunis (Tunisia), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Palmeiras (Brazil) as well as national youth teams from Canada, Thailand and Denmark.