By Sports Reporter/Doha
Aspire Academy’s Football Department celebrated the conclusion of the 2017-18 football season earlier this week with two closing ceremonies. The first ceremony was organised for the Academy’s student-athletes aged between 13-18 and the second for the Aspire Academy-run Feeder Group programme for boys aged 12 and below.
The department, led by Technical Director Edorta Murua, organises these ceremonies at the end of each year to recognise the achievements and hard-work of its student-athletes and their coaching staff.
At the ceremonies, each age-group performed on stage under the theme ‘What Aspire means to me’. Some called it their “second home”, some “road to success”, “their reason for cultivating a fighting spirit”, their “family” and their “dream”. And there were those who said “Aspire is Qatar, and Qatar is Aspire”.
Two young footballers from each age-group were also named this year’s Best Continuity Player and Best Supporting Player based on their overall performance during the season.
“This ceremony was a great way to look back at the season and the team’s achievements, so they can reflect on their development, particularly in light of the new programmes we incorporated in the learning process this year,” Murua said.
He added: “Understanding the game is crucial for their development as football players, so we encouraged them to reflect on their performance and be proactively involved in the decision-making process to find solutions on the pitch. Overall, we are happy with the progress our players made this season.”
Meanwhile, Saeed Ali al-Marri, Football Administration Manager, said, “This celebration is a culmination of the efforts and achievements of our boys this past year, who have recorded some great results in friendly competitions, such as the year-round Tri-Series football tournament, and international training camps.”
“Everything, all the memories, games and moments, is recorded. Nothing is forgotten. We’re proud of all our boys, and we hope that one day they’ll have the opportunity to represent Qatar well on the global stage,” he concluded.
On Monday evening, the Feeder Group, a programme that precedes enrolment at the Academy and is responsible for training students below the age of 12 who demonstrate exceptional football skills during the scouting process, also celebrated the end of their season by organising an engaging event for the programme’s young footballers and their families.
Speaking on the sidelines of the ceremony, Arno Buitenweg, head of Feeder Teams Football Programme, said, “This year we brought some changes to the programme in the methodology as we continue to work towards laying the foundation that will help the boys develop into tomorrow’s top players.
“Our target is to help reduce the gap between where the feeders (U12 boys) are now (in terms of athletic development) and where they need to be when they join the Academy on full-time basis. We ran 60 training sessions for the young boys in our programme, and their commitment during these precipitated a great improvement in their skills.
“Their sportsmanship on and off the field has impressed even the programme’s coaching department. One of the things we are also happy about is the increasing involvement from the boys’ parents in our programme. We feel good about our progress this season.”
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