The base of a soccer team is one of the most discussed subjects in sports today. When to move an athlete from base to a professional team? How much does the training team receive for selling an athlete? And, the most important question is, what is the structure of the base teams in Brazilian men’s soccer?
In the last year, nine championships were played, being the Under-20 and Under-17 Brazilian Championship, Under-20 Conmebol Libertadores, Under-20 and Under-17 Super Cup, Development League, and Under-20 Northeast Cup. In order to understand how much this category has changed, we spoke to those who lived this reality up close at different moments.
We interviewed Ivan Aparecido Martins, 30, who was at the base of XV de Jaú and Portuguesa — the club in which he became a professional. Ivan played in the championships Under-15 São Paulo Championship for XV de Jaú, São Paulo 17 and 20 Championships, São Paulo Cup, Brazilian Championship, BH Cup, and 2 de Julho Cup for Portuguesa. He lived in Portuguesa’s accommodation for three years and tell us that the structure was good, and nothing was missing.
Who agrees with Ivan is João Pedro Perez, a journalism student who played for the base of Corinthians and Portuguesa. “In Corinthians, there was a very good infrastructure, we always had a lot of attention. When we went away to games, there were good means of transport, we stayed in relatively good places inside the club so, no need to comment, great structure! In Portuguesa, in spite of the team having gone through some problems, the structure was very good too, nice accommodation, well-maintained lawns, locker rooms and uniforms, a great structure!”, says João.
Cauã Avona played for Portuguesa last year, when he played in the São Paulo Championship and agrees with Ivan and João that the structure of the team was very good and that, over the years, the club invested in new equipment for training athletes.
When questioned about the changes that happened at the base, Ivan Aparecido said the biggest change is that athletes arrive at the professional team with greater physical preparation despite their young age. “The base is getting much stronger, I believe that today the boy arrives physically more ready to be professional. There is immaturity that comes with age and being young, but what calls my attention the most is the physical strength that comes with it. Today I believe that the physical, mental, and nutritional work is what changed the most”.
João Pedro believes that, over the years, the base categories have been receiving greater attention, the teams have been investing in infrastructure, more championships, and sponsorships, besides a very important point which is that more and more young people are having opportunities in professional teams, which generates greater motivation among athletes.
An example of these young athletes who have been receiving professional opportunities was in the last friendly match of the Brazilian National Team, in which five athletes who make up the under-20 selection played for the main team.
Another topic that was approached by João was the greater investment in the championships. Cauã also told us that with time the tournaments became more meticulous: “The competitions are much more rigorous and intolerant”. Ivan also saw a change related to the grassroots championships and told us that, currently, the tournaments are more professional and there are several broadcasts.
The article above was edited by Clarissa Palácio.
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