Thursday, August 18, 2011

Leonel Angel Coira: Newest Soccer Child Prodigy

While our football officials are going out of their way to scout and recruit talents from Europe and the US to reinforce our Azkals football team, now comes the news of a 7 year old kid signed up by Real Madrid, one of the world's most popular and greatest club teams. Isn't that fantastic and great? Or on the other hand, weird, scary, or exploitation? Well, that's the latest news breaker in the world of football which I first learned and heard on ANC's Hardball.

His name is Leonel Angel Coira of Argentina. Three years ago, his family moved to Madrid where his father coaches a local youth team. This is where he was discovered.  Ironically, his favorite team is Barcelona, the arch rival of Real Madrid and his idol is Barcelona star striker and fellow Argentinian World Footballer of the Year, Lionel Messi. But Real Madrid got the first crack for this talent and signed him for a 1 year development contract to join their youngest team, the "Benjamin' squad composed mainly of kids under 9 years old. Is signing also came on the heels because another Spanish Team, Atletico Madrid was likewise hot on his trail.

Apparently in Spain or in Europe, signing up children in soccer is nothing new. They have extensive youth academies where they train and develop future stars. Spain's national goalie and also Real Madrid's goalie, Iker Casillas joined he Madrid Youth System at age 9. But there is also a commercial strategy to this. It is a club's tactic to enlist young talents to avoid huge transfer fees when they become full blown stars.

 Many doubt whether these kids will eventually  bloom into the levels of a Pele, or a Maradona or a Messi who himself is still young in early 20's but already on the peak of his success. As for this new sensational kid on the block, nicknamed Leo, we'll have to wait till he becomes 16 when he now be legally allowed to play for the first division tournaments and perhaps the national team and the ultimate, the World Cup.


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