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An Academy that cares: Developing footballers into value-driven individuals

30.08.19 An Academy that cares: Developing footballers into value-driven individuals

Over the years, Swieqi United has forged a strong reputation with regard to its blossoming Academy, with more and more individuals joining the programme in recent times. Academy manager Andrew Azzopardi has been partially responsible in overseeing that growth and ensuring that the Club's reputation continues to stay on the right track. The Club's Media Team sat down with Azzopardi to obtain his viewpoint on the Academy.
 
"In a short time, Swieqi United has established itself as one of the best structured football academies on the island," commented Azzopardi. "We are a club that doesn’t compromise our quality for numbers of players or financial gain. Our structure is focussed on age-appropriate player development. We achieve this by appointing competent and qualified coaches who are young at heart and full of enthusiasm. The coaches are supervised by our Head Coach and our Technical Director, who offer everyone quality assurance to maintain the standards needed to meet the club’s high aspirations."
 
So what advantages does Swieqi United's Academy offer? "Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying 'Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results'," continued Azzopardi. "In Malta, many people talk about needing to change our results, but sadly few want to change their methods. Swieqi United is a different club. We truly believe in player development. While we welcome victories on the pitch, we truly celebrate players’ effort and success."
 
"Since its inception, Swieqi United distinguished itself as a club that implements an innovative pedagogy. We take pride in our coaching structure, where we have a team of professionals supporting each child and young person. The minimum every team has is a Lead Coach, an assistant and a trainee. Every team also has a team manager and access to dedicated specialist doctor, physiotherapist and psychologist. However, we do not rest on our laurels. We always explore and research new ways of achieving excellence. For example, in the past two seasons, our Technical Director and Head coach have worked tirelessly to develop our football curriculum, where every child will have a developmental path to follow. This path will be based on the club’s football philosophy. Football methodologies which are known to work with children will be adapted to the reality of Malta and Swieqi."
 
One of the hallmarks of the Club is that it also focusses on instilling ethics and morals into its children from a young age. Azzopardi agrees, commenting that "Our values give us a sense of purpose. Values that are instilled in our children, which are critical to achieve long term success, include respect for ourselves, each other, the opponent, match officials and towards authority. We embrace the diversity of those around us. Our players know that they represent Swieqi United in whatever they do or say on and off the pitch. We therefore expect players to show respect to others at all times. Furthermore, we encourage children to embrace the Club's philosophy of 'One Team - One Club'. In the past ten years, many clubs around Malta have followed our lead by adopting our motto. Every squad in our club is a key part of our success, which also embraces the element of community within the Club."
 
Azzopardi concluded his remarks with an impassioned statement about the Club. "At Swieqi United, we celebrate meaningful success. Our main goal is to help your son or daughter to become better footballers while developing values that will help them become better students, persons and citizens in the future. For us, success goes beyond the individual result in a match or friendly: we strive to turn young potential into excellence. We do this by offering a professional setup and unique support for your child."
 
Should anyone be interested in enquiring about the Swieqi United Academy, you can contact us on andreavella@swieqiunitedfc.com.
 
Article: Matthew Borg
Photo credit: Marin Babanov
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