PROSPORT NEWSPAPER – 10th of May 2018
INTERVIEW by Florin Caramavrov
A Romanian coach from Levante explains why Spain dominates the world of football: “Children only train with the ball. In Romania, juniors are in harnesses! ”
What are the solutions to progress?
Daniel Bogdan Draghici (37 years old) trains two groups of children from Levante, Spain. He was educated here after he was in constructions in 2005! He reveals some of the secrets of the recent rise of Spanish football and makes a comparison with what is happening in our country.
How did you become a child coach?
I started my coaching school in 2012 when I got the UEFA B title, then in 2014 UEFA A, and in 2017 I was accepted as a student at the Spanish Football Federation in collaboration with Rey Juan Carlos University to attend the first edition in Europe by the Master of Coaches. Last October, I started UEFA PRO, which I will finish at the end of this month. In April 2017, I was also in Amsterdam at a training course for coaches by George Ogăraru in Ajax, where colleagues from Romania came from different teams.
And do you actually train?
I started to train children and juniors last year when a professor at the Federation of Coaches School proposed me to take over a Under 19 team from the first division, Huracan CF, which was in the same division with Valencia, Levante, Hercules, Elche, Atletico Madrid. Having good results for a modest team as we were, Levante remarked me and at the end of the championship they called me and proposed to work for them.
How is a club like Levante organized for children and juniors? What are the conditions? How many children are in the club?
A club or elite academy here in Spain is organized and structured by the department of methodology, which is mandatory to raise children and juniors and to have an identity. We are four coaches in two groups, from the 5-year-old to the 18-year-old, we have weekly sessions with the methodology department and the football coordinator in 8, and starting with the 2005 group – 11 football. For children from 5 years up to the 12 years group inclusive, we are led by a coordinator; over him are the director of methodology and then the head of the academy. In football in 11 players, then separately we have “Juvenil” A and the 2nd team, who have another director. The 3rd Department is responsible for the first team, sports director, board of directors and president. We are doing 7-8 top tournaments each season with Levante.
What is the annual budget of the Children and Junior Center?
The annual budget has no limits for children and juniors, especially for the competition with the other teams in Valencia and Villarreal. From year to year, many young people are brought and signed to the academy. We, with the 2007 and 2009 groups, have 3 times a week sessions and plus the weekend game, plus 7-8 top tournaments per season. Just on May 18 we go to Barcelona with “2009”, where we are in group with Barcelona, Leganes and Rayo Vallecano.
What is the program for a child coach? What are your goals? What methods? What’s he doing?
The goals set at the beginning of the season are to progress technically, tactically, mentally and in terms of coordination in the game. The methodology is that everything is done with the ball, we start warming up with different ball exercises, of course, where you have to think both before and after touching it. Each session has 3 parts: assimilation, advanced and competitive.
They all follow the same technical tactical objective, starting from the idea of ”our goal – zero goals”. Today, the championships win the team with the least goals. In addition, we work a lot on attack-defense and defense-attack transitions, but also on fixed phases. Nearly 40 per cent of goals are recorded from transitions and 20-30 per cent of fixed phases.
Are there other Romanians out there?
In the great academies in the area, I did not meet Romanian coaches. Instead, we have very many Romanian children in the academy with an extraordinary future projection.
What average salary does a coach have in Spain?
I can only say I’m happy. It is enough to support my family.
How much do parents pay for their son to train at Levante?
In the entire Levante’s academy, there are around 600 children, but we also have a satellite club, named Patacona FC. Children do not pay, because we have disbanded our payment teams. Previously, there were categories A, B, C – valuable players, then F, G, H, where they were paying. Now, on the contrary, the new ones who sign up are paid because, if Levante wants them, they want the other grandees too.
“There is a need for education in the children of Romania”
Under what conditions did you train in Romania? Why did not you try to train kids here?
When performance is going to be desirable and football players want to be educated, I will come immediately to make a difference.
What needs to be changed in the system at this level in Romania?
I was watching YouTube one day training from an elite academy in Romania, where children of 9-10 years were pushed to run with weights and harnesses after them. That coach I believe has not opened a book about physical training in his life! Or I see matches for children and juniors where the vocabulary of the coaches is horrible and I think the little ones are scared, and the parents in the stands believe to be something normal!
First of all, I repeat, it’s about the football player’s education. Everybody tells me that we are a country with talented footballers, but football today is not just a talent. We have here, at Levante, a psychologist, teachers who give lessons about drug addiction, sports betting, lessons about the economy, we have programs with certain foundations, in centers for disabled people, where we go to visit and spend the day with them. There are small details that, gathered, bring the final result and the image of football in Spain.
Unfortunately, we sell the players early; we do not have spectators in the stadiums.
You are in the phenomenon; you probably have some relations with Romanian coaches. What do you know, there’s like a scam for a kid to join a team?
Yeah, I’ve heard stories like this. For one reason or another, many teams play on favors.
How are Romanians seen in Spain? How was the Romanian football seen?
Romanians are generally well seen, because they are impressive as people. Romanian football is seen exactly as it is, in a free fall. We sell early, for 2 dollars, without spectators on stadiums and with performances offered by patrons who speak more than coaches with the press. Here we cannot conceive that.