Skip to main content

Parla Escuela - The underrated haven of youth football (3rd October, 2017)

This is a piece about Parla Escuela which I wrote almost two years back - when I dug it out I knew it had to come here.

For the first time, Parla Escuela are in the fourth division, and will play Rayo B in exactly one month and one day. It's important to note that until this year they weren't even the biggest club in Parla, AD Parla were in the fourth division for a long time until their relegation this summer. Rafael Benítez, Sergio Pachón and Roberto Rojas have all played for AD Parla.




Imagine you are in Madrid and your inner compass tells you to go south. You board the C-4 train and south you go. It’s been a long day and you go to sleep… Suddenly, the train stops and it’s the last station - you check your watch and 40 minutes have gone by without warning. Your inner compass tingles like crazy because you are near.

In fact, you are here. You’ve reached home…

CP Parla Escuela is not a club you’ve heard of. Neither is it particularly making headlines for any sporting reasons - until last year it’s a stable mid-table club in the fifth tier of Spanish football. They don’t aim for promotion or relegation. They don’t aim for playing against big teams and they don’t even aim for a large fanbase.

Their aim is to see other clubs prosper.

Parla is located on the outskirts of Metropolitan Madrid. Far, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Far away from the best football played in the city. And far away from the media spotlight. It’s not just that they are far away, they are far enough.

Far enough to develop their own school of thought.

Club Polideportivo Parla Escuela was formed in 1989, and since then it has contributed massively to the sports education of children and young people, mainly residents in their town. It is a private non-profit club, who practice and promote sport and physical activity.

And they do this in the most simple way. Their aim is #SoydelaEscuela - I’m from the school. They want that every child is educated.

They also want that every child is educated well - they believe that sport is a mixture of values - effort, respect, tolerance, solidarity, teamwork, sacrifice, overcoming adversity - and social rules, such as the acceptance of the game’s regulations and rules, which they feel is useful to every child.

But here’s the catch - they are disillusioned by sports competitions, as they feel that winning should be a secondary objective. They believe that excessive pressure by parents or coaches can make young athletes lose faith in sports. They believe in working hard for the team, and even encourage parents to get involved. Some of the suggestions they have for parents include: to encourage their children to enjoy and not care about the result. To applaud the team and not just their children. To not pick on individual mistakes. To respect the referee’s decisions - as he is learning too. To encourage team effort.

Small things, admittedly.

But it’s working - the club prides itself for a youth system that sees their graduates play for some of the best clubs in Madrid. Nearly every professional team in Madrid - Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, Rayo Vallecano, Getafe, and Leganés - has had a player from Parla Escuela play for them and do well.

And outside Madrid as well - Tomás Pina comes to mind. Real Madrid midfield prospect Javier Muñoz is playing on loan at Lorca, and has a big future ahead of him...

You’ve reached home. You’ve reached the school where you were raised. And you shout, with pride, soy de la escuela.


Because - even though it’s 40 minutes from Madrid’s airport - it’s where you belong.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

From Catalonia to Heybridge - the story of an eighth division club (19th October, 2017)

After spending his whole life at UDA Gramenet and a season at Europa, Guillem Ramón moved to Terrassa in the summer of 2014. It was just another Catalan player transferring between two clubs in the Catalan regional leagues - nothing extraordinary.

But it was consequential.

In March 2015, in a match against Sabadell, the full back suffered a complete meniscal rupture, and his season was over. So was his contract - and a big chunk of the 2015-16 season as well. He ended up signing for Cerdanyola, without pay (as he was recuperating), and the doctors said that January would be his return time. However, he debuted in November.

In hindsight, it was a mistake.

After two games, in a training session, on November 25th he got injured again - this time in the quadriceps in the same leg. After two months of recuperation, and still no guarantee of pay, Guillem left for new pastures in February 2016. A trial at Coplestonians FC followed; so did an opportunity at Needham Market FC, in the seventh t…

Fuenlabrada - the mighty challengers: Part 2; aka Juan Quero - the roller-coaster (15th October, 2017)

In just a few months, Fuenlabrada have competed for promotion to the Segunda, signed a center-back from a La Liga side, and will now be playing Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey.

This is part 2 of a series about Fuenlabrada, the mighty challengers to Real Madrid, who they play in the cup on the 26th of October.

You can read part 1 here.



He was short. Very short. At 5'3", the left winger sometimes played in an over-sized shirt.

The ball never left his feet. His feet were tiny but they had magic. A dizzying array of body feints, close control, direction changes and sheer speed, often resembling a roller-coaster, left opposition defenders outwitted. And yes - sometimes, he frustrated. Sometimes, he was irregular.

But when he turned up, the world was at his feet.

If Juan Quero plays against Real Madrid he'll be playing against the club that let him go. The club that didn't think he had it in him to become a La Liga player.

The club that was wrong. Very, very wrong - he went fr…

La perspectiva de Málaga - with Paul Schrijver (5th August, 2017)

You can follow Paul on Twitter here.

A bit about yourself and your background

My name is Paul Schrijver (27 years old). I live and work in Zwolle (The Netherlands) for PEC Zwolle, a club that plays in a division called the 'Eredivisie', which is the highest division in our country. My work involved doing the communication for the club.

In 2012 we went from the First division to the Eredivisie. And then two years later we won our first prize: the Dutch Cup final against Ajax. We beat them 5-1! That year we also won the Dutch Super Cup. Again vs Ajax,this time with 1-0. Because we won the cup we played our first ever matches in Europe: at home we drew 1-1 against Sparta Praha but away we lost (3-1). Nevertheless, it was a great experience for us...

How long have you been a fan of Málaga and what made you support them in the first place?

This goes way back. When I was younger I played FM98 (Football Masters) and FIFA - I always choose Málaga as the team to play with. But my real lo…