|THE BOYS of BAYERN:
A look at the FC Bayern Munich Junior Team
|THE JUNIOR TEAM PHILOSOPHY
The vision for the Junior Team is simple: to educate young players so that it will be possible for FCB to
keep a global position in club football in the next millennium. Its mission, like the German style of play,
is aggressive: ?To have the best youth development in club football.?
The plan encompasses scouting, educating, and training the most talented players to be found by
implementing structures, and establishing infrastructures ?in the technical, administrative, and human
areas?, as well as, ?creating an attractive and positive atmosphere for staff and players?. This is all
done, Kern says, by ?understanding the human and social requirements of the staff and the players?.
The cornerstone of the uberalles Bayern philosophy seems to be strength, both mental and physical
and it extends deep into the Junior Team. In order to establish the ?Best football Education? it must
have the best of everything: the best coaches, the best team environment, the best age-oriented
challenges, the best training conditions and equipment, as well as, the best medical and
Finding the best players is not always easy, even for a high profile club such as FCB. As part of it?s
restructuring in the mid 90?s, the club established its ?junior talent days?, which is an annual tryout,
held at the Sabener Strasse complex. After seeing the success Ajax was having with a similar concept,
Bayern implemented a comparable program.
Over a weekend in the spring, upwards of 500 boys between the ages of six and ten are invited to the
club to play small-sided games in front of 20 FCB training staff. When it is all done a new FCB Junior
Team will have been selected.
Wolfgang Dremmler, head scout at FCB: "Before we started the event seven years ago, most of the kids
we recruited for our youngest junior teams came from the immediate vicinity. The recruitment was
unstructured, somebody simply brought someone else along. Then we went and had a look at Ajax
Amsterdam's trial days, and we decided to do the same thing at Bayern. Now we get to select players for
our teams according to certain criteria which apply to this age group, and the whole thing has been
very successful. As things stand, we wouldn't need to advertise the event any more, as mouth-to-mouth
propaganda alone would mean all the places were filled."
What does the Junior Team look for? "Does the boy put his heart and soul into his football?? Dremmler
asks, ?How good is his movement, how are his skills in terms of co-ordination? It's quite easy to
recognise things like that. You see it during the games, exactly how a boy conducts himself and the
energy he puts in. We don't specifically test any technical skills, no one has to go dribbling through
cones. We just let the kids play, with or without a goalkeeper, without a dead-ball line - just like it is in
the streets. There is nothing to win, there are no trophies to hand out. Fun, emotion and desire are the
only things that matter."
?Where the kids come from plays an important role, of course. Nowadays we attract participants from all
over Germany, and this year we have two kids coming from Japan. We've also had participants from
America. But it goes without saying we don't want any family to relocate on our account. So of course,
when we make our final choice, we make sure they're not living too far away from Munich."
"There are around 500 kids being watched from the touchline by 20 of us. At the end, we get together
and share our impressions, and decide on the players who, in our opinion, are in contention. Then, the
next step is to write to the parents. Every participant gets a written report from us afterwards, by the way.
Then we apply for a playing permit, and the kids are eligible to play for our youth teams. Last year we
players, which is generally about average - basically one full seven-a-side team. Out of 183 players in
our Junior team organisation, 23 were discovered on talent days. The oldest of them is currently in the
under-15s. In total, around 6500 kids have taken part in our talent days so far." [ NEXT>>> ]
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