Last June 1, the periodic technical discussion held between the Albirex Niigata Methodology Director and the Academy coaches had a special guest: Carles Romagosa, technical director of Thailand FA and co-author of the Ekkono Method.

The main topic of the discussion was “How to help young footballers to be professionals?” and it was attended by both the academy coaches and women's team coaches, who showed big interest and asked some great questions.

During the session, Carles remembered all good memories he has after his almost 10 visits to Japan where he worked with players and coaches, and highlighted the huge leap in quality that Japanese youth and professional football has recently taken.

Uchida Jun, Albirex Niigata’s Academy Director said: “We would like to express our sincere appreciation to Ekkono for providing us with this education opportunity. I strongly believe that being a good leader is essential to develop good players, and this is why we use technical discussions as a “learning place” to continue learning."

On the next lines, you can find some of the questions that Carles answered during the session:

Question: When deciding how many minutes of game to give players in official competitions, what is the balance between competing and learning in the U18 category?

Answer: In the Youth category it is important to give all players opportunities, but as we are in the pre-professional football stage, it is also important to make future players play for longer.

Question: Broadly speaking, which different concepts do you have to train in Junior, Junior Youth and Youth categories?

Answer: Players understand the game differently based on their age. Therefore, we must train different things according to their age. In Junior category it is important to train concepts more related with the player’s relationship with the ball, in Junior Youth category the concepts which should be trained are those that help the players to manage the spaces so that the possessor and non-possessors have an advantage, and in Youth category, collective fundamentals are essential to be understood.

Question: Based on your experience training and scouting young talents, which types of young players are the most likely to be professionals?

Answer: In general, among the most talented players, the ones who are most likely to be professionals are those who pay attention to the small details. This means that you need talent, plus effort in training, plus taking care of the external aspects of training. From club’s vison, it is important that we also guide families to educate them in those external aspects that are important for the player.

Question: What percentage of freedom in the game should be given to U12 players?

Answer: A very important aspect in these ages is having fun. It is important not to confuse fun with giving freedom to play as the players want, because talented players have the most fun when the team plays well, not when everyone plays the way they want.

Question: At what point do you propose to set player’s position?Answer: It is important not to do it too early and to experiment in various positions. In clubs where an associative style of play is played, it usually happens those players who as children played in advanced positions, at the end of their Initiation Stage or at the beginning of their Professional Stage, end up playing in more backward positions. For example, Jordi Alba when he was U14 he played as a midfielder and Sergio Busquets when he played at Barça B with Guardiola, he played some matches as Advanced Midfielder.

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Christian Pulisic

"I got an immediate improvement on my performance due to my work with Ekkono"

Cesc Fabregas

"Ekkono has helped me to gain a better undestanding of football and become a professional player"


“The Ekkono Method has helped me interpret the game better and make better decisions"

David López

"I have improved my performance as a center back thanks to the Ekkono Method"

Carl Starfelt

“The Ekkono Method has helped me to gain a better tactical understanding of my position, as well as to identify details that I need to improve in my game in order to become a better player and take the next step in my career”

Elijah Dixon-Bonner

"The Ekkono individual program has allowed me to deepen my understanding of myself as a player, understand some details, and learn how to perform better."

Verónica Boquete

"The Ekkono Method makes you a smart player, therefore it maximizes your performance"

Unai Bilbao

"I have been using ekkono’s individual coaching program. They analyse me on video, give me qualitative feedback through private sessions and help me to improve day by day"

Erik Lira

“The Ekkono Individual Performance Program helps me improve my performance and understanding of the game”

Luca de la Torre

“Working with Ekkono helped me understand who I am as a player and how to improve”


“Ekkono did a fantastic job analyzing, organizing, and explaining their work so it was efficient, easy to understand and applicable. They can definitely help any player continue to improve.”

Rasheedat Ajibade

“Ekkono Method has been of great help to me in improving my performance during the Africa Cup of Nations. I am looking forward to continuing the program during the coming season”

Santi Naveda

“The Ekkono method focuses on the small details and this allows me to improve my performance”

Jordi Mboula

"I would recommend Ekkono to reinforce those tactical aspects you do not have time to work with your team"

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