David Villa to open Hong Kong youth academy in partnership with Premier League outfit Kitchee
Spanish legend becomes latest to set up an academy in Hong Kong
Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United are among the clubs who have based soccer academies in Hong Kong and the latest to join the market will be under the name of prolific striker, David Villa of Spain.
The diminutive forward spared no time after being named the MVP of MLS early this week before arriving in Hong Kong on Friday morning to begin a partnership between his DV7 Academy with domestic giants Kitchee.
Playing for New York City FC in North America after a flourishing career with Valencia, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in his home country, the 35-year-old said it’s always his long-term ambition to work with young players.
“When I was young, I played soccer like any kid in Kitchee Academy,” said Villa, who retired from the national team in 2014, but still leads the all-time scoring table with 59 international goals in 97 appearances.
“You are talking Messi and Cristiano as being the best players in the world but they did not learn a lot when they came to Barcelona or Real Madrid. They learnt a lot when they were young and this was the most important part of their life. That’s why we want to work with this academy day by day to help these young guys in Hong Kong so that they can become good players in future.”
DV7 is an initiative of the World Cup champion created this project as an extension his on-and-off-the-field values which made Villa one of the most respected and successful players in the world.
Villa has been coached by many great soccer tacticians such as Josep Guardiola, Diego Simeone, Luis Aragones and Vincente del Bosque and he has combined his playing experience with the youth coaching methodology originated from FC Barcelona to offer young players the chances to develop individual technique and enhance vision and decision making skills in various stages of their soccer development.
In starting the partnership, DV7 will provide their curriculum for the Kitchee Academy which will be updated at regular intervals to include modern and up-to-date soccer concepts and teaching materials.
Players in Hong Kong can also have the opportunity to travel to New York or Spain to work at their DV7 centres while Villa will also make regular visits to Hong Kong for training with the youngsters.
Kitchee boss Ken Ng Kin said they would spend an additional HK$1 million-plus a year under the initiative but hopefully it can help produce quality players that can form the backbone of Hong Kong national team in future.
“We all understand the importance of youth development for the sake of Hong Kong soccer,” said Ng. “The recruitment of naturalised players is an interim measure for the Hong Kong team and we must rely on ourselves to produce a new generation of players for the future and the DV7 Academy will prove to be an important step.”
Villa, meanwhile, expressed little interest in joining the ever growing China Super League.
The 35-year-old, a member of the 2010 World Cup winning side and Spain’s all-time record scorer of 59 goals in 97 appearances with his country, hasn’t been lured by the blooming Chinese League just yet – and is not about to follow the footsteps of other big-name players who have joined ranks in China’s fledgling league.
“As I mentioned before, when I am very happy in one place, I am not looking at another place and at the moment I am very happy in New York.
“I still have one year in my contract and although I don’t know what will happen in the future, I still want to be in New York for a few more years for sure.”
The New York City captain, however, did not disclose if he had been approached by any club from the China Super League.
“When you play soccer, you always receive offers from different people, sometimes from a club, sometimes from the agent, sometimes from the people who want to help with the deal as there are a lot of countries [playing soccer],” he said.
“But for me it’s always the same. When I am comfortable in one city or one country, I will not look at other things and won’t be expecting to go to another country. In fact, I don’t know anything about it [the China Super League] and may be they don’t want me.”