OT-Real Madrid signs 7 year old

Submitted by MGoChippewa on August 8th, 2011 at 10:42 AM

According to ESPN, Real Madrid has signed 7 year old, Leo Angel Coira, to a contract. The 1st grader will begin training on September 6.  I dont know about the rest of you, but this seems pretty sick to me.  Feel free to put me in my place, but the Pistons or the Red Wings or even a college team agreeing to terms with a 7 year old would never fly.  Link? http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/news/_/id/6843531/real-madrid-signs-7-year-old-argentine-prospect-leo Link.



August 8th, 2011 at 12:01 PM ^

No, but there are lots of kids aged 11-13 or so that sign with the clubs' youth outfits.  Pro teams really shouldn't be involved in youth soccer at all.  And there really should be a better way for young talent to be distributed than the current free-for-all.  The business model of European soccer is messed up on many levels - no draft, no salary cap, not much revenue sharing.



August 8th, 2011 at 12:25 PM ^

It's not really socialism.  It's more big business vs. small business.  The North American model, exemplified by the NFL,  recognizes that the league as a whole can profit further if all the clubs work together on business issues (while continuing to compete on the field).  The NFL came to this realization a while ago, and has prospered.   The NFL is basically one large corporation with 32 franchise operations.  European clubs act like they're all rival corporations, instead of joint shareholders in their leagues - and in order to win championships, they have to overspend and drown in debt.



August 8th, 2011 at 12:58 PM ^

One big difference between the model the NFL and other leagues employ compared to European soccer is that the NFL has to compete with other professional sports. MLB, NBA, and NHL are all big moneymakers. In Europe, soccer is king - and nobody else is even close. There's no reason to share money with others in your league like there is in the States. In Europe, you're only competing with other clubs in Europe. In the States, you're competing with other sports as well.


August 8th, 2011 at 1:18 PM ^

That's not true everywhere.  In some countries, there are other rival sports, like rugby and hockey.  But that's beside the point.  Pretty much every successful European soccer club is losing money as it is.  When that's happening despite a very popular product, your business model is flawed.  UEFA is going to have to make some difficult decisions down the road to keep things going.  One thing they may as well do is create a real Europe-wide superleague (not just an annual tournament, but a new league), where all the high rollers can duke it out under agreed-upon rules.  It's getting to a point where the domestic leagues just plain don't matter as much for them. 




August 8th, 2011 at 1:24 PM ^

Which is why it should create a new European superleague.  Having 55 leagues or whatever, all operating under their own rules, is a mess.  If a club wants to compete for the C1, it basically has no choice but to spend itself into debt under the current circumstances,  There are only so many oil billionnaires and Mideast princes out there to prop clubs up financially.


August 8th, 2011 at 1:46 PM ^

There are lots of structural reasons why this idea, which has been floated for a while, won't happen, but the main one is that UEFA executives are elected by the heads of the various national FA's, which would stand to lose tremendous amounts of power should the superleague exist (as teams would no longer be playing within their respective FAs). Any UEFA exec that proposed this would immediately lose his job.


August 8th, 2011 at 10:50 AM ^

While I think it's utterly ridiculous for teams ot try and sign kids at the age of seven, I think some blame should go to the parents as well. They can tell the teams that they're not listening to offers. Let the kid grow up. Of course, I'm sure it's hard to say no to money.


August 8th, 2011 at 1:01 PM ^

After reading alot of the other posts and thinking about it, I will admit I overreacted with my post. I guess I just feel bad that kids are focusing probably too much on a sport at such a young age. Although it is good that kids can get a quality education. Kid is gonna have alot of expectations on him, might not get a chance to really grow up.

And yes, I did just reply to my own post.


August 8th, 2011 at 10:50 AM ^

A lot of these clubs pick up kids early and develop them in their youth systems. Seven is extremely young but I believe Messi was picked up by Barcelona around 11 or 12.  May turn out to be a great investment. 



August 8th, 2011 at 10:59 AM ^

You guys got punk'd by sensational journalism. That article is the most uninformative thing I've ever read. This practice is likely more common than you think, but you never see a child running around on the field during an actual game. Obviously there is more to this story than we know.


August 8th, 2011 at 11:09 AM ^

Soccer teams have "academies" much like cities in America have "youth soccer programs."

They find good young kids and develop them. Ajax Amsterdam, as well as EVERY OTHER TEAM IN EUROPE AND SOUTH AMERICA has been doing this for decades - it's not news, it's done every year on that level.

This is a non-story.


August 8th, 2011 at 11:11 AM ^

While this may seem crazy it shows how European clubs are always looking for the next superstar. The big clubs invest millions of dollars bringing soccer academies to countries all over the world, giving thousands of kids training and equipment they would otherwise never get. This kid may never develop into a star but signing with Real will allow him to get an education in Madrid as well as provide financial stability which many Argentinians lack. I would not be surprised if many more 7 or 8 year olds from Latin America get signed by European clubs within the next 5 years. Best of luck to him and HALA MADRID!


August 8th, 2011 at 11:55 AM ^

Kids get signed at young ages all the time, case in point Messi.  Alot of the soccer academies have deals with local schools and university where kids will train and get great education also.


August 8th, 2011 at 1:10 PM ^

Not that MLS teams need to be signing seven year olds (and who knows how big a publicity stunt this is), but one of the big reasons that European clubs/nations are so far ahead of the US in developing talent (especially on a per capita basis) is because the best players in the country are getting trained at the top clubs in the world from a very early age.  The American path of high school-college-pros works in football and basketball because players aren't physically mature enough to play in those leagues until they are in their early twenties.  In soccer, however, the top players are already playing professionally in their late teens and thriving (Messi was 17 when he made his La Liga debut).  Getting more kids into a program where they receive elite coaching as teenagers instead of depending on lousy high school and AAU-type coaches to develop future national team players is probably Klinsmann's top priority as USMNT coach.  Until that pool of kids grows significantly we'll continue to lag behind the rest of the world in developing talent.


August 8th, 2011 at 1:55 PM ^

Most of those things are happening already with the MLS academy system, which starts in the early teens. There are obviously a lot more teams, and therefore, more academies in Europe, but the US system is catching up with the ideas of emphasizing skills development over gameplay, professionalizing development, moving away from pay to play, etc.


August 8th, 2011 at 2:07 PM ^

The problem is not incompetent coaching for the high level players that play at the elite travel clubs (Chicago Sockers, etc.) The coaching that happens at the elite club level is good coaching, it's just that it's targeted at winning games at the U-12, U-14, U-16 level, rather than skill development, which is why American players are usually fast and strong but haven't refined their touch, the ability to hold the ball, and imagination. What largely wins those games are tackling, playing the ball immediately into space (either wide or to the back line) and allowing fast players to run onto it, and winning the ball in the air.

Those teams are also focused excessively on players from relatively well off backgrounds (as they're run as for profit enterprises). Moving the club teams out of the primary development role is vital, but will likely produce a big backlash.


August 8th, 2011 at 12:18 PM ^

This is how it works overseas.  They bring you up through their developmental teams to mold you as a player.  I did a similar thing when i was 13 overseas.  It's esential a comittment to a team.


August 8th, 2011 at 2:16 PM ^

Depends on the terms of the contract.  Generally a contract that young is with a team on a year to year basis, and the players are not necesarilly getting paid till then.  And until they really get paid they are not usually bound to that particular team.  But some players that teams fall in love with, like Rooney, Messi, or even Adu, were tied up from early on by their team.  Soccer is just crazy! So much money gets tossed around for players.


August 8th, 2011 at 2:50 PM ^

I think the rule in Spain is you can't sign a professional contract until you are 18 but in England (and possibly other European countries) you can sign a professional contract at the age of 16. This means that clubs like Barcelona sometimes have to compete to keep players that have been training at La Masia for years. In the case of Hector Bellerin and Jon Toral, two Barca academy prospects who turned down Barca to sign with Arsenal this summer, there is a "development fee" paid as compensation by Arsenal to Barca (roughly Eur 1 million for the two of them).


August 8th, 2011 at 1:40 PM ^

I think the problem with Chinese gymnastics is that those girls are taken from their families and forced to train specifically for gymnastics. If a Chinese girl who happens to be a year or two younger than her American counterpart is actually a better gymnast, why deny her the recognition based solely on her age. Her young age at competition is not the issue (and who knows if these girls even truly know their own age), the issue here is that she was taken from her family and forced to do this.

This kid probably has had much more freedom in his choice to practice soccer (sure his parents may have strongly encouraged it, but how is that different from American parents?). I don't think that the "tragedy" here is the same as that in China.


August 8th, 2011 at 1:06 PM ^

This is normal, just a bit younger than normal.

I played international soccer on U20 teams for the US and while playing in England I played against kids that were recruited and went to soccer academies run by their respective clubs (Manchester, Blackburn, etc).   These kids played soccer (trained) for 8 hrs a day and then did schoolwork afterward.  These were like athletic universities for kids.  It's been going on forever.


August 8th, 2011 at 2:50 PM ^

Anyone watch that Man City Man U game yesterday?  If the EPL has games like that all year long, I can't wait for Saturday's and Sunday mornings.  EPL should be highly competetive this year.