MEDELLIN – FC Internazionale Milano has bolstered its presence in Colombia with the opening today of Inter Academy Antioquia in Medellin, the first of its kind in the country.
Inter treble winner and Colombian icon Ivan Ramiro Cordoba attended the event. The former defender, who spent 13 years at the club as a player, is now a member of the Nerazzurri legends team Inter Forever.
Inter Academy Antioquia will be run jointly by FC Internazionale Milano and Inversiones Ramirez Vargas, a Colombian company which specialises in organising sports events, following the signing of a five-year partnership agreement. The project represents the first step towards developing high-level coaching courses for youngsters and coaches in Colombia.
Joining Ivan Ramiro Cordoba at the inauguration in Medellin were Inter Academy project director Barbara Biggi, Inter Academy Antioquia president Jaime Alirio Vargas, sporting and administrative director Gunther Ramírez Londoño and strategic director Rafael Vasquez Mejia.
“I am honoured to be here today representing Inter in my homeland, Colombia,” said Ivan Ramiro Cordoba. “I have always had a special relationship with Inter. I spent 13 seasons there, played 455 games and enjoyed many wonderful times with my team-mates.
“All kids want to play football so I’m delighted that Inter Academy – a project which spreads football training methods and healthy values around the world – can now help Colombian children dream. At the heart of Inter and Inter Academy’s philosophy is the desire to share technical expertise, training coaches and children in their own countries while respecting international football rules and ethical standards. As a Colombian and an Interista, I’m extremely proud that Inter Academy are here – especially as it’s all starting in my home town Medellin.”
“This partnership is a big step forward for football coaching in our country,” noted Inter Academy Antioquia president Jaime Alirio Vargas. “We’re proud to have Inter’s professionalism and experience to help us develop youth football in the Antioquia region. It’s also very exciting to have Ivan Cordoba here with us as he’s an idol for Colombians.”
This latest Inter Academy project will provide an educational programme in line with the children’s development, starting with activities designed specifically for the youngest kids up to a competitive level with the older participants and the creation of Elite Teams.
Three schools will take part in the project initially, with 100 youngsters aged 6 to 17 having already pre-enrolled. Two Inter coaches will work on site during the start-up phase to coordinate and train the 10 local coaches. Senior technical operations manager Aldo Montinaro will initiate the coaching activities together with Valerio Ringoli, who will then stay on in Colombia as the first permanent coach.
As well as in Colombia, Inter Academy operates in Argentina, Brazil, China, Japan and Saudi Arabia, with 15,000 youngsters, 200 local instructors and 30 Italian coaches taking part. The project is the international face of Inter’s youth academy, which is renowned both for its notable on-field and the ability of its coaches to develop and mentor budding professional footballers.
Inter Academies train men first and footballers second. The sense of ethical responsibility that defines the project is a direct reflection of the history and philosophy of FC Internazionale Milano itself. Respect for others, active participation in group life, exchanging ideas and sharing both victories and defeats are essential parts of the Academy ethos, representing shared learning experiences for the players involved.
The cohesive technical strategy shared between Milan and the other centres around the world is the cornerstone of the project. It’s what makes it unique and ensures that every Inter Academy in the world is a direct extension of the club’s youth academy.
At the very heart of the project is a focus on technical ability. All Inter Academy coaches spend years gaining experience in Inter’s youth academy network, meaning the standard of training methods is very high. Indeed, the club’s experience and success in youth football were among the main reasons why the decision was taken to share the methods used at the youth academy in Milan with the rest of the world.
Yet what truly motivated Inter to export its methodology was the desire for every child to have the opportunity to develop and train at the high technical and ethical standards proposed by Inter close to home – the natural place for them to grow as human beings.
We take particular care to pass on our expertise to local coaches, because improving the standard of coaching at a local level represents a crucial step in building a system that can ensure the development of youth football.