Buoyed by the performances in recent years, with a Gambardella Youth Cup in 2011 and the U19 national championship in 2013, but also the number of academy graduates impressing with the first team, the club has launched a new project: "AS Monaco Soccer School". The project's technical director Riccardo Pecini explains the idea: "It's an important project that is part of our strategy to develop the Academy. In addition to a extensive scouting network, this school is a chance to get closer to young footballers, to play a role in the early years and follow their progress closely. The project also serves to develop the image of AS Monaco FC. Today, everyone knows the club has recruited a number of world class players. But we also want to promote the club's identity and the development of the academy is an important part of that." The first AS Monaco Soccer School was inaugurated on Monday 21 October 2013 in Salgueiros, Portugal, in the presence of Joao Moutinho. The latter enjoyed the brief trip back home: "I'm very happy to be here. It's also a big moment for the club to open this Soccer School. It's a great intiative and I hope one day one of these young players comes to Monaco. I have come here to launch the project, but also to motivate the young players." It's not by chance that it's in Portugal where AS Monaco FC decided to open their first Soccer School. "Football is almost a religion here in Portgual," explained Riccardo Pecini. "The kids here all play football, they are passionate and determined. The numbers have backed up our choice because as soon as the Soccer School opened, we already have 400 kids! The fact that the club boasts Portuguese players such as Joao Moutinho and Ricardo Carvalho was an important factor. Having said that, football is a universal sport and we will be opening new Soccer Schools elsewhere very soon."
Ten Soccer Schools to open before the end of the year
No less than ten AS Monaco Soccer Schools will be opened before the end of 2013! Four more inaugurations are planned in Portugal, two in Spain, two in Italy and one in Guinea. And in France? Riccardo Pecini declared: "Our number one aim remains to attract the best young French players. We will continue to work a lot in France and we have scouts everywhere. We have an excellent network that knows exactly what is happening on the pitches of France. But given the club's ambitions, we also have to be present internationally. While the principle of the Soccer Schools is already well-known in the countries we are going to, it is not the case in France. We need to make the project known in France first and our ten schools will be a great way to do that. " The idea is simple. The name of the club is present in the "AS Monaco Soccer School" and the young players wear AS Monaco FC equipment. But the most important thing is the technical emphasis placed on the education of our young players. "Each and every coach in out Soccer Schools is trained in our style and playing philosophy so that it is transferred to all the young players," explained Riccardo Pecini. "The goal is to give the children all the necessary tools to succeed in this project that also plays an important social role. Every partnership school has a system in place for the children that whose parents can't pay the entry fees, that they are taking irrespectively." The full breadth of the project alone reveals what an ambitious project it is, but the grains sown today will be baring fruit in the coming months, just as the work done over the years by the AS Monaco FC Youth Academy is also baring fruit in the current first-team squad.