Academy 25 May 2023, 06:41

Gambardella, U17, Elite Group... A look back at the Academy's season

Gambardella, U17, Elite Group... A look back at the Academy's season
It's the end of the 2022-2023 season for the young talents of La Diagonale. Looking back at the seasons for the U17 or U19 in the league, winning the Coupe Gambardella or even the signing of pro contracts, here is everything to remember from this rich year.

It was a season full of emotions! Recognized for the quality of its training center, AS Monaco once again lived up to its reputation this year. So after the last victory on the part of the Elite Group, against Lyon (2-3), which was the final match of the season for all the teams of the Academy, here’s a look at the season that was. We’ve taken this occasion to focus on the highlights in each category, with the main attraction of course being the win in the Coupe Gambardella. 🔙

U-17s: A well-deserved place on the podium 🥈

Let’s start with the youngest of the academy’s teams. Neck and neck with rivals Nice throughout the year, the Monegasque U17s had big wins against Castelnau (6-1) and against ASPPT Marseille (5-0), but also in the Derby (3-2). These displays of attacking football allowed AS Monaco to finish with the second-best attack in the league, with 72 goals scored in just 26 rounds of play!

Unfortunately, Manu Dos Santos’s charges came very close to qualifying for the age category play-offs by also finishing second with a record of 18 wins, three draws and five losses. Several players made a name for themselves over the course of the season like Nacim Dendani, who finished as top scorer with 22 goals.

Five Gambardella winners

Dendani also participated in the Gambardella adventure with four teammates: Joan Tincres, MVP of the Academy for the month of April, Aladji Bamba, Ilane Touré and Pape Cabral, who scored in the final. It was thus a successful year for the U17s, which saw many of them being called up for the French team at age level (Tincres, Cabral, Mokabakila), or moved into higher categories (Aladji Bamba), proof of the progress they’ve made.

U19: Towards the professional world’ 🏋‍♂

For their part, the U-19s finished the season in fifth place. And once again, it was the strength of the Rouge et Blanc attack that stood out, with 56 goals scored, the best attack among the 13 other teams. The match against Blagnac was the best example of this, with a 7-0 win, or another against Béziers more recently (4-1).

Several of Frédéric Barilaro’s players stood out throughout the year, earning them call-ups to the national team (Sitou, Coudour, Bouabré and Sinaté). Better yet, Mamadou Coulibaly, Ritchy Valme and Lucas Michal have recently signed their first professional contracts with the Club. This is in addition to having joined the Elite Group, and participating with their U-19 teammates in winning the Gambardella.

Elite Group: A baptism by fire 🆕

With the desire to get as close as possible to the rhythm of the first team and to experience other footballing cultures, the team led by Damien Perrinelle ended its first season with a very positive record (18 wins, 3 draws and 13 defeats). The Elite Group thus had the opportunity to face teams from all over the continent, from Switzerland, to Portugal, to England to the Netherlands, Norway and Germany.

These included some convincing results, such as a win at Old Trafford against Manchester United (0-2), a victory against West Ham (2-1), and prestigious clashes against European teams also renowned for their training such as Bayern Munich or Ajax Amsterdam.

If we think first of winning, we are on the wrong track. It is the sum of our actions, if we do things well, that will make us more likely to win in the end. Victory must be incidental for the Elite Group. And in this second half of the season, it's true that there were a lot of wins, but above all there was player development. Some joined the first team, in training but also playing with the pros, and others joined us during the season. This is why the balance sheet should be seen as positive come the end of the season.
Damien PerrinelleManager, Elite Group

From the Elite Group to a nomination for the best young player

A veritable trampline for intergration into the first team, the Elite Group notably saw Eliesse Ben Seghir and Edan Diop join Philippe Clement’s side during the season, making their first team debuts in Rouge et Blanc. Opening his account with a brilliant display against Auxerre and another against Strasbourg, the native of Cogolin has been nominated in the Trophées UNFP as the best young player in Ligue 1.

The Elite Group also has many internationals in its ranks, including Nazim Babaï, Mayssam Benama, Malamine Efekele, Yann Lienard, Jordan Semedo Varela and Béchir Yacoub).

Coupe Gambardella: An unforgettable triumph 🏆

At the end of a run consisting of only away matches (Vénissieux, Aubagne, Nancy, Rouen, Nantes and Pau) the charger of the duo of Frédéric Barilaro and Manu Dos Santos managed to overcome all the obstacles on their way to reach the Stade de France.e.

A symbol of the Academy’s depth, there was even a player from each age category at the start of the season among the scorers in the final (Tincres-Cabral from the U17s, Bouabré from the U19s and Benama from the Elite Group).

I told them that I was proud of them and of the run they had because we played all our games away. This is a good sign. Now I'm happy for the Club and I wish them good luck for the future.
Frédéric BarilaroAfter winning the Coupe Gambardella

And it is partly thanks to this clever mix of talented young players from the three categories of La Diagonale that AS Monaco won the fifth Coupe Gambardella in their history. It’s the best possible reward for the work done by all those involved in the Academy, players, staff and coaches. Bravo to all! 🇲🇨

Rise. Risk. Repeat.