JEDDAH: Promising young footballers in Saudi Arabia are set to benefit from a partnership between the Saudi Scholarship for Developing Football Talent Program and Spanish club Real Sociedad — one of the most historic clubs in La Liga.
For several months in the past year, the Kingdom’s best players aged between 18 and 21, known as the “Future Falcons,” have been training at an elite performance center in Salou, Spain.
The training is overseen by world-class coaches and involves competition against leading European teams as part of a four-year football scholarship system to improve and develop talent.
Now, thanks to a new agreement with Real Sociedad that extends the number of partners of the Saudi program, members of the Future Falcons will be able to immerse themselves in one of the most professional clubs in Europe.
The club's coaching setup has produced homegrown stars such as former World Cup winner Xabi Alonso, and is responsible for helping the club claim two Spanish Liga titles, two Copas del Rey and one Spanish Supercopa during its illustrious 110-year history.
Real Sociedad also reached the Copa del Rey final, ensuring the club’s participation in the next Spanish Supercopa, which will take place in Saudi Arabia for the second successive season.
Sports Minister Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal said: “For these young players, experience is everything. They are learning their profession. That is why establishing relationships with the right partners is vital and why we’re so pleased to confirm an agreement with Real Sociedad, a club that we look forward to welcoming to the Kingdom in the near future during the Supercopa.
“Beyond being one of the most historic football clubs in Spain, with a passion for the beautiful game, it is well known for taking special care of developing young talents. I am sure this partnership will help create the ideal pathway for all our players, giving them the opportunity advance and learn from one of the top clubs.”
The partnership gives young Saudi talent direct access to training with Real Sociedad youth teams and allows them to take part in Real Sociedad friendly matches.
The Saudi Scholarship for Developing Football Talent Program is an investment by the Ministry of Sports in the future of Saudi football. The program offers an elite development platform to the Kingdom’s leading young footballers.
During the four-year period, players will also join European teams on loan depending on their profile and development needs — a last step before returning to their teams of origin in Saudi Arabia.