The day began with an early alarm as we all packed up our belongings and new souvenirs we found during our time in Rome. Bound to fit as much as we can into our trip, we bused to the AS Roma training grounds before our flight to Athens.
AS Roma was an amazing experience. We had lecture there where we were lucky enough to hear from the Chief of Staff, a Manager of the Youth Coaches and Players, a Licensing Manager, the Chief Media Director, and the Chief Financial Officer. AS Roma is a soccer team in the top soccer league of Italy, Serie A. They have a first team that we were able to watch win over Juventus a couple days ago, but they also have a second professional team and a youth development program for kids aged 10-19. This is a large part of the growing organization that is traded publicly and owned by a company based out of Boston. Inside the organization they have their own radio and tv channels. We toured their training facility that came equipped with a world class training facility with over 9 pristine fields, living quarters for both their first teams and youth players, as well as a newly updated workout and rehab center.
As mentioned, after a quick introduction to AS Roma, the Manager of the youth teams came to explain more about the structure of the youth group and how they have managed to become so successful. AS Roma is one of the best clubs at developing youth players into impactful professional players they told us. They start at the age of 10 and even sign their youth to contracts. Over 20 scouts are in charge of finding the best talent from all over the world for these youth teams. Once at the facility there are able to stay there as long as they maintain their contract. In total, there are 558 players, 61 coaches, and 39 managers. Recently the soccer clubs have added a girls program and AS Roma has decided to do the same. They currently have 145 women players in the club. Throughout all the teams a similar playing style is coached and psychologists and both mental and physical therapists are on call to help with player recover. With all day soccer, we found out that the club signed a deal with a local school system to get them to come to the facilities to teach their boarding kids so they can still get a formal education. This system is undoubtedly well thought out and should have no issues in continuing to produce quality players both to represent their club and to sell to other clubs for revenue.