cayman togashi

Japan’s Cinderella Boy is a tax-haven fairytale

There are not many footballers named after tax havens. But it is not just his name which makes Cayman Togashi unique. The Yokohama F Marinos striker is enjoying a rags-to-riches twelve months that has seen Japanese media label him the Cinderella Boy. Until last summer he was a struggling university player but now he is at…

sullay kaikai

Sullay Kaikai shows hard work + talent + chance = success

Talent in football is nothing without dedication and persistence. Few players demonstrate this more powerfully than Sullay Kaikai of Crystal Palace. His talent is considerable but it is commitment and diligence that have got him to the verge of his Premier League debut. But his start at the club was not exactly prodigious. Kaikai was 15…

cesare maldini youth coach italy golden generation

Cesare Maldini taught Italy how to win the World Cup

Cesare Maldini, who has passed away at the age of 84, was an AC Milan legend and one of the most successful coaches in the history of European youth football. Under his tutelage Italy won an unprecedented three consecutive UEFA Under 21 titles in 1992, 1994 and 1996. He was coach of the full national…

yeferson soteldo zamora venezuela

Yeferson Soteldo The Little Big Man

Footballers come in all shapes and sizes but not many are shorter than Yeferson Soteldo. The 18-year-old is the biggest and smallest talent in Venezuelan football. He stands at just 160cm tall. Lionel Messi is short but Soteldo is a full ten centimetres shorter than the Argentinian giant. If you are 160cm and want to…

asia afc u23 qatar rio olympics

AFC U23 Preview

The Asian Under 23 Championship starts in Qatar today, the prize for the top three teams is a ticket to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. South Korea, Japan and the UAE were Asia’s representatives at London 2012.  There is no standout team this time around with several  strong contenders capable of qualification. Here we…

most valuable teenagers europe big 5 leagues

The Most Valuable Teenagers in Europe

The estimable CIES Football Observatory have ranked the most valuable players in Europe’s Big 5 leagues. Unsurprisingly Lionel Messi tops the list, valued at a colossal €250.7 million. Neymar is in second place ahead of Eden Hazard, Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane. Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur tops the list of valuable teenagers. The CIES…

kristoffer ajer norway

Does it matter if Norway’s footballers grow up abroad?

Kristoffer Ajer is literally a huge prospect, perhaps the biggest in Norway. At 196cm the 17-year-old towers over opponents in the Tippeligaen and has already achieved big things in his first year as a professional. He made his debut for IK Start in July 2014, scored his first goal in September and captained them against…

christoph waltz wunderkind advice

Oscar winning wunderkind advice

What is talent without opportunity? The career of Oscar winning actor Christoph Waltz carries a powerful message for any young footballer. In the latest edition of caffeine laced thrill mag Red Bulletin he talks about his difficulties in reaching the top of his profession. “In the early years of my career I was doing insanely…

pyongyang youth north korea academy football

How they do in Pyongyang

As part of our series looking at different youth systems around the world we take a look at North Korea’s national academy. North Korea have had phenomenal success in recent years at the various Asian youth championships. They were runners-up at last year’s Under 19 Championships and won it in 2006 and 2010. They won the…

mile svilar new courtois belgium serbia anderlecht chelsea

The new Courtois?

If Mile Svilar ever needs advice on the pressures of being a goalkeeper he doesn’t have far to go. His father, Ratko, played for Yugoslavia and was keeper for Royal Antwerp for 16 years. The younger Svilar rejected offers from some of Europe’s top clubs to sign a professional contract with Anderlecht on his 16th…

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