MIAMI, Fla. (January 6, 2019) —
In order to grow the club as a global brand, Real Club Deportivo Espanyol de Barcelona is developing a network of academies around the world.
The newest such fútbol school has opened in Brisbane, Australia.
This internationalisation model kicked off in the 2016/17 season with the launch of two academies and the growth has been gradual since then, reaching the curen position of 11 RCDE Academy sites.
Albert Saus is the manager of the club’s schools and academies department, He had this to say: “We work to create quality local projects around the world and the academy is at the heart of that. We have now reached Oceania, in the city of Brisbane, through an academy that will start activity at the beginning of February 2020.”
RCD Espanyol de Barcelona look at its academy not simply as a place to groom future players but literally as an extension of its brand. The club is creating a global model, opening centres around the world that will introduce the club not just to new players, but to create lifelong fans.
Global academies and football camps
The objective of these academies is to take the identity of RCD Espanyol de Barcelona academy to new territories, where boys and girls between the ages of four and 15 can improve their skills and the 119-year story of the club can be shared.
With the academy in Brisbane, the club is now present across all continents. In addition to Brisbane, RCD Espanyol de Barcelona is also based in Algiers and Tizi Ouzou (Algeria), in Saitama (Japan), in Jersey City, New Jersey (USA), in Baghdad (Iraq), in Helsinki (Finland), in Stockholm (Sweden) and in Shanghai, Shouguang and Hunan (China).
In total, RCD Espanyol has 1,085 boys and girls are training with the club.
In addition to the network of academies, Espanyol has created a football camps program.
Associated with the academies, the RCDE Football Camps consist of standalone training events designed to engage new playing talent around the world. When this project started three years ago, the club held six camps abroad. This year, 29 have already been held. Extending its global reach further, these camps have been carried out in Canada, The USA, Colombia, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Kazakhstan and Japan, among others.
RCD Espanyol de Barcelona now has the second most academies in La Liga that are supervised by club directors.
Growth in China
RCD Espanyol has invested greatly in China. The Catalan side has three of its international academies in the country. Alongside its Chinese ownership, this year’s signing of Chinese forward Wu Lei has helped to boost the club’s standing and presence here. It opened its third academy in China in the months following the signing as interest in the club grew rapidly. In addition, a new RCD Espanyol de Barcelona fan club was established in Shanghai.
Saus explained: “Since [club owners] Rastar Group arrived at the club, our international presence has accelerated, although not only in China. The signing of Wu Lei helped us on the pitch and he also became an ambassador for the club in China. This goes in tandem with the three club academies in China.”
Consolidation in North America and other opportunities
Outside of Asia, the club maintains significant ambitions for growth and is working on consolidating its presence in North America. At the same time, it is also studying opportunities in India and possibly Central Africa.
Espanyol’s strategy definitely brings people from around the world closer to the club. “We want to build brand identity through our youth football because that helps to generate a sense of belonging,” Saus says. “We are seeing more and more members of our international programs joining our club in Spain or becoming fans, which increases our global network significantly.”
Russo Law and Soccer Briefs offers a quick glance on stories making news in the world of football.