Stefano Braghin in GOAL: “Women’s football is growing in Italy”

Braghin, head of Juventus Women, told GOL: “We are thinking about a long-term project. Italy U19 at the European? I think the groups will pass.”

Europeans under 19 are ready, the growth of Juventus Women. Stefano Braghinby the HCL women’s team, exclusively at GOAL it gave a broad view of what has been done and what is yet to be done and is underway.

When did you join Juventus?

“I came to Juventus in 2012. I ran the Men’s Spring until 2018, in the meantime I started the women’s project and then I had to choose between the two. At a certain point it was necessary to make a choice. In the end, I “I’ve been in the club for a long time, but recently in the women’s field.”

When did you choose the women’s project?

“In 2015 the Federation decided that every men’s professional club should have a women’s team. It was one of the requirements to participate in Serie A at the time of registration, so it was absolutely mandatory. So we started A curious story is that on the first open day there were three girls, one in flip-flops.It started here and after seven years we already have about 200 young people.We have nine under 9 teams to sub 19. All categories are covered.This means a lot in 7. I think we are offering them a great service, but it probably also means that women’s football is growing very fast in our country.

“People are probably starting to trust the project more. In Italy it’s not difficult to have people playing football. What was missing was the right situation to do it. This is a very Catholic and old-fashioned country, so maybe the prejudice towards Women’s football was still very strong. Playing football in such an environment, in such a club, probably eliminates most people’s prejudices. “

Why did you choose the women’s project?

“It was something really new. I think there was more future. Ideally, after 25 years in this industry, I really feel like I can be more useful on the female side to transfer what I’ve learned to my career, rather than in man.

The big open days. Is that how it all started?

“No, we started from the beginning. We bought the rights to participate in Serie A from a local team, because it was something that the rules allowed at the time. It all started from there. We started working on the Considering that this area, Piedmont, is a pretty difficult area in that sense because we have the mountain.We have a lot and a lot of other sports, like volleyball, basketball, and there are few teams.Girls usually start with another sport, and then, as a second option, they come to football. That doesn’t help much in terms of the quality of recruitment. “

The girls at the Academy don’t live there, do they?

“No, there’s not enough space. They train and play in a couple of facilities in this area, a couple of miles from here. There are two different training centers that we share with other clubs and that’s a pity because obviously we have to force the training program a bit and adapt it. There is not enough space here. We are the latest arrivals, so we have to adapt. “

What are your plans?

“What I asked for is that in the lower categories, Under 9, Under 10, Under 11, we still have to do a lot. Because in Italy we only have about 30,000 registered players and the rest of the countries have 300,000. 9. until the age of 12/13, we really try to recruit everyone who wants to play for the club. Then, from the age of 14, what we would like is to increase the quality and start having relationships with the local teams. ”

Do women’s teams play against men’s?

“Yes, at the moment we are doing it because in our leagues there is not much competitiveness. Normally our teams, especially in regional competitions, win for example by 20-0. So the under 15s play the under 17 championship and the under 17. 17 team play men’s under 15 championship. under 19 must play the under 19 championship. Our under 16 is currently playing a men’s competition “.

Is there any advantage in this?

“100%. In terms of the intensity of the game, the strength. You have to play faster, make decisions faster because of the pressure you’re not used to. At 15 I prefer them to play against girls, maybe more big but girls, because we are still in that phase where you learn the game, how to play, the position. In the Under 17 you have probably learned most of what you need to know, but you have to do it faster. in that sense, the masculine one is probably the right environment. “

The championship is getting better.

“There’s still a big difference with the top three or four teams, but the others are getting closer. I’m sure in a couple of years we’ll be there.”

Professionalism will also help.

“It will improve the terms of game development and we expect sustainability, because now professionalism also means a lot of costs for clubs. No business plan has been developed on exactly how to support it. I’m a little worried about how it will work. without the help of the governing bodies. We are in a bit of difficulty in terms of numbers. Although we are obviously very happy for our players. “

Have you seen an increase in the figures compared to 2019?

“Yes, 100%. Thanks to two factors. First of all, the fact that professional clubs can be part of the competition. Somehow, the men’s football fan is starting to feel involved in some way. The other is the World Cup, a fantastic opportunity for Italy because in the summer of 2019 there were no matches. On the men’s front there were no competitions and as I said before, in this country if there is a match on television They started to know the players, the names, the stories.It was the key moment.The other turning point was our way to the Champions this season, because people are starting to know a new competition I think that was an important factor. “

Because maybe there is a five-year-old girl who goes to see Juventus in the Champions League and then wants to play …

“They start to learn, to make comparisons between the men’s and women’s Champions, to wait to one day play in them. They can see the different phases. When they play in certain stadiums or with a certain number of spectators. Young players want to play in them. “start playing. play. The numbers are growing very fast, to be honest. Now we have to be good as a system to keep standards high and make them grow fast as players.”

And this summer there is the European, and again there is no other tournament.

“Exactly. We hope Italy has a good European team. They have a very good team. They have a difficult group because they are with Iceland, Belgium and France. People will be very interested. I hope so. The team is good.”

How important is the integration of young people into the first team, not just for that team or for Joe, but for the whole club?

“It’s very important for us. The player with the most appearances at Juventus is Arianna Caruso, who is 22. She started playing here at 17 and played 136 games, so we’re not afraid to give the opportunity to the What I often say in my interviews is that I don’t really understand this difference between old and young players, because for me the only difference in football is good or not good. “Champions League. League match against Servette in Geneva we had eight players under 23. On the pitch. For a very new team, it’s not bad at all.”

You have some very good young women.

“They’re all forwards, so they fight for the same places! That’s going to be Joe’s problem, of course, not mine. But we have three or four top-tier profiles between 2004 and 2006. There are three or four, “Then we have a very good base, not at the top, but very good. They can still improve. In a couple of years, there are more and more home players who can play as a team.”

There are more Juventus players in the national team for the European Under-19 Women than any other team …

“There are seven or eight, because we immediately start investing in young players. Other clubs – I’m not saying it’s better or worse – prefer to go buy foreign players and are very focused on the first team. We prefer to think about it. a project.in the long term.Of course, we have to win because when you are in this club you have to win.But instead, we leave a part of the budget for young people and start with footballers born in 2003, and in ’04, ’05 , ’06 we start to bring here all the best players in the country.Most of them stay and that’s why we have a lot of them.I think all the goals in the qualifying phase were scored.of the Juventus players.This is good. Now we have to be consistent because Juventus, from the beginning, have always done very good things. This is our next challenge. “

Do you plan to expand the Women’s Academy?

“Yes, we have to do it. I’m still thinking about creating a club, or maybe having a second club where I can grow and finally come back. Because with big numbers you run the risk of lacking quality. Instead, you need to. consider that this country is very young in terms of women’s football and it is not very easy to find good coaches.We are also developing coaches internally.I have a very young team of coaches and I want to build their way within the club so it takes “Having a lot of equipment, but not the right coaches, doesn’t make much sense.”

Have you managed to bring in a lot of men’s team coaches?

“At first, yes. We have a lot of them. Now we start looking around. We start to be more attractive, because our project is attractive. But yes, 60-70% are male academy coaches. It’s easy because “I’ve been directing for many years and obviously if I have to think of a manager, I know him so well that I find it easy to go straight to him, maybe instead of looking around. But in any case, they have been mentally and technically trained to train girls. There is no real generation of coaches and personally I think there is a real need for coaches dedicated to women because the game is one, the way of play is different.The declination of the male and female model does not work. You have to exploit your model for women. “

When someone retires from the women’s first team, you have to enter …

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“I’ve already signed some, they have to stay! We’re creating a generation of coaches.”

Have you managed to bring a lot of experience to the men’s team?

“Yes, yes. On the field, yes. For football, yes, because there are many things that the players did not do in the past and therefore you can transfer your experience. The most difficult thing was the relationship with the locker room female … because the man is completely different, the mentality.I have to learn.I can’t wait for them to change.I’m the one who has to change.After five years, I understood the dynamics and I learned a lot from that point of view and I have surely transferred some knowledge to the other side, the technique “.

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