The Malta Independent 15 April 2024, Monday
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MCS embracing the SL Benfica methodology

Sunday, 17 March 2024, 05:54 Last update: about 29 days ago

George Micallef

The Mediterranean College of Sport’s recent signing of a technical partnership with the world-renowned Portuguese football academy, Sport Lisboa e Benfica, has confirmed the College’s ambition to become a beacon of excellence. The newly established independent college aims to provide a dynamic and vibrant learning environment for student-athletes through innovative methodologies that prioritise holistic individual student-athlete development.


The main aim of this agreement is for SL Benfica to provide the MCS with sports and training methodologies, knowledge, and technical know-how consultancy services, allocating an SL Benfica specialised technical coordinator to lead the MCS football programme within the College. Under this agreement the new technical football coordinator will be working with other coaches employed by the College.

SL Benfica’s academy is recognised by many as a leading football academy in the world. More than 15 Benfica academy graduates have competed in this year’s Champions League, including elite talents such as Bernardo Silva, Rúben Dias, João Cancelo, João Félix, João Neves, António Silva, and Gonçalo Ramos.

Throughout its history, SL Benfica has developed a unique system with the purpose of providing the best football training to young football players. SL Benfica have just been reconfirmed as the most profitable youth academy in world football. Big money academy player sales such as Joao Felix, Ruben Dias and Gonçalo Ramos developed at the Benfica Campus have contributed to Benfica’s staggering €516 million in revenue since 2014 on exclusively academy talent. SL Benfica have also not been shy to sell their top players to Premier League clubs, commanding massive fees for non-academy talent in Enzo Fernandez and Darwin Nunez just last season.

One is marvelled at the scale of Benfica's academy operation, with around 500 players under the guidance of 115 coaches and 90 supporting staff across five talent centres in Portugal. This dwarfs Premier League academies, which are limited to 250 players. However, Benfica's success transcends mere scale.

The academy's success hinges on its ability to provide a clear pathway to the first team, aiming to integrate two academy graduates into the senior squad annually.  Embracing players in the club's ethos from a young age (often between 6 and 12 years old), Benfica ensure their exposure to competitive football in the Portuguese reserve league, granting them an edge over peers in other countries.

Moreover, regional talent centres extend Benfica's reach across Portugal, sparing young players from relocating to Lisbon. Benfica's coaching philosophy adopts a modern approach, preparing players for the rigors of top-tier football in both domestic and European competitions. By challenging youth teams against older opponents and offering psychological support throughout training sessions, Benfica instils resilience and fortitude in its rising stars.

We firmly believe that the SL Benfica’s methodology and holistic education, embodying their club ‘mystique’ of values, very much aligns to what the College wants to stand for and envision. MCS core values emphasise ambition and passion, resilience and tenacity, humility and respect, and being creative and holistic.

Individual development will be our focus and driving force, but we want to give our student-athletes an all-round, holistic experience, and a life education they would not have in a normal school environment.

From day one, MCS coaches and professional staff will strive to improve the individual through an added value approach, seeking to establish a collaborative relationship with club-level coaches. Everything is about the individual, helping them to maximize their full potential. Nurturing personal and holistic development as we guide them through an amazing journey, providing an enriching experience and being a positive influence in life regardless of what they ultimately achieve. The journey is more important than the destination. The process is more important than the outcome.

Registrations for admission into MCS are currently open through the college's website, and for more information, you can contact MCS at [email protected] or on 7960 2024.


George Micallef is a Director of Sports Development and Recruitment of the Mediterranean College of Sport


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