Would you like your child to be coached using the same technique and methods that Benfica has used to develop young talents like Rui Costa and Bernardo Silva? Benfica elite training soccer camp gives participants from ages 13 to 18 a chance to improve their football thanks to a team of specialised coaches and the mindset that Benfica has used to guarantee their position as one of Portugal’s three best teams.
Benfica’s soccer camp offers one, two or three weeks of holiday that will help players develop their footballing technique and physical ability but will also educate them. There is a strong emphasis on teamwork, fair play, passion for the game and tactical understanding.
Portugal’s best teams have always been very reliant on teamwork, teammates doing their best off the ball to help each other and with a coherent system where everyone has a role suited to them. Portugal’s national team has been very successful in the last few years, winning the Euro 2018 and the Nation’s League a year later. Many point to Cristiano Ronaldo as the sole reason for this, and he has undoubtedly contributed massively. However, in the final of the Euros against France, Ronaldo was forced to be subbed off within the first fifteen minutes because of injury. Portugal prevailed almost through pure stubbornness, soaking up so much pressure and clinging on to a 0-0 draw in the first ninety minutes and snatching a goal in extra time to lift the trophy.
Youngsters might think that Ronaldo is undeniably Portugal’s best player, but Benfica fans would certainly make a case for their club’s best player: Eusebio. This striker spent fifteen of his twenty two year playing career at Benfica and he finished his career with 733 goals in 745 matches. He was designated penalty taker in his teams and yet missed only five in his whole career. He won everything that he could with Benfica including the European Cup and is known as Africa’s first excellent footballer and Benfica’s best.
One of the other contenders for the title of Benfica’s best player is Rui Costa. Known as ‘the Maestro’, Rui Costa had a touch that sometimes made the ball seem glued to his boot and he seemed to always grab a goal despite his position in midfield. It was actually Eusebio who scouted Rui Costa, overseeing a Benfica youngsters training and noticing his talent within ten minutes, and Costa was completely formed at Benfica, possibly their best ever academy graduate.
One of Benfica’s strength in recent years has been seemingly rejuvenating players, with them often finding joy in a different position than they had occupied in their career up to joining Benfica. A great example of this is Adel Taarabt. Taarabt’ bags of ability and capacity to glide past players had always led to him being an attacking midfielder or winger. At Benfica, he has reimagined himself as a box to box midfielder who is defensively solid, very hard working and able to pick up the ball and break the lines effectively. Many who saw him play in the Premier League have been legitimately shocked as he was previously seen as a troublemaker with the wrong attitude. Bruno Lage, Benfica’s manager, gave Taraabt a chance to reveal a new and improved player to the world and Taraabt has pounced on the opportunity.
The climate in Portugal is very warm, and it should be the idyllic location for a football camp. Players from all around the world congregate to the camp thanks to Benfica’s reputation as one of the best academies in the world. Any football loving child would love this camp.
Benfica elite training soccer camp takes place at the Benfica Campus, home to both professional Benfica teams and six youth teams. The impressive campus was built in 2005 and cost 15 million euros and there are currently plans underway to construct more in order to further the development of the youth teams. Benfica Campus is a short bus ride away from the accommodation that is included in the camp price.
Considering players will be attending the same campus as Benfica’s team, the sporting facilities are world-class. The nineteen hectares that the campus spans include nine soccer pitches as well as sixteen dressing rooms and two gymnasiums for more physical training.
Of the nine pitches, six are grass fields and three are synthetic fields. Trainings will usually take place on the synthetic fields, as during the summer they tend to be better, especially for regular trainings. The biggest grass pitch is home to Benfica B team, with a capacity of 2 708 spectators.
There is also a football research facility where individual fitness and physical ability can be observed more closely, so that individualised feedback can be given in order to improve.
The two auditoriums and the conference room are good settings for tactical lessons and speaking to all participants of the camp. Finally, there is a meeting room with Internet and games where players will get to spend some time.
Players will stay at the beautiful Hotel Aldeia Dos Capuchos Golf and Spa. The facilities at the hotel are all high quality, and the rooms will usually be triple rooms with en-suite bathrooms.
Although the players will obviously not be able to take advantage of the blissful golf course and spa, parents are welcome to also stay at the hotel if they want to (there is even a day when practice will be open to the public). The hotel also offers an incredible view of the sea, and is located in a tourist space that is used to hosting tourists from all over the world.
The hotel provides a very comfortable setting for visitors, complete with business rooms, an exercise centre, swimming pools and everything else you or you child could want.
All three meals of the day are provided for the players, as well as snacks during the week. It will usually take the form of buffet with food specifically thought of in order to give the players a balanced diet to help with progress and recovery.
Breakfast and dinner take place at the hotel while lunch and the 4 PM snack are given at the Benfica Campus.
A tour of the club’s stadium and museum will be organised for the campers to enjoy. The tour includes a panoramic view of the stadium, the chance to explore the dressing rooms and trophy room, a walk through the tunnel and the opportunity to meet Gloria, Vitoria and Luz, the eagles that are Benfica’s officials mascots.
Each camper will also receive a kit delivery, which they will train in and will then be allowed to take home with them. Additionally, there will be a chance for some shopping at the end of the week if they desire to buy something more.
Both at the Benfica Campus and at the hotel, there will always be a member of staff available for the children whatever the time of day it is.
There is no need to worry about security, as there has never been an issue before and the hotel will also have staff working at night available to help the children if there are any issues at all.
Players participating in Benfica elite training soccer camp will be divided into three different groups dependent mostly on age but also on footballing level. To participate, players need to be registered so the level of football is advanced from the beginning.
Having been divided, the groups will have training sessions developed specifically for teenagers. They will aim to develop the player’s technical, tactical, physical and psychological skills in both an individual and a group context, as they are both different skills that need to be improved.
The campers will train for a total of five hours every day and will have the opportunity to impress the Sport Lisboa e Benfica’s Technical and Scouting Departments, who will be monitoring the camps for exceptional players.
To work on players’ technique, there will be specific drills like passing, shooting or dribbling drills. The atmosphere of competition and desire to impress tends to push the teenagers as far as they can and the friendly rivalries are ideal to motivate the players.
The tactical development of the players is one of the most important things for their age and the coaches will make sure to explain various roles and duties of each player in their various positions.
To improve physically will happen without any specific drills as your child will be playing several hours of football every day, but there are also specific drills to work on important parts of fitness for football: sprinting, endurance and strength for example.
Psychological skills will similarly be improved at the same time as the rest of skills. Coaches will implement strategies for players to take on board, and they will be applicable to life outside of football as well, as they are lessons about working hard to achieve what you want and using help when you need it, for example.
The head coach is named Pedro Marques and he has a list of relevant certifications so that you can be sure your child is in capable hands. He is also the Technical Director of Sport Lisboa and Benfica’s Youth Football. Coaching sessions will be in English or Portuguese.
At the end of the week, there will be a closing ceremony where various prizes will be awarded. The Eusebio prize will be for the best player of all the camp, the Rui Costa prize will be for the best player of each team, the Aguia D’ouro prize will be for the best goalkeeper at the camp and finally the Mistica prize for the player with best commitment and attitude.
The camp offers a specific goalkeeping option for both boys and girls. The keepers will do drills that help them improve as keepers such as handling, positioning, diving and kicking while the players concentrate on outfield skills.
For one week in the summer, the camp will only be open to girls in order to give more chances for girls to get into top soccer camps.
The campers should aim to arrive on the morning of their first day of camp in order to make sure that they do not miss out on anything. Arriving in the afternoon is not a problem but it is when the opening ceremony takes place, so if arrival before this is possible, it is encouraged greatly. More information will be given when you register for the camp.
Address: Benfica Campus, 2840-600 Seixal, Portugal
Closest airport: Lisbon Airport
Closest train stations: Barreiro and Fogueteiro
Participants must arrive on the first day of camp.
After collecting their bags, the players will go through customs and should see some of the camp staff with large signs waiting to take them to the hotel. The journey from the airport to the hotel should take around 30 minutes. Make sure to check the Unaccompanied Minor (UM) regulations on the airline you book to make sure that everything goes smoothly.