Youth development shop with an international philosophy

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CFR Cluj from Kolozsvar won, BATE Boriszov came in second and Fulham FC took third place at the fifth annual Future Cup organized in the XVI.th. District of Budapest. The tournament for U12 age-group hosted 16 teams from 8 different countries of those almost all of them were first division clubs.

The quality of this tournament organized by FC Budapest is evident by the teams that have participated so far, such as FC Barcelona in previous years. The host club specifically works as a youth development organization is less know so far in Hungary, however if they keep-up the cooperation with such big name clubs from Europe they for sure get a name for themselves. The assurance for quality work is the founder of the club, Henrik Czuk, who successfully trained youngsters at FTC, Újpest and Dalnoki Akadémia. He holds a UEFA A license and admits that he enjoys the selection of talent the best in his job and claims he developed about 30 first division pro-players in Hungary. Some of the well-known players that came up under his hands were Zsolt Korcsmár, Olivér Nagy, Dávid Barczi, Adrián Szekeres and Botond Antal.

After leaving FTC he brought Dalnoki Akadémia to function as a youth development hub and a couple of years after that FC Budapest. “I enjoyed working at Fradi (FTC) and our team was successful, but later when the whole club went through a dissension period, I had enough and founded a new club, Dalnoki as the football school for FTC. I took eight kids with me from FTC and they accused me of stealing from their club. I went on anyway and the academy started working well from March of 2007. At this time only the best quality players signed up with us from all over the place and soon there were 90 kids in our club. We competed in the best international tournaments and achieved success after success.

Some of the best Hungarian football academies approached us and offered cooperation. I was looking for a partnership in which I could plan for a long-term that would be best for our club and its players. There was not enough time for this, because our biggest financial supporter went behind my back and made an agreement with MTK club. Therefore I left them and started to work out a long-time dream of mine. I went with 16 kids and a bag of soccer balls from practically zero to found FC Budapest.”

Czuk discovered the local government in the XVI.th. District of Budapest where the leadership supported the local sports and partnered up with them where to this day is enjoying much help, such as the use of a full size field free of charge. The results didn’t come right away at the beginning the same way as he showed at Dalnoki or Ferencváros, but this is normal with an up-and-coming organization.

He kept working towards his goal and the last five years brought much fruit as FC Budapest’s different teams play against top international teams on an ongoing basis. “It’s due to our connections and networks so we get to play against such teams…” identified Henrik Czuk. “I got many contacts back when I worked with Fradi, but today I get more and more new contacts at the tournaments we participate in and FC Budapest is getting many new invitations. We are travelling to Prague, Bratislava, Graz and Marosvásárhely. For the last four years our club is a steady participant at the biggest French tournament, where top clubs such as Manchester United, Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax have been our opponents. We represent Hungary at these kind of tournaments so this is no small task!

Our general goal at these top level tournaments is to play good matches, however last year at Euro Poussins (France’s biggest tournament) we took fifth place, which is a tremendous result for us. At the mid-level tournaments where such teams as Sturm Graz or Sparta Praha compete we usually finish in the top three. These games clearly show if there are any difference in talent in the 8-10 year old age-group. In my opinion, it is the faults of the coaches and the coaching system in our country that we are unable to produce better results in the adult level at the European stage.

The Hungarian kids are talented, but there is a defaulted selection system and the unified coaching concept is missing. One coach may ask this, the other may ask that: if a trainer has developed something for three years another may come and demolish that in a few months.” He has shared some of his personal experience. We have a special close relationship with Fulham FC and were able to gain experience at their academy. One obvious difference is the much higher number of kids they work with and the enthusiasm of each player to improve their own level in Fulham’s program. The most important factor is the unified system the coaches follow at Fulham’s youth development program. Fulham is one of the returning teams to the tournament in Hungary called Future Cup, where FC Budapest is the host since 2009.

“I started to organize this international youth football tournament back in 2006. It was called Dalnoki emléktorna, but after I left Dalnoki the clubs in Europe recognized the tournament through its new name of Future Cup. In earlier years some top clubs like FC Barcelona, Hertha Berlin and FC Kobenhavn participated and this year Russian, English, Slovenian, Slovakian, Austrian, Belarussian and Romanian teams arrived. BATE Boriszov and Sturm Graz for example approached us themselves that they would like to participate in this tournament, which shows the quality of Future Cup. We are currently in talks with Lyon and Benfica too, and hope to host them next year, just like Ajax Amsterdam and a few other big-guns.

It is a great opportunity and experience for our kids to play against such clubs. Besides the chance for them to get international experience, they can also get the attention of some player-scouts of these top clubs. Our younger teams have 7-8 players that could play anywhere in the top Hungarian clubs and two of our players have the attention of Austrian and English first division teams. We have two players that will be on a try-out at Fulham in November and we are signing a player from Slovakia from Zilina that is considered best in his age-group and is being watched by Aston Villa.” Said Czuk. “He was also able to participate in our summer Fulham-camp that was a joint venture between FC Budapest and Fulham, whom is considered one of the three best academies in England. Fulham sent two coaches, Rupesh Popat and Arthur Brammer who were impressed by the things he experienced here. Arthur mentioned a few players that have extra talents and identified about eight of our kids that he considered pretty good. These thoughts are encouraging for our club, because we aim to be a recognized youth development organization in Hungary and develop many top quality players for Hungarian football. We should dream big, sky is the limit!”

Adam Schleinig