Athletic Club commonly known as Athletic is a professional football club based in the city of Bilbao in the Basque Country in Spain. The club competes in La Liga, the top flight of Spanish football.
Athletic Bilbao Youth Development System
Athletic Bilbao B
Athletic Club “B”, commonly known as Bilbao Athletic, is the reserve team of Athletic Club, a football club based in Bilbao, in the autonomous community of Basque Country in Spain.
The team are playing in the Segunda División B. Founded in 1964, the team holds home matches at the small stadium attached to the club’s training facility at Lezama, holding 3,250 spectators or occasionally at San Mamés Stadium, with its 53,500-seat capacity, for important fixtures.
For more information on this team, please click here.
Athletic Bilbao Academy
Athletic Club opened its Lezama facilities in 1971. The Club knew that to keep progressing, it needed a training centre for its professional team, as well as a football academy for its youth sides.
Located in the town of Lezama, about 15 kilometres from Bilbao, these facilities form the bedrock of Athletic Club and its philosophy. This is because the youth teams based in Lezama underpin Athletic Club’s principle of only fielding homegrown players.
Athletic Bilbao Academy Structure
Lezama houses Athletic’s first team and Athletic Women’s first team, as well as seventeen youth teams. These include Bilbao Athletic (Segunda División B), Basconia (Tercera Division), the Women’s reserve sides and every age group down to the Under-11s. These are teams where Athletic’s lions and lionesses are shaped into future first-team footballers.
Distributed over a 13-hectare complex, Lezama has four standard-sized grass pitches (including a small stadium with of maximum capacity of 3,200), four artificial turf pitches, an indoor pitch (also artificial), gyms, a medical centre and storerooms. In addition to the eight pitches, there is a “goalkeepers’ cage” and an artificial pitch made specially for coaching goalkeepers. On top of all that, visitors have access to underground and above-ground parking facilities and a bar.
Athletic Bilbao Academy Development
Aside from the physical infrastructure, the human factor at Lezama must also be taken into account. Athletic Club counts on a vast array of talented individuals to ensure our young players are given an all-round education which prepares them not only for the elite level of football but for life in general. This includes coaches, fitness coaches, medical staff, support staff and education experts.
The work carried out with the teams at Lezama is unique and the coaches share the same vision. The player is key to everything, they are the cornerstone of all planning, and it is only by playing football that they will properly master key concepts.
The goal is to create an environment in which young players thrive on a personal and sporting level. We endeavour to produce players and humans who can represent our Club, and all its values, both on and off the pitch.
The idea of Lezama goes beyond the concrete structures of the training complex. Athletic also oversees the work of numerous clubs that are part of the Athletic Club structure. Across the Basque Country, the Club has several high-quality development centres where the boys and girls who stand out in those teams receive expert coaching.
To learn more about the academy teams, please click here.
Athletic Bilbao Partner Clubs
Athletic Club has various partners clubs throughout Spain. For a complete up-to-date list of these clubs, please click here.
Athletic Bilbao Tryouts/Trails
As of this writing, Athletic Club has no official information on trials. Please come back at a later date or click here to go to their official academy news section of their website.
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Athletic Bilbao History
The eight titles that Athletic have won in La Liga put them in fourth place all-time in the league’s history. Athletic is second only to Barcelona in the chart of teams that have won the Copa del Rey the most times, with 23 victories. Additionally, it is the most successful football team in the Basque Country in terms of both league and cup trophies won. The club’s women’s squad is also one of the most successful in Spain, having won five titles in the country’s highest level of women’s competition, the Primera División Femenina.
The club is one of three founder members of the Primera División that have never been demoted from the top league ever since the competition’s start in 1929. The other two foundation members are Real Madrid and Barcelona. These three clubs, along with Osasuna, are the only four professional clubs in Spain that are not owned and controlled by a sports corporation; rather, they are owned and operated by the members of the respective clubs. Real Sociedad, with whom Athletic competes in the Basque derby, and Real Madrid, with which Athletic has both a competitive and political rivalry, are Athletic’s primary competitors. Additional Basque league derbies have been played by the club at various stages in its history, most notably against Alavés, Eibar and Osasuna., respectively.
The club is well-known for its cantera program, which consists of promoting young Basque players through the ranks. In addition, the team is noted for acquiring players from other Basque clubs. Players from the larger Basque Country, which encompasses Biscay, Gipuzkoa, Lava, and Navarre (in Spain); and Labourd, Soule, and Lower Navarre (in France); are the only ones Athletic will sign if they are native to the region or have received football training there (in France). Since its founding in 1912, Athletic has never fielded a team that did not consist solely of Basque players who fulfilled the club’s specific requirements.
This scenario is unprecedented in European football, and as a result, Athletic has garnered both praise and criticism for their play. The club has been lauded for the way it fosters club loyalty and the development of players from inside the organization. The regulation does not apply to the coaching staff, as evidenced by the presence of various non-Basques from Spain and other countries in previous roles as head coaches of the first team.
It is not a multi-sport club, as it only competes in football; however, sections for cycling and other sports did exist prior to the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. Despite the connotations that the name “Athletic Club” in English may imply, and in contrast to some of the other major Spanish teams that have multiple departments, the club does not participate in other sports.
An all-seater football stadium located in Rafael Moreno Pitxitxi Kalea in Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain, San Mamés is alternatively referred to as Nuevo San Mamés or San Mames Barria.
The new stadium took over as Athletic Bilbao’s primary venue on September 16, 2013, succeeding the “old” San Mamés as the club’s primary venue. The San Mamés Stadium is the largest stadium in the Basque Country and the eighth-largest stadium in Spain overall, with a capacity of 53,289 seats.
The escutcheons of Bilbao and Biscay have been merged into the shield that Athletic uses. It takes the bridge and the church of San Anton from the shield of Bilbao, as well as the wolves from the strong Haro family, who were lords of Biscay and founders of Bilbao in the year 1300. The Haro family founded Bilbao. It takes the Gernikako Arbola (also known as the tree of Guernica) and the cross of San Andrés, which are both derived from the shield of Biscay. The earliest instance of its use that has been documented was in 1922.
The initial version of the official club crest was a blue circle within of which was a white belt with the initials AC centered in the middle of the belt (as the club colours were at that point). The second one was created in 1910 and consisted of a red and white flag, which at the time had just been chosen as the colors for the team’s shirts. In the upper left-hand corner of the red square, the club’s initials were written in white.
The third illustration, which dates back to 1913, depicts the same flag, but this time it is displayed on a pole that is encircled by a football (this is very similar to the Real Sociedad crest still in use today, ignoring the crown of royal patronage). The very first iteration of the current crest, which is roughly in the shape of an inverted triangular shield and includes a section of red-and-white stripes as well as a section of local motifs, dates back to 1922.
This version was very straightforward and was modified in a number of different ways over the years. Finally, the first version of the current shield was designed in 1941, but it was given the name “Atlético Bilbao” since General Francisco Franco had made it illegal to use any names that were not in Spanish during his fascist regime. 1970 was the year that the club reverted back to using the old English “Athletic Club” name and added full color to the design. In the year 2008, the contour of the shield was modified ever-so-slightly, and a brand-new typeface called “Athletic Club” was introduced.
Athletic Bilbao, along with Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, and Osasuna, Athletic Bilbao, is organized as a registered association in the Spanish football league. It is not possible to purchase shares in the club, as is the case with limited companies; rather, one can only purchase membership. Members of Athletic Bilbao are referred to as socis, and they get together to form an assembly of delegates that serves as the club’s highest governing body.