Club Atlético Bucaramanga S.A., better known as Atlético Bucaramanga, is a professional Colombian football team based in Bucaramanga, Colombia. The club competes in the Categoría Primera A, the top flight of Colombian football.
Atlético Bucaramanga Youth Development System
The minor divisions at Atlético Bucaramanga consist of U10 all the way to U20. Academy recruitment news is posted on their official website indicating when they have trials available for their minor division teams. Minor division news can be found by clicking here.
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The history of Atlético Bucaramanga can be traced back to the regional football league that was played in the Santander Department. Santander, much like the majority of Colombia’s departments, had its own local league. However, they did not own a team that was qualified to compete for accolades at the national level. Several of the local teams had the ambition of changing that, so they banded together to form a professional club that could compete at that level.
In 1948, the directors of “Pielroja,” the most recent squad to win the title of local champion, approached city businessman Rafael Chaberman to ask for his assistance in establishing a professional team. In order to promote a team, the directors took Haberman’s recommendation and engaged the assistance of local businessmen, newspapers, and radio stations.
A board was assembled with Dr. Elias Solano as president, assisted by managing directors Rafael Chaberman, Vicente Díaz, Miguel González, Juan B. Silva (Treasurer), Manuel José Puyana, Eduardo Villa, Jorge Reyes Puyana, José Vicente Niño, Gustavo Mantilla, Rafael Pérez, Enrique Orduz, and Luis Fernando Sanmiguel.
On May 11, 1949, the organization we now know as Club Atlético Bucaramanga was given its formal start date and given its current name. The support of other local clubs was essential to the club’s early foundation, and they were able to secure it. The presidents of local clubs Gran Colombia FC (Vicente Dáz Romero), Eleven Friends FC (Luis Alba Pinilla), Girardot FC (Antonio “Terremoto” Durán), Freedom Concordia FC (Jorge Molina Barba), and Pielroja FC (Simón Santander) were all on board and helped supply As a direct consequence of this, the club was able to rapidly put together a team that featured players from the cities of Bucaramanga, Barrancabermeja, and Barranquilla, the vast majority of whom had prior experience competing at a high level.
The three Guerrero brothers, Francisco in the center half position, Juan on the left flank, and Jorge on the inside right position were examples of this type of homegrown ability. Francisco “Pacho” Carvajal, a native of the area and a former player for the Millonarios, served as the club’s manager.
In 1949, the club submitted an application to become a member of the Colombian league and was granted membership after prevailing against Once Deportivo from Manizales in a playoff match. Atlético Bucaramanga played its debut game in the Colombian football championship on May 1, 1949, at the Estadio Alfonso López.
Unfortunately, they were defeated by Deportivo Cali 5–1 in their maiden match. On June 19, they earned their first victory by defeating Boca Juniors de Cali by a score of 2–1. In the end, the club finished the season in tenth place out of a total of 12 competitors. During the El Dorado period, Atlético Bucaramanga, like with many other Colombian clubs, took advantage of the opportunity to recruit a large number of players from other countries.
To be more specific, they signed four Argentine players in 1950, and the foursome became known collectively as the “Four Musketeers.” Their names were Antonio “Toto” Bernasconi (half-back), Norberto Juan Peluffo (center-half), Aristóbulo Deambrosi (right winger), and José Cayetano Fraccione (goalkeeper), whose nickname was “the Flying Fish.” The club’s active pursuit of foreign players, which included the signing of Costa Rican attacker José Joaqun “El Quincho” Quiroz, had only begun at this point. In particular, Quiroz was well-known for scoring some amazing goals.
The club was able to secure a sixth-place result in 1950 thanks to the presence of that bunch. The phase of triumph only lasted for a short time. As a result of Bucaramanga’s excessive spending during El Dorado, they found themselves in a bind very soon. By 1953, the team had fallen to its all-time low position, and by 1954, it had been eliminated from the league entirely. On the other hand, the club did not vanish completely.
They reestablished themselves, and in 1956 they were reinstated into the league. In addition to this, their connection to Argentina did not break down at any point. Felipe “Judio” Stemberg, the manager who was responsible for the rebuild, was from Argentina, and he recruited a lot of players who were also from Argentina into the team. The striker José Américo Montanini, who had previously played for River Plate, was the player that was considered to be the most valuable of those purchases.
He started playing for Bucaramanga in 1956 and continued to do so from 1956 to 1961 and from 1964 to 1968. He came in Bucaramanga in 1956. The year 1958 was Montanini’s best productive season, as he finished the year with 36 goals, good enough for first place in the league. The club had their most successful season to date, finishing third behind champions Santa Fe and runners-up Millonarios.
The club also enjoyed their most successful season ever. 1960 ought to have been recognized as an even more wonderful season than it actually was. The club had a legitimate opportunity to win the championship for the first time in its history with Montanini and José Giarrizzo (another Argentinian) spearheading the attack, respectively.
When the club left for Bogotá to take on Santa Fe, which was now leading the league, there were just three matches left to play. However, the game was a total and utter failure; Santa Fe cruised to a 5–1 victory, embarrassing a Bucaramanga squad that appeared to be completely overmatched.
The club’s performance in the championship was less than stellar, coming in at third place rather than first. The manager, Juan Barbieri, took a significant portion of the responsibility for the team’s poor performance, and he was ultimately fired over the offseason. It would be a good number of years before Los Leopardos would get anywhere near so close again.
Only in their greatest years during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s was the club able to finish in the middle of the table. More often than not, they finished toward the bottom. They were in such dire financial straits that they were forced to skip the 1971 season altogether and sell their spot in the tournament to a team from Cartagena so that they could pay off their obligations.
In the 1990s, when Humberto Ortiz was hired to lead the team, the club experienced a brief period of resurgence. Ortiz was primarily and foremost a defensive manager, and his teams reflected that style by being more rugged than stylish, yet they competed well. He was with Bucaramanga for a total of three years, during which time the club achieved a third-place finish in 1990, as well as two straight mid-table places in 1991 and 1992. The club suffered defeat in only six of their seventy-five matches played within their own stadium, making them virtually untouchable there.
However, Norberto Peluffo, who promised a more open and offensive style of play but provided a leaky defense in return, was hired to replace Ortiz in 1993 and he was fired from his position. Bucaramanga was demoted to the second division for the very first time in its history in the year 1994, after finishing dead last in the top flight. But their initial stint in the Categora Primera B was cut short due to poor performance.
A four-month championship was prepared before to the change in format since the Colombian football league was going to convert to the European calendar in the middle of 1995. This was done in preparation for the switch. This brief tournament was dominated by Bucaramanga, who took first place by winning eight of the ten matches that were played during the promotion round. They were given the title of winners of the Categora Primera B division. The team’s success can be attributed in large part to their goalkeeper, Guillermo Rodolfo Guarnieri, who established a new record for the length of time spent without conceding a goal by playing 1122 minutes (the equivalent of 13 full matches and part of a 14th match).
After the conclusion of the Torneo Adecuación in 1995, Bucaramanga was crowned champion and earned promotion to the premier division for the 1995–1996 season. The 1996–1997 season was Atlético Bucaramanga’s most successful season to this point in the club’s history. Because it lasted for sixteen months, this campaign holds the record for being the longest in the history of football in Colombia. Carlos Mario Hoyos, a former defender for Deportivo Cali, served as the club’s manager for that particular season.
His team did not have any stars, and in fact, the majority of its roster consisted of the same players who had helped the club win the Primera B championship two years before. The first half of the season was characterized by unremarkable results achieved by the team because they performed as predicted. They finished in second place overall in the Torneo Adecuación, which qualified them for a playoff against Deportes Quindo to determine who would win the Adecuación and advance to the championship final.
The winner of the Adecuación would play in the championship final. Bucaramanga advanced to the championship match to face América de Cali, who had previously won the Apertura competition, thanks to a goal scored by Orlando Ballesteros in the 90th minute of the second leg of their tie. Bucaramanga was able to participate in the 1998 Copa Libertadores thanks to the fact that they finished in second place overall in the tournament, despite the fact that América won both legs of the final.
During that competition, they were able to advance past the first round of their group and compete in the knockout stages, but they were eliminated by a team from Bolivia named Bolvar in the second round. However, the club’s fortunes did not fundamentally change during the 1996–1997 season, as they once again fell farther down the table as a result.
They were demoted for the second time after finishing in last position across both stages in 2001. However, DIMAYOR made the decision to increase the number of teams in the top flight from 16 to 18 for the 2002 season. As a result, Bucaramanga was given the opportunity to avoid relegation by participating in a triangular playoff against Primera B teams Ccuta Deportivo and Unión Magdalena.
The fact that Bucaramanga finished in second place, including a victory in penalties against their bitter rivals from Ccuta Deportivo, was sufficient to maintain the team in the top division despite the fact that they were unable to score a single goal in either of their playoff matches. In both of the competitions that took place during the 2002 season as well as the 2004 Finalización event, Los Leopardos advanced to the semifinal stage; however, beginning in the middle of the 2000s, the team’s luck began to turn for the worse.
They narrowly avoided relegation in 2007, but were unable to avoid it in 2008. They sealed their relegation in the last match of the first stage of that year’s Finalización with a loss to Deportivo Pereira by a score of 3–0. Deportivo Pereira was the other team that had a chance to get relegated that season. Atlético Bucaramanga competed in Primera B once more in 2009 and made it all the way to the season finals.
However, they were eliminated in the semifinals by Cortuluá over the course of two legs, and then were defeated by Deportivo Pereira in the promotion play-off. Following that, the club spent the next seven turbulent seasons in the second tier, and there were times when it was not even seriously contending for promotion. In 2010, despite spending enormous sums of money to put together a squad that could have challenged for promotion, the club finished in a miserable 14th place.
At long last, in 2015, the club was promoted to the Primera division. They dominated the season by collecting 71 points in 32 matches during the first stage, and then they won a semifinal group that also included América de Cali, Real Cartagena, and Universitario Popayán. Despite the fact that they missed out on a chance to be promoted early in the season in a tournament that was very similar to the one that was played in Cartagena in 2001, they still managed to win the season.
Atlético Bucaramanga won their second Primera B title after defeating Fortaleza over the course of two legs, despite the fact that promotion was already guaranteed. Since they have been promoted back to the premier division, the team’s performances have been sufficient to keep them out of the running for relegation. They played well enough to advance to the semifinals of the Finalización competition in 2016, and they reached the quarterfinals of both the Apertura and Finalización tournaments in 2018.