We started early today driving an hour north of Rio De Janeiro to the training grounds of Fluminense. It’s a large compound with clubhouse, dorms, several practice fields, a stadium field, grounds and maintenance buildings and a very large guest lodge.
We were brought out in the fields to meet with their coaches and watch their training sessions for the U19s, U17s and U15s. Watched patterns with the 15s for the classic Brasillian up, back, over and serve – all performed 1-touch. 17s worked on small group possession and 19s played 7v7 in one team’s defensive 1/3.
The club makes a living by identifying, building and selling players. We were given a 1-1/2 hour powerpoint presentation on their science of player identification and how they track the biological age of their players so that they don’t miss late bloomers. The presentation in Portuguese with an interpreter was excellent. A lot of discussion on pre-puberty, puberty and post-puberty traits and how to protect the late blooming player.
Some of the more interesting science is their use of monitoring pupil dilation given visual stimuli as an indicator of players’ speed of problem solving. Really fascinating. Lots of other testing to predict the players’ mature height and weight. Their annual club expense is something like US$4M. But one elite player can return the club over US$5M.