7… 7… what were you doing at the age of seven?
I was playing with Transformers, watching Duck Tales and collecting baseball cards. I loved Andre Dawson, Jerry Rice and Michael Jordan. I was more concerned with the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
Did I love sports? Of course I did. I started playing baseball in a field outside of my project house; I shot hoops in the basketball court across the street. I decided that I wanted to be a baseball, basketball and football player when I grew up. A little outlandish yes but I thought I could do it. I had a huge imagination to me anything was possible.
If I was born about 7 years ago I wouldn’t have been too off base.
Yesterday Spanish football club Real Madrid outbid rival Atletico Madrid for the services of a soccer prodigy in the middle of Argentina. His name is Leonel Angel Coira… and he’s 7 years old… 7.
Man, scouts are getting silly with this.
Now before you get all crazy about the fact that a 7 year-old is training with a professional club let’s calm your nerves for a bit;
Coira is joining Madrid’s youth academy, which consists of kids at the age of 9 and under on its youngest “Benjamin” level. He gets no compensation just expenses for traveling. In Spain it is common for clubs to have extensive training for young players in hopes of finding the next big thing. Case in point Real’s senior keeper Iker Casillas signed with the junior team at age nine.
So this isn’t new but it is a little bit of a cheap tactic. The trend is not only to find the next Lionel Messi (which FC Barcelona did by signing him as an extremely young talent in Argentina, and well… look how that turned out) but it’s also an effort for teams to save money on expensive transfer fees (which I still don’t get).
By signing players like Coira, teams can get an early jump on finding talent and storing it away until they reach age 16 and can work their way up to the senior team while saving them tons of money.
For example let’s say that Coira actually turns out to be a beast of a player. Real can insert him into their lineup at age 17 and he can make a huge impact and they pay barely a dime. On the flip side look at Manchester United’s acquisition of Mexican prodigy Chicharito; Chicharito was an immense talent hidden away in Mexico and they knew about him long before his debut in the country at age 18. Once Man U. found him they had to shell out 6 million pounds ($10 million U.S.) for his services. Add that on to their other transfer fees and salaries for Wayne Rooney and Dmitri Berbatov and it gets kind of pricey.
With that said… HE’S 7!!!
It’s way too early to tell how this kid will turn out. He could be good or he could be just another decent player. Also we all know how kids change their minds with everything. He could want to be Ricky Rubio in 3 years you never know. While looking at talent and giving kids a chance to play a game that they love and dream about is pretty cool, farming kids that just learned how to tie their shoes in hopes that they can win a Golden Boot is a little bit silly.
However Coira is very optimistic about his future “My dream is to meet Messi, play in the first division with Madrid and for Argentina in the World Cup,” he told a Madrid based newspaper.
Of course he has huge dreams that he wants to fulfill, he’s not even ten yet. When I was 7 I wanted to lineup across from Jerry Rice and catch passes from Joe Montana. It’s cool that he has ambition and is doing what he can to achieve his dream.
Hopefully he does achieve his and then this will be one of those stories that started off as looking like a joke but became something pretty cool. I guess the moral of this story is it doesn’t matter how young you are if you got talent and get noticed then you never know what can happen.
Maybe the Knicks can find a future point guard on a playground in Brooklyn like this.