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After a short summer vacation, the Academy players returned to Bozsik Stadium and began their training for the upcoming season.+ We took the opportunity to interview László Szalai, the academy’s director.
How do you evaluate last season and what are your goals?
Last season was our most successful at the academy. This year we’re adding another age group and besides the U-16, U-17, U-18 and U-19 teams we also became responsible for the reserve team that plays in NB-II. So we have a lot of work ahead of us. A pleasant surprise was when the senior team’s staff felt that several of our players were ready for the „big time” and called them up. We hope that they will live up to the challenge and will work hardto progress. Of course they have a lot to learn and experience, since they’re not fully developed yet. We also have several players that are ready to jump to the reserve or the junior teams. It would be nice to see some of the in the starting lineup of the senior team next year.
Excuse me, but after a successful season last year in the second tier division (NB-II) why did we change coaches?
Last year we reached the goals set by the Club’s management and we were able to secure our place in NB-II. Of course I could have stayed on as coach of the reserve team, but it would have taken a lot of time and energy away from my daily duties at the Academy. The junior teams play on Fridays and Saturdays and the reserve team plays on Sundays. This would have been a little too much for me. I figured that it would be good to bring in someone new, who can take charge during practices and games. This is the reason we asked Krisztián Gabala, who used to play for Honvéd, to take on this responsibility. I attended the PRO-license school with him and felt that he was qualified to take over the team. I hope that he will prove to us and to the fans that we made the right call. We’re very happy that he joined us and have all the confidence in him.
Were there any changes at other age groups?
Krisztián Somogyi will take over coaching duties with the U19s. We’ve been working together with Soma for several years now. We feel that the team will be in good hands and will continue to progress and be successful. Tibor Farkas will continue as coach of the U-17s. He worked very hard last year and this year he can prove himself further by playing in the county’s top U-17 division. Miklós Simon will be coaching the newly formed U-16 team. It is a great opportunity to be able to start with a brand new team, getting them acclimated to life at the Academy, while hopefully achieving a level of success. Our goalie coach, Bakó Attila, Vince Herczeg and I will be helping out daily as well at all age levels. János Martz is doing a splendid job on the technical front and uses to his conncetions to guarantee our continued success.
Were there any personnel changes?
Yes, Ádám Varga joined us as a developmental teacher. Of course due to our success both on the field and in the classroom, other rival academies are looking at us and trying to figure out the reason for our continued success. Unfortunately teh Fetcsut Academy was able to lure Károly Varga away from us. Due to our continued success and plan, our coaches are being recruited by other academies as well. Looks like in addition to being called MFA (Hungarian Football Academy), we can also be called the Hungarian Coaching Academy as well. We’re continuing to work hard to find and develop collegues to guarantee the continued success of Honvéd’s developmental teams. I hope the current staff is happy here and no-one is looking to leave.
What will happen at the Academy the next few days?
Principal Richárd Gaál already made up the room assignments and is working on the after school programs, which is not an easy task. After developing the daily training plans the assignment of practice times and field schedules have been completed. We also began training our sessions which include practice games. The season for all age groups will start in the middle of August. School will start back up the first part of September. We have to plan out and co-ordinate all class schedules and establish the curriculum for the upcoming school year. This is not an easy task for the students to follow, but we have confidence in them. Those that really want to succeed will do so and will live up to the challange. We want to stay on the track that we established three years ago when we started the academy, since the success has given us a lot of satisfaction and happyness. We hope that fans of the club feel the same way.