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The Mediterranean College of Sport’s recent signing of a technical partnership with the world-renowned Portuguese football academy, Sport Lisboa e Benfica, has reiterated the College’s ambition to become a beacon of excellence.

Our newly established independent College aims to provide a dynamic and vibrant learning environment for student-athletes through innovative methodologies that prioritise holistic individual student-athlete development.

The main aim of this agreement is for SL Benfica to provide the MCS with sports and training methodologies, knowledge, and technical know-how consultancy services, allocating an SL Benfica specialised technical coordinator to lead the MCS football programme within the College. Under this agreement the new technical football coordinator will be working with other coaches employed by the College.

As part of this partnership, MCS student-athletes will undergo assessment in Portugal by SL Benfica, participate in SL Benfica tournaments, and may have the opportunity to join the Benfica International Elite Programme and internships offered by the Portuguese academy. Through this collaboration, we aim to create numerous opportunities for our football students.

The global acclaim of SL Benfica’s academy is undeniable. Recognised as the leading football academy globally, it has seen over 15 Benfica academy graduates competing in this season’s UEFA Champions League.

Throughout its history, SL Benfica has developed a unique system with the purpose of providing the best football training to young football players. Recently reconfirmed as the most profitable youth academy in world football, its significant player sales, such as Joao Felix, Ruben Dias, and Gonçalo Ramos, have contributed to a staggering €516 million in revenue since 2014. SL Benfica has also demonstrated a willingness to sell their top players to Premier League clubs, commanding massive fees for non-academy talents like Enzo Fernandez and Darwin Nunez.

I am in awe of the scale of Benfica’s academy operation, with around 500 players guided by 115 coaches and 90 supporting staff across five talent centres in Portugal. However, Benfica’s success goes beyond mere scale.

The academy’s success lies in its ability to offer a clear pathway to the first team, aiming to integrate two academy graduates into the senior squad annually. By embracing players in the club’s ethos from a young age, Benfica ensures their exposure to competitive football in the Portuguese reserve league, providing them with an edge over their peers in other countries.

Moreover, regional talent centres extend Benfica’s reach across Portugal, sparing young players from relocating to Lisbon. Benfica’s coaching philosophy adopts a modern approach, preparing players for the rigors of top-tier football in both domestic and European competitions. By challenging youth teams against older opponents and offering psychological support throughout training sessions, Benfica instils resilience and fortitude in its rising stars.

The SL Benfica’s methodology and holistic education, embodying their club ‘mystique’ of values, very much aligns to what the College wants to stand for and envision.

The MCS core values emphasise ambition and passion, resilience and tenacity, humility and respect, and being creative and holistic.

Individual development will be our focus and driving force, but we want to give our student-athletes an all-round, holistic experience, and a life education they would not have in a normal school environment.

Through the Benfica methodology, our football students will be profiled, and together with the SL Benfica technical coordinator and the MCS multi-disciplinary team, individual development plans will be created. These individual development plans work in short development cycles, where the multi-disciplinary team can assess the player and then sit with the player after they have reflected on their goals and development needs.

We aim to maximise the support available at the College – psychology, nutrition, strength & conditioning, academia, and performance lifestyle. This organised process and long-term individual development plans are where we truly see the benefits.

From day one, MCS coaches and professional staff will strive to enhance the individual through an added value approach, seeking to establish a collaborative relationship with club-level coaches. Our focus is on helping individuals maximise their full potential, guiding them through an enriching journey, and being a positive influence in their lives, regardless of their ultimate achievements. For us, the journey is more important than the destination, and the process is more important than the outcome.

Registrations for admission into MCS are currently open through the college’s website www.mcs.edu.mt, and for more information, you can contact MCS at info@mcs.edu.mt or on +365 7960 2024.