Please introduce yourself briefly.
My name is Jonathan Lebrun, I'm the operations manager for RAAL La Louviere and I'm in charge of all the operational and administrative data for the club which was founded in 2017. This year is our third season that we are working with ProSoccerData.
How would you describe your club?
RAAL is a club of history that was renounced on the probes of the former club owners but with the will to do things in a very professional, ethical and transparent way. That is the general philosophy of the club.
What is the mission/vision of your youth academy?
We started with RAAL in 2017 with no fields, no players, nothing at all. Rather than devote all our energy and resources to the first team we decided at the relaunch that our youth is the number one priority in the project. We have invested heavily in infrastructure & player development.
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Where do you recruit your players?
We recruit primarily on the regional level where we have partnerships with local clubs. Recruitment is done with these clubs, but we hope to extend the recruiting area every year. The reputation of the club plays an important role here, but overall we remain strong at the regional level.
Were there any initiatives in the club to keep in touch with the players during the lockdowns?
We took 2 initiatives. One of our physical trainers had defined a training program for each team category to be completed on Strava, a place where the players could challenge themselves. Another initiative consisted of training challenges that were sent to players by their trainers.
Why did your club choose to work with PSD?
Before we worked with another platform which had both its advantages and disadvantages, but PSD seemed to be very easy to use and the platform centralizes all player data and communication.
In terms of sports analysis PSD offered things that didn’t exist in our previous platform. We wanted to have the possibility to make integrated evaluations, to prepare training sessions with integrated video and to follow up our players on a medical level. A tool that covered all administrative and technical aspects, that was what we were looking for.
How did you manage to implement PSD in your club?
It's true that the biggest part of the work that is often neglected is the fact of making sure that people really use the platform. We started with organising sessions and meetings with the trainers to tell them how it works and what exactly is expected.
The first year we asked for the minimum functionalities to be used, such as evaluations, attendance, training scheduling, etc. Each year we added one or two additional functionalities that they must use so that the use becomes more and more widespread.
We also communicated to the parents that ProSoccerData would be the official communication channel for them. It’s the place where they can consult training and match schedules.
At the end of the year trainers are evaluated to decide if they can stay as well as an evaluation on the actual use of PSD.
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Which club achievement are you most proud of?
We are only finishing our fourth season and when someone comes to visit our club, they have the impression that we are a club that has been around for much longer.
I think we are a club that works very professionally. This is the image that we have and we can be very proud of everything we have managed to do in 4 years. We have a 3-star label, we are recognized by the regional football association for our feminine side, we can be called a reference club for the federation.
What does the academy want to achieve in the next three to five years?
We are still working towards more professionalism, but the ambition of the club is to be the best or one of the best training centres in Belgium. At this level, we are also linked to the development of the first team because all our 11-a-side teams are interprovincial, so we are at the top of what we can be right now.
We are waiting for the first team to get one or two more levels higher and we hope to reach the second division in the next 3 to 4 years. At that time, our young players will be able to play in the elite youth championship and we really want our training centre to be recognized for the quality of its formation and to be able to integrate these young players in the first team.
We will continue to improve our training centre, with the goal to improve overall.
Thanks for the chat!