For six months, Matteo Vanetta has been in charge of the Lausanne academy. The new technical director of the LS youth teams, from M15 to M21, talks about his first months of work and his next objectives.
With “360 degree” experience in the world of football, Matteo Vanetta, 45, took the reins of the new Lausanne-Sport academy on July 1, 2023. Assistant to the Swiss junior teams – M18, M19 and M20 -, manager of Servette’s U18s, youth coordinator of Young Boys, before moving through the adult world and becoming assistant coach then head coach of YB, the Italian-Swiss has extensive experience in football of our country. “Today I have the chance to know the requirements of the high level. My vision of the work to be done here in Lausanne is very clear ,” he assures. A work that he started six months ago, returning to his first love, training: “I am above all a trainer”.
Matteo Vanetta is the new Technical Director of the Academy. He will take over from David Sene on July 1.
— FC Lausanne-Sport (@lausanne_sport) May 19, 2023
Exit Team Vaud, make way for an academy
Inspired by the major European clubs, the president of Lausanne-Sport Leen Heemskerk expressed the wish, in April 2023, to create a professionalizing academic structure, that of Team Vaud no longer corresponding with the current era. The eight member clubs of the association – Lausanne-Sport, Stade Nyonnais, Stade Lausanne-Ouchy, Yverdon, Bavois, Vevey, Echallens and Gland – then decided to dissolve Team Vaud, to allow LS to set up this academy. A new structure at the head of which Matteo Vanetta has been propelled. “The project was stimulating, especially since the Canton of Vaud is a region very rich in talent. Creating this academy is a great opportunity for these young people to one day achieve their dream of becoming a professional footballer.”
The first project of this new academy: introduce a playing philosophy. “If we do not have a playing philosophy, we do not have a common reference during discussions with the academy coaches ,” explains the technical director young people. Following an analysis of the game at a high level, the academy established “position profiles” ; criteria for observing a player based on his position on the pitch. The goal ? “Helping coaches know what each player needs to work on at a technical, tactical or physical condition level, depending on their position ,” explains Matteo Vanetta. We want to move towards specialization and specification of the position according to each player,” he continues.
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Don’t skip steps
Second change made since July, more individual thinking, less focused on team results. “Right now it’s intense for the coaches. Before, they had to have one reflection for the team, whereas now we ask them to have twenty-two reflections for twenty-two players ,” explains Matteo Vanetta. Each player, from the U15s to the U21s, is monitored individually to help them improve physically, technically and tactically. “Since I arrived, I have never spoken to my coaches about results. The result is important, obviously, but it is simply a consequence of the work that is done . The new technical director does not hide his ambition: to bring as many players as possible to the Super League.
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“But we must not confuse the professional world and the world of training ,” he warns. Raising awareness and informing those around him is also an area on which Matteo Vanetta works. Each player needs a different amount of time to develop. Unlike the professional world, the academy focuses on the individual and not on performance. “We must have a long-term vision to allow players to pass each level, without skipping steps. It will take as long as it takes: for some it will be a year, for others five. The control of time belongs to nature, not to us human beings.”
Super League objective?
Relegated to the 2nd Inter league at the end of a complicated 2021-2022 season, the M-21 team now seems to be coming back to life. Promoted at the end of last season, it is now ranked 2nd in its 1st Classic league group . With the aim of moving up to the Promotion League? Matteo Vanetta tempers: “ We have the same thinking with the U21s as for the youngest. The main objective is to allow young people to progress. The results come next. We simply want the young people who train with the first team to be able to accept the loads demanded by the high level and not to lower the level of training.”
Currently, four U21 players train regularly with the “A”: Ethan Brandy, Dircssi Ngonzo, Mohsen Abdeljaoued and Lorenzo Bittarelli. Not to mention Mayka Okuka, Malko Sartoretti and Hamza Abdallah, who left LS on loan this winter, respectively for Bulle, Bienne and Nyon. In the future, the LS wishes to be able to rely more on its academy: “The desire is to have between a quarter and a third of the squad of the first team who come from the academy, in the three or next four years,” assumes Matteo Vanetta.
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Today, three of the twenty-six players in the contingent were trained at LS: Husic, Custodio and Sanches. Ultimately, the goal is to double or even triple this figure. “To be inspired by what a club like Lucerne has done very well” is the ambition of the LS. On January 27, Lucerne fielded eight players who had passed through its training center against Lausanne. To get to this level, there is still work to be done on the Tuilière side.
Cover photo: Alain Schmitz