Aspire Academy, in collaboration with the Iker Casillas Foundation kicked-off today “Elite goalkeeper training summit” with goal keepers from ten countries participating in concentrated training programmes. The talented shot-stoppers will have the rare opportunity to receive first hand advice from goalkeeping legend Iker Casillas, captain of Real Madrid and the Spanish national team, and his country’s most capped-player of all time.
Casillas, who could not be in attendance because he is eagerly expecting his first child, spoke via teleconference to the attendees.
“I cannot be there with you physically but thanks to technology I am here with you in the first day of this summit and will continue to rub shoulders with you over the next three days,” he said.
“I look forward to interacting with each of you personally and sharing both personal and professional tips.”
The goalkeeping legend, who personally signed each of the goalies jerseys, added that he had visited Aspire earlier this year and was “surprised and impressed with the facilities I saw there. I have no doubt your experience there will benefit your goalkeeping careers a great deal.”
The summit comes after the Iker Casillas Foundation signed an agreement with Aspire Academy in May 2013 to develop programmes in support of goalkeepers who are expected to compete in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
“When we asked Casillas if he would collaborate with us on a programme to inspire promising goalkeepers, he agreed without hesitation,” said Director General of Aspire Academy, Ivan Bravo.
The training camp includes a variety of sessions designed to enhance specific skills ranging from intercepting to shot-stopping. The summit will conclude with a ‘Battle of the Goalkeepers’, the winners of which will be able to travel to Spain to meet Casillas in person, in addition to gaining a trip to the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
Expressing his delight at Aspire’s partnership with the star, Bravo continued, “Up until recently when a player missed a goal fans would say ‘what a miss’ and sometimes criticise the player harshly. In a short time Casillas has changed this view and now fans look at the goalkeeper and say ‘what a great save’.”
The opening also saw Raul Gonzalez, former Real Madrid top-scorer and current Al Sadd striker, pay a surprise visit to the talented players. Raul, who according to Bravo “has given goalkeepers a lot of trouble over the years,” took a commemorative photo with the attendees.
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