The Yellows Academy and Villarreal women’s football are in fashion. Last season, the U14s (Infantil A) won the LaLiga Promises tournament, the first team won the Europa League with a lot of players formed at the club’s academy in the squad, Villarreal have an U19 side taking part in the UEFA Youth League and the women’s first team are now going head-to-head with the biggest teams in Spain in the Primera Iberdrola. It's success after success for the Yellows Academy, and one of the bases of the Submarine’s footballing formation are its agreements with its international academies through the Villarreal Academy project.
One of the most recent collaborations for the Yellows was with Emek Hefer, an Israeli academy made up of only girls between eight and 19 years old. It is the first academy like this in Israel to become a partner of a European club and give Israel footballers the opportunity to train and/or play with Villarreal’s women’s and girls’ sides. Marian Awad, Israel international, and Emmanuelle Avrahami are the first players to arrive in Vila-real and are part of the Women’s B-team squad.
Awad underlines that both have perfectly adapted to life in the team: “Any new start is difficult, but I think the coaching staff and our team-mates have welcomed us very well and they made our arrival a lot easier. Our team-mates are great. A lot of them and the coaching staff help me by speaking English to me, and I really appreciate it.”
Enjoying a small town with a Champions League team
Award says one of the things that most surprised her when she arrived in Vila-real was that such a small town could have a leading side in European football: “Villarreal are a big club and are well known, so coming here and seeing how small the town was surprised me a lot, and it made me appreciate just how impressive it is that this team plays in the Champions League. I think that as it’s a small town, the team is more united and that makes it unique.”
Both footballers have been able to watch the UEFA Champions League games against Atalanta and Young Boys at the Estadio de la Cerámica and experience in person the great atmosphere of big European nights, adding even more unforgettable moments to the time they are spending here.
The Israel international emphasised the high level of the women’s football at Villarreal CF, comparing it to her home country: “The league here is very different to Israel. The level of the B team surprised me a lot. The training sessions are intense and professional, and the individual quality each player has is impressive.” She adds that: “In the league in Israel, each team has five or six internationals which raises the level.” Awad has refused to put a ceiling on what the B team can achieve this season: “The aims for the team this season are to give our all and improve. I think we can put together a great season, and even fight for the title.” She wants to continue combining success in yellow with her international duty, which is something she is proud of. “Representing my country is always an honour, especially playing at such a high level. With the talent we have in Israel, I hope to see more players from my country playing in Europe.”
Villarreal Israel Academy is the partnership between Villarreal CF and Emek Hefer WFC, as part of the Yellows’ international Villarreal Academy project, and hopefully it can lead to more cases like Awad and Avrahami in the near future.