Argentina’s player union last year helped a record 65 out-of-contract footballers find clubs.
The union known as Agremiados has offered training and practice matches for players since the 1990s, allowing them to keep in shape and show off their skills to potential employers.
Three of the 65 players – Facundo Coria, Carlos Ruiz and German Lesman -- won contracts with first-division teams and 10 more got jobs as far away as Miami, Brazil and Vietnam.
The others got spots in second-tier or regional tournaments.
Coria, 29, played eight practice matches organized by the union after being released by DC United in Major League Soccer.
A month after playing in one match against Quilmes, he was hired by the top-flight club in Buenos Aires.
A total of 158 players took part in practice matches in 2016.
The amount of participants has swelled recently after the number of professional clubs increased, according to Carlos Pandolfi, President of the union's foundation, Fundación El Futbolista, which oversees the program.
“We give players support and advice at the most difficult time in their career,” Pandolfi said.
The union sends videos of the players in action to remote Argentine clubs 500 kilometers from Buenos Aires, and to teams abroad, Pandolfi added.
Gonzalo Rocanierie was hired by Uruguay’s Danubio, Diego Rizoli went to Miami FC and Victor Ormazabal moved to a club in Vietnam.
Picture above: Young out-of-contract footballers train in Buenos Aires as part of the Fundación El Futbolista's program to find players new clubs.
- Published: 10 February 2017