Football: Academy the real key to Sociedad's success

Blend of youth-team graduates and foreign stars has Basque club contending for top-four finish

Real Sociedad players celebrating their 2-1 victory over Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao at Anoeta Stadium in San Sebastian on Sunday. Six Sociedad starters were nurtured at their Zubieta academy. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Real Sociedad players celebrating their 2-1 victory over Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao at Anoeta Stadium in San Sebastian on Sunday. Six Sociedad starters were nurtured at their Zubieta academy. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Basque fans are known for their rabid passion and stepping into the Anoeta Stadium, there is an immediate sense of how near the pitch is to the stands.

According to Real Sociedad's director of communications Luis Arconada, the distance is no more than 7m and the terraces behind each goal are markedly closer to "maximise the atmosphere".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 12, 2020, with the headline 'Academy the real key to Sociedad's success'. Subscribe