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Giancarlo Centi: “Como has realized my dream.”

Giancarlo Centi, former Como 1907 player, provides insightful glimpses into Como 1907’s youth academy in a recent interview. Centi, in a straightforward narrative, shares significant moments from his career, emphasizing Como’s pivotal role in his journey.

Reflecting on his twelve-year tenure with the club, he describes Como as everything to him, stating, “I fulfilled my childhood football dream, and Como provided me with the opportunity to play in Serie A. I spent a significant part of my career there, a total of 12 years, making it a crucial chapter in my football journey.” Centi candidly acknowledges the highs and lows, such as experiencing relegation from Serie B to Serie C at a young age, followed by a triumphant return to Serie B the subsequent year.

Centi’s journey seamlessly transitions from his playing career to his impactful role as Como 1907’s Youth Academy Manager. Five years ago, Director Carlalberto Ludi called Centi to lead the previously nonexistent youth sector. Despite challenges, they swiftly organized five teams, with Centi finding fulfillment in this new role, emphasizing the importance of passion and purpose. He notes, “I felt rich because one becomes rich when they wake up in the morning, knowing that they have something important to do.”

The shift is not merely a change in title but an evolution, where on-field lessons become the foundation for a mission beyond individual accomplishments. Centi’s philosophy extends beyond individual development to a holistic approach in youth development.

Contrary to a narrow focus on the small percentage aspiring for professional careers, he emphasizes the majority— the 90%-95% not pursuing football professionally. As Centi puts it, “Each of us contributes entirely to the players, but the improvements extend beyond just footballing skills. Because there’s only a 10% chance that one might become a professional footballer. In recent years, that percentage has decreased even further, so we must pay attention to the 90%-95% who won’t have this opportunity,” advocating for comprehensive nurturing of their overall development.

In conclusion, Centi stresses the significance of a unified educational message from coaches, teachers, and families, underlining the lasting impact on players’ personalities. His statement, “We form them, but we also form ourselves,” encapsulates the reciprocal relationship in youth development, emphasizing the educators’ continuous learning and evolution through the experience.