Latvian Football Club FS Metta Is Something Special

No matter how much we refer football as a ‘global’ sport, there is a glint of generalization about the statement. The game is yet to establish itself completely in numerous areas of the world, be it areas of a North America, South Asia or Down Under, there is always one part of the world which has always gone under the radar in terms of importance and sports.

The northern European countries or what is often told to be what consists of the Baltic countries like Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Belarus are among those nations that seem to lag quite a bit behind in terms of footballing development. It could well be due to negligence or a lack of attention because of the prospering of the game in other parts of the continent.

The fame, glitz and glamour that the game attracts in other parts of Europe seems have detached the Baltic space from the footballing mainland, making sure that  they’re often assumed as footballing backwaters.

But, what’s quite clear is that Baltic areas aren’t deficient in resources or talent, but what doesn’t exist or didn’t exist was a way to put those to use.  It’s only now that times are beginning to change. And Latvian football giants FS Metta are pioneering this cause.


The Latvian capital city of Riga, which is located in the coastal areas of the nation, happens to be the largest of the Baltic cities. Home to FS Metta, the city is also a home to one third of the Latvian population and fellow Latvian first division club Riga FC. FC Skonto were once said to be a prominent club from the capital city, but owing to a financial   bankruptcy, the club have dropped into lower divisions of Latvian football. As things stand, two clubs reside in Riga- FC Riga and FS Metta, with the latter being the slightly more dominating force in the footballing fora.

A young but ambitious club
A really young club, FS Metta was established back in 2006 by the men who are still in control of the club in a substantial and evident way and are a vital cog in the wheel, when it comes to developing players and coaching- Andris Riherts, the current coach and Girts Mihelsons, the man who happens to be the general director at the club.



Riherts and Mihelson
The basic idea that the club adheres to and is intent on growing with is to improve the standards and quality of Latvian football. It’s a sort of a ‘movement’ that desires to bring about a revolution in a country that is almost nonexistent in the footballing environment let alone the geographic environment

The club trains around 800 youngsters under its academy’s umbrella and was even deemed as the ‘Best Youth Academy in Latvia from the year 2010. The manner in which the academy is made to function is slightly or say completely different.

Guilio D’Alessandro, the man who heads Metta’s scouting department says: “The youth players mostly study at college or at Latvia University, that are connected to the club. All the foreign players  live in accommodations five minutes away from the school and training ground.”



Caption




Clubs Metta’s youth sides haven’t lost to
Starlets who are making waves
Roberts Uldrikis, who is arguably the best player at Metta’s exposure is an uncanny number ten hole player, who defies logic that says that tall and wiry framed players can’t operate anywhere other than as a striker or a centreback. A unique commodity, Uldrikis is a completely different asset, who has represented the Latvian junior sides and also  already the first team of Metta at the age of 17.

The youngster’s unique qualities and style of play, apart from performances have attracted attention of clubs like Werder Bremen, Red Bull Salzburg and Dutch giants Ajax.

Metta are increasingly becoming a stepping stone for foreign players, who are looking to step into senior football.

For example, they are set to acquire the services of Usman Abbas, a Nigerian left back who was an important part of the Under-17s Nigeria side, who claimed the Under-17 World Cup title back in 2015. The full back was picked up by Metta after he was noticed by Giulio D’Alessandro during the qualifications of African Cup of Nations U17 of 2015. Abbas was also noticed by Wyscout as the most talented left back of last African Cup of Nations U17.

It was a very big deal for a Baltic club considering that Abbas Nigerian teammates signed for top clubs like Wolsfburg (Oshiman), Arsenal (Nwakali), etc..

Usman Abbas was also selected by the coach of Nigeria U20 to be part of the first games of the Qualification to the next African Cup of Nations U20. He wasn’t able to be part of the team due to his travel to Latvia, having to overcome the long intensive visa process, supported by FS Metta team manager Harijs Toms, one of FS Metta key man.

The club isn’t just prospering on a player by player level, but is progressing quite evidently on a collective level as well.

Success at youth levels
Quite recently, Metta participated in an Italian tournament with its Under 11s side, where they went on till the semi-finals, only to be eliminated by Napoli on penalties. The Under-14 side drew with the likes Paris Saint Germain and Zenit St.Petersburg.
Riga is a city that has got really good connections with the rest of the European countries, allowing players to travel for trials and tryouts quite easily and without hassle. And the  partnership with the Latvia University is a way to give players the possibility to train their mind, becoming the best professional possible, with culture and smart mind, that for FS Metta policy is a very important aspect. The club also has links with the likes of AC Milan, Fulham, Malmo and Helsingborgs IF.



The FS Metta squad
And rightly so, the success that the club has succeeding in racking up is commendable. There’s a proper plan in place that strives not to improve only the club, but the football of the country as a whole, which is something that separates this club from any other one. It comes from a country that only 50 percent of the world’s population would know about, while only 20 percent out  of the remaining 50 percent would know where the country exists on the map. But the work that this club is striving to succeed in is something that may just help Latvia do what no one has ever done before.

Article from my blog @ thefootymadworld.wordpress.com

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Written by Kaustubh Pandey

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